"Safe Game of Disciple"

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.

Ah this!In the Main Page of this deconstruction, it was asserted that the rhetoric involved in this phrase "safe game of disciple" was "intentionally inflammatory and divisive, driving a wedge between those who will continue to trust mgmt and those who will be alienated". Here we explore more fully this aspect of WiaO. The way there will not be simple. Maybe go get a cup of tea.

The point was also made in the Main Page about mgmt's irresponsible failure to distinguish between new people and existing sannyasins. This is a distinction made again and again by Osho. Many times he says to be with a living master. This concerns the choice to become involved in a spiritual path associated with a master. If that master is no longer physically available on the earth plane, there can be many problems, especially if the ways to connect with the master are mediated by a priesthood and scripture. Priests will interpret what they understand in their own unenlightened ways, and scripture, even if it is relatively faithful to the master's words -- and how can you know? -- will be a document fixed in time that cannot adapt to the present. Much more could be said about this, but it is widely understood by sannyasins, almost to the point of being an article of faith. Thus it comes as no surprise that mgmt adopts this principle regarding how people new to Osho should be treated.

Which is fine, but once the threshold is crossed of establishing a relationship with a master, the game changes. The disciple's heart has been joined with the master's and the possibilities of how things might go after the master leaves the body are more subtle and complex. Naturally, Osho has spoken on and celebrated all these possibilities. One can go and find another living master to be with. Many sannyasins have done this. No one could criticize it. Or one can stay with Osho and feel him continuing to shower his blessings and guidance, via the sangha, his books and videos or directly in meditation. And a myriad of other possibilities, all best determined by each individual.

When it comes to new people, some might still want to be initiated into Osho's sannyas. Mgmt in fact encouraged this for most of the 90s, when there was a functioning Academy of Initiation, run by Shunyo and Zareen, even up through the period when WiaO was distributed, and full-dress sannyas initiation ceremonies were offered in Buddha Hall at least into mid-1995. This can be reconciled with the lack of a living master by seeing that Osho had only recently left his body, as opposed to two thousand years previously, and so his teachings had not been distorted much and his energy could be shared / passed on via lots of people who had been with him personally, and who knows, maybe even some quietly enlightened folks keeping the Buddhafield charged up.

All this would tend to level the ground somewhat between old and new sannyasins as far as policy might be concerned, but NOT in the direction of cancelling the master-disciple relationship. The situation is still so different for new people compared to existing sannyasins, especially since mgmt's enthusiasm for sannyas initiation has passed, that the failure to make this distinction and offer different approaches is remarkable, not a small oversight. This act of omission is a solid indicator of mgmt's intentions. They have not gone the way of "Easy is right".

Then there is commission, active doing. Trademark, which WiaO is laying a foundation for, is a modern, legally acceptible form of muscle. Set up to protect legitimate interests in commerce, it is in the hands of the Pune Zürich org a powerful tool to enforce a monopolistic use of Osho's name. That they have already attempted to use TM to enforce their self-appointed monopoly is another solid indicator of their intentions.

The other active doing in WiaO is of course the stream of invalidation that pervades it, of which "safe game of disciple" and the whole paragraph in which it appears are prime examples. What function does this invalidation serve? It is a no-brainer to observe that it serves to assert mgmt as an elite who know Osho's big-picture intentions for all of us, more or less making themselves the equivalent of a priesthood, complete with a well-established (male) hierarchy, who can guide and instruct lesser beings. It is less obvious that the alienation and divisiveness are intentional and not merely collateral damage.

To see this it will be helpful to consider the various risks mgmt is taking with this tract and how these risks might compare and inter-relate. They are of a few types:
1. Making changes to documented history.
2. Changing Osho's teachings, their flavour and import.
3. Taking over "spiritual" functions that they were supposedly not to touch, according to Osho's very particular guidance.
4. Insulting and banning former fellow travelers, friends and co-workers, their brothers and sisters in the sangha.
5. Their souls will burn in hell forever -- oh! i didn't mean that, a spiritual terrorist made me write it.

Okay. The first risk group, reinventing history, we have seen passing one by one in the Main Page. They are:
The WJV story of Osho's name
"Later he would say that Osho is not even his name, just a healing sound"
The pacemaker story
That Osho stopped answering questions in his last discourses.

The last may have been a simple error. It plays a part in the "process", the supposed progression of Osho's work from "the first people" till his last discourses, but not a pivotal one. It can be ignored or explained away. The pacemaker story and "healing sound" will be hard to argue about, and in fact, "healing sound" has taken its place along with the WJV in conventional sannyas wisdom, so in terms of risk, WiaO has gotten away scot-free with them, there has been no cost, though that can be turned back.

Regarding the higher-profile reintroduction of the WJV, the greater risk may have been introducing it at all in 1990 in its admittedly limited, low-profile way. Once that passed without a fuss, they must have felt safe to bring it back. One might speculate that it was floated out in 1990 as a kind of test case, just to see what kind of chicanery they could get away with, who would notice, who would call them on it, how much stink it would make, etc. Possibly they could have put the blame on some lower functionary, a mistake, etc, if there had been an uproar. So all in all, though i had written earlier in the Main Page that this was a risky thing, perhaps that assessment is a bit overdone. Nevertheless, there was some risk, so we may as well keep it here.

The second risk group, changing the flavour and import of Oshos's teachings, we have also seen operating in WiaO. It has been done subtly, by selectivity and emphasis, rather than gross censorship or alteration of his words. Selectivity is easy, anyone can do it, and it might even be appropriate in an individual's path. But doing it institutionally and making it applicable to everyone is a violation of Osho, not only reducing the diversity of those who will benefit from him but interfering with the subtle dialectical process with which he works. It cannot be stressed too strongly how important this is.

The third risk group, taking over spiritual functions explicitly off-limits according to their own description of what the Inner Circle was given to do, is well represented in WiaO by the snide dismissal of the master-disciple process. As observed on the main Decon page, this invalidates not just Osho's people but Osho himself. This is a relatively new risk assumed by WiaO, untried before, and suggests mgmt is ready to move more overtly and boldly.

For this and the second risk group above, it can be said that each choice mgmt has made about what to offer, who to cater to and who not has resulted in some level of "disenfranchisement" for some to many sannyasins. It is their right to choose, especially if their ability to offer everything Osho offered is limited by "legitimate" circumstances. What is not their right is to insist and enforce, via trademark and invalidation, that the choices of their former fellow-travelers are inferior or not allowed.

The fourth risk group, directly insulting and banning their former fellow-travelers . . . well, alienating them is going to be the big risk factor that runs like a thread through all of these risk groups, isn't it?

The risk is that too many will be put off and will diminish customer flow by their numbers alone and by influencing others to not come or by otherwise challenging them. This risk was likely seen as small and acceptable, as their control of the whole Pune and publishing operation had been consolidated by then. Many dissenting voices in the Inner Circle had already left, without a fuss even, and been replaced by voices who would go along with the program. Doubtless they thought they had more or less a captive market.

Osho designed the Inner Circle to be a diverse body with a requirement that everyone agree in all decisions, but with that diversity already largely undermined, it was relatively safe to proceed with the big changes that WiaO was pushing. Neelam, widely seen as the last bastion of heart in the IC, could not hold out forever alone and in fact she left the following year. That leaving caused quite a stir but mgmt survived that.

Perhaps it is getting clearer that the risk of further offending a few old sannyasins with insulting, condescending language may be seen as small potatoes. In fact it is now not a great leap to understand that mgmt may well have seen it as a good tactic to strike somewhat aggressively.

Why might this be? Alienating a significant portion of Osho's lovers with this judgmental language might not seem at first glance like a great move but it will have some pluses. Some put off by this language will also be among those who will resist their trademark, so sending them packing can only be a good thing. And mgmt cannot (be bothered to) accommodate all of Osho's motley crew anyway, so weeding out some oldies will be all to their advantage, as those will be the ones most bothered by their divergence from Osho's vision.

This strategy fits well with one of the most basic principles of politics, "divide and rule", articulated even in Roman times, as "divide et impera". And it has been fairly well executed. "Safe game" is a sly phrase which serves well to represent all of mgmt's thrusts and appeals. At the same time as it alienates the unwanted, it flatters the choices of those whom mgmt wishes to remain on board. Not for them the safe game of disciple, but the exciting, life-enhancing, awesome free ride to Osho's silence with the Sony Walkman.

A very interesting serendipity is this: G**gling for "divide and rule", one sees that among the major "hits" for this phrase, almost all historical examples cited refer to the systematic policy of British colonial power in India. We have some serious resonance here, where the ones at the top of the Commune Resort food chain in India are all of British extraction, with one of them, Amrito, even born in Pakistan. (Here we are counting Anglo Canadians and Australians as being of British extraction.)

In Amrito's words from Jan 20 1990, "Osho said He would have no successor, the Inner Circle would be His successor." Assuming Osho actually said that, we can be sure that the basis for that successorship was the IC's diversity, which is now moribund. Even in 1991, the presence of two aggressive Canadian lawyers at the top of the collective, more equal than the others -- and never mind that they are brothers -- signalled the beginning of the end for diversity. Now all impediments are gone. As Osho's "official" successor, they can arrogate to themselves whatever functions of the master they care to. It is a hollow "victory", but that's another story.

Above material is of course somewhat speculative but it's not much of a stretch. In 1998, getting more aggressive and dismissive with "heart people" could easily have been seen as the way to go. And heart people are not so articulate, they cannot fight, organize and game the system the way that lawyers and corporations can. It was a win-win situation really.

I hope i have done justice to conveying the deliberateness of the alienation. That's certainly how it appears here.