Osho on Trademarks and Copyrights
page is part
of the historical background relating to "What Is an
Osho?", a slick, sannyas-paradigm-shifting policy paper written by
and circulated in 1998. A deconstruction of Amrito's paper is presented
on this site, introduced here. A large subset of the
background addresses various aspects of OIF's claimed right
to control Osho's legacy, particularly regarding the legal muscle of
copyright and trademark. This page samples
Osho's words on these themes as applied to meditation, etc.
It is sourced from Osho
Friends International. For
more legal pages, see OFI or Legal
What did Osho say about trademarks
Osho has pointed out in several ways that things like meditation,
truth, and enlightened masters can not be owned.
today a letter has arrived from Germany. Our sannyasins are doing a
meditation called The Four Directions. The letter says, "In your
commune people are doing a meditation called The Four Directions, and
we have the copyright over it."
I have told Neelam, my secretary, to
write to them, "Things can be copyrighted, thoughts cannot be
copyrighted, and certainly meditations cannot be copyrighted. They are
not things of the marketplace."
Nobody can monopolize anything. But
perhaps the West cannot understand the difference between an objective
commodity and an inner experience.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has
copyrighted transcendental meditation and just underneath in a small
circle you will find written TM -- that means trademark!
For ten thousand years the East has
been meditating and nobody has put trademarks upon meditations. And
above all, that transcendental meditation is neither transcendental nor
meditation... just a trademark.
I have told Neelam to reply to these
people, "You don't understand what meditation is. It is nobody's
belonging, possession. You cannot have any copyright. Perhaps if your
country gives you trademarks and copyrights on things like meditation,
then it will be good to have a copyright on stupidity. That will help
the whole world to be relieved... Only you will be stupid and nobody
else can be stupid; it will be illegal."
I am going to direct my people here
that they do the meditation called The Four Directions. But there are
eight directions not four! Start doing the meditation Eight Directions
-- and certainly under eight directions, their four directions also
But apart from their stupid letters
and their stupid government which gives copyrights for such inner
experiences, the truth is that consciousness cannot be either four
directions or eight directions. Consciousness is a circle: no
directions. It is neither directing to the north nor directing to the
south. It simply is a circle. So my suggestion to you is that the best
will be to call it "No Directions."
We are going to sue those idiots who
think they have a copyright over consciousness, in the courts in
Germany. Then we can get a copyright over enlightenment. Then nobody
can become enlightened, unless we license him.
~ from Om Shantih Shantih Shantih ch 26, q1
This is the purest form of
meditation, this is transcendental meditation. But nobody can call it
transcendental meditation because Maharishi Mahesh Yogi has made it a
trademark. TM is now a trademark! Nobody has ever done business in such
a way. You can be sued in a court if you call your meditation
Transcendental Meditation. It is patented. Look at the whole
ridiculousness of it: Meditation has become a thing, like a commodity
to be sold in the marketplace.
This has been happening again and
again. The so-called Indian gurus who go to America—they never succeed
in changing anybody, but America succeeds in changing them. They all
become businessmen, they all start learning American ways. They never
change anybody; they cannot. If they were able to change anybody they
would not have gone anywhere—those who want to be changed would have
come to them; there would have been no need for them to go anywhere.
When somebody is thirsty he starts searching for water. The well need
not go to the thirsty—the well never goes—the thirsty come to the well.
And if you see a well on wheels, beware!
~ from The Secret of Secrets, Vol 1, ch 15
Meditation also has to be instant
meditation. But meditation cannot be instant. Coffee can be, but
meditation cannot be. And it is good that it cannot be. If it can be
instant then it will be sold in the marketplace. Then you can have it
in all colours, sizes, and shapes. It will be manufactured like
Transcendental Meditation. Now TM is a trademark. Even the word "TM" is
copyrighted, patented; nobody can use it. It is like some commodity.
Meditation is not a commodity.
>~ from The Old Pond ... Plop, ch 15
Just few days before, from
Germany... The Protestant Church of Germany has published a booklet
against me in which they say that people can be deceived by my words
because I talk about Jesus and I give beautiful interpretations to
Jesus' words, but those interpretations are not Christian—as if they
have to be Christian, only then can they be right! As if Christians
have any copyright over Jesus! Jesus belongs to all! Of course, my
interpretation is my interpretation. Who is saying that it is
Christian? Even if they say it is Christian, I will deny! It is not
Christian -- it is my interpretation, it is my vision. But I know Jesus
more directly than the Christians know him. They know him through the
scriptures, they know him through scholarship.
~ from Zen: The Special Transmission, ch 6, q1
When religiousness dies, religion is
born. Religiousness breathes; religion is a corpse. But many people
feel good with religion; in fact, the majority. Ninety-nine point nine
percent of people feel good with religion, because it is not dangerous
at all. What can the corpse do to you? You can do anything to the
corpse, but the corpse cannot do anything to you; the corpse is in your
But when religion is alive and
breathing—that's what I mean by religiousness—then you are possessed by
it, but you cannot possess it. You cannot possess a Buddha or a Lao Tzu
or a Zarathustra. You cannot possess Bahauddin, Jalaluddin, al-Hillaj
Mansoor...no, that is not possible. These are people who have known the
ultimate freedom—how can you possess them? They cannot fulfill your
expectations, they cannot move according to you; they will have their
own way. If it suits you, you have to be with them. You will not be
able to force them to be with you; there is no way possible.
~ from Come, Come, Yet Again Come, ch 13, q1
Osho also has never claimed personal credit for His teachings or
worried about possessing it. He suggested that we not worry about it
you hear my music; that music comes from the beyond. I cannot claim any
monopoly, any copyright on it.
~ from The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here, ch 6, q1
THE COMMUNE IS NO MORE; OR, EVERY
SANNYASIN IS THE COMMUNE. BUT WHAT ABOUT SUCH INSTITUTIONS AS THE
ACADEMY, OR FRIENDS, WHICH TAKES CARE OF THE PUBLICATION AND
DISTRIBUTION OF YOUR WORDS? DO THEY STILL HAVE A FUNCTION, AND HOW CAN
They still have a function—and they
will continue to function—but their function is not dictatorial. Their
function is to serve the whole world of sannyasins and the people who
So their function is not to govern
you, their function is to serve you.
And they are not organizations, they
are simply institutes. And their function has become more important
now, because for all the languages that books are being translated
into, it has to be seen to it that they are not mistranslated—that the
translation is right, that it does not harm the spirit of the message.
So it is a great work to take care
of all the languages -- we need the publication institute to check all
the language publications before they are published.
Now there are many countries... Just
yesterday, a Korean woman was here, and she informed us that more than
thirty of my books are translated into Korean, and thousands of copies
are available in all the bookstalls all over the country. We have to
take care of things. There are countries which are not members of the
Bern Convention: they do not believe in copyright. Korea is one of
those that do not believe in copyright, so they can translate any book,
publish any book.
But we can at least keep an eye that
the translation is done rightly, that the person who is doing the
translation understands me. It is not only a question of copyright, it
is a question that I should not be presented in a wrong way -- which is
possible. Because if they are just earning money, who cares whether the
translation is right or wrong?
~from Light on the Path, ch 28, q4
You have also asked that there are
people who go on stealing from my statements, my books. This is
happening all over the world, not only in Nepal. It is happening in the
films, it is happening in televisions, it is happening on radio, it is
happening in newspapers, magazines, all kinds of people are trying to
steal. But, I am not worried about it. Truth is truth. It need not be
necessarily concerned with my name. Let them steal. They are stealing
truth. Let them present it in their own name. No harm. Because I am not
interested in my name; I am interested in my truth.
If the truth reaches to the people,
just as you said in your question that sixty percent of the radio in
Nepal is stealing from my books, help them to steal hundred percent. My
name is irrelevant. What is relevant is truth. And truth is nobody's
property—neither mine nor yours. So why think in terms of stealing?
Perhaps they are not stealing; they are impressed but they are cowards,
they cannot say my name. But still they are doing my work. So far so
good. Help them. Find out more passages for them to steal. Anyway, the
message has to reach to the people. In whose name it reaches is not my
concern at all. Just it should reach.
Truth is universal. It is not mine,
it is not yours. So the question of stealing does not arise.
~ from The Last Testament, Vol 5, ch 23
Finally, Osho, pointed out that books are just a stepping stone; His
work is really about consciousness:
don't be worried about when I am gone. Those who are missing me now
will be missing me then too—no loss. Those who are living my message
now, they will go on living it. And if they go on living it, they
cannot help but spread it. I am not depending on books—all the
religions have depended on books—I am depending on you!
~ from From the False to the Truth, ch 16, q2
Books are there to lead you beyond,
so don't cling to them. At the most they are bridges. But if you make
your house on a bridge you are a fool. Pass through it!
Right now, you cannot understand
silence, you can understand only words. I will have to use words to
give you the message of silence. Between the words, between the lines,
sometimes, if you hang around me long enough, you may one day start
hearing silence—then there is no need, then burn those books with other
Vedas, Bibles and scriptures. My books also have to be burnt.
Everything has to be left behind.
But right now you are not ready. When you are ready there is no need
for any books.
Those books are not published for
those who understand. Those books are published for those who have a
desire to understand—but yet don't understand. Their desire is
beautiful. They have to be helped. And if I am to help you I have to
come close to you. Before you can come close to me I will have to come
close to you—that is the only way. Before I can take you to the place
where I am I will have to come down to the place where you are.
Those books are not necessary. Their
need is because of you. If you can jump them, avoid them, bypass
But you will not be able to bypass
them otherwise you would not be here. You are here to listen to me. You
are still hoping that by listening you may gain. I am not thinking that
by listening you may gain. I am thinking that by listening you will
become able to listen to that which is not said, and through that you
will gain. Nobody gains through books, but books can help you to go
beyond. All the scriptures say the same thing.
~ from Tao: The Three Treasures, Vol 3, ch 4, q8