Osho left his body in 1990. What has happened
with his movement/vision in that time?
At first, things went
amazingly smoothly, for such a group of fractious individual(ist)s. People
showed up at their workplaces, and others volunteered to help where needed. And
though Osho had said often and emphatically – but not entirely
consistently – to be with a living master, many people continued to be
initiated in sumptuous ceremonies, and few jumped ship.
Still, changes happen . . . It wasn't long before the "living
master" contingent started drifting off, checking in from time to
time with their old buddies still beavering away in Pune. They went to
Papaji and others, and no small lot of them can now be found on my pages
(and collected here),
having "graduated," ie moved into the Master portion of the
Master-And-Disciple (MAD) game. My colleague Devakrishna has a somewhat
chaotic list and assessment of many of them, with links, on an old page
archived at Fortune
City, a forerunner to his massive OToons project.
And "schisms." A four-member subgroup of the "Inner Circle," the
21-member org Osho had set up to provide
continuity, left within two years, possibly finding it difficult to
maintain the IC's unanimity requirement. Their group
survives, without its now deceased, said-to-be-enlightened leader
Kaveesha, in Sedona. Because there was never a public feud, their
relationship with "HQ" did not manifest the usual holy wars, but this
began the movement away from "the centre," in the sense of one org
In accordance with Osho's "Zorba the Buddha" approach to
inner/outer wealth, more money than ever before started going into
physical infrastructure. Land was bought and developed near the Pune commune's
existing land as more seekers arrived. Simultaneously, to attract a
wealthier class of seeker, its image as a "Club Meditation" was
buffed . . . Swimming pools, fancy restaurants, "zennis" courts,
jacuzzis sprang up, and gate and other charges rose to pay for it all.
By the mid-90s, the commune was a humming, thriving piece of work, with a
number of huge black pyramids having been erected, on four times the land
of a few years previously, and thousands more seekers making the campus bulge
at the seams in the high season. The pièce de resistance was a 12-ha park
developed on city waste land and managed by the commune on behalf of the
city. It was a public relations bonanza, finally turning the commune into
a respectable corporate citizen after years of frosty relations, not that the local citizenry
had complained much about the millions of dollars
from sannyasins fueling the local
But some not entirely compatible tendencies were beginning to come to
fruition and collision:
A tendency to religification, as official publications started to use
capital "H" in the pronouns "Him" and "His,"
referring to Osho.
An acceleration of the "Club Med" program, commune as
A reliance on "Osho's Guidance," or "Og," not
necessarily given in public, to justify any policy, even one contrary to
A centralized control of Osho's legacy, epitomized in issues of © and
An insistence on there being no "successor," or
officially designated spiritual spokesperson for the lineage, nor for that
matter a lineage at all.
A "concentration of power" in the Inner Circle, whereby original members
who left were replaced by newer ones said to be less independent, who
defer to the old ones "at the top."
An increased reliance on local "outside" low-wage labour
to do unskilled work.
These tendencies had
their shakedown period from '94 to '98, but effects from some of them were observable
earlier. One effect was to accelerate the changeover, as a model of participation, from long-term
"old-guard" workers to
short-term resort clients.
A remarkable meeting in Jan '97 produced an announcement that more
autonomy would be delegated to individuals and centers doing Osho's work,
but this turned out to be short-lived. HQ kept a tight grip on the CD-ROM
of Osho's words, and more diktats regarding "brand-name"
issues were put out. More "freedom-loving" old guard
Trends started to coalesce toward their current shape in 1998, when one of the
remaining key members of the IC, Amrito, wrote What
Is An Osho?. Though it never became an official doctrinal centerpiece, it set the
tone for changes to come, firing the starter's gun for the de-religification
of Osho. Cap H's began their downward journey, and Amrito argued persuasively for the end
of the master-disciple game, before everyone was ready for it.
Soon afterward Ma Neelam resigned. She had been seen widely as the last
bastion of "heart" in the IC and the uproar around the world was
substantial, as battle lines became drawn between devotee types and Admin.
As a long-time high-profile Indian sannyasin, Neelam had good access to the Indian media, and of
course since the top figures in Admin were westerners, the neo-colonial aspects of the changes
were milked by those media. The IC fired
back by taking out tacky paid ads in the same media attacking her. Jerry Springer had
come to Pune.
As the devotee contingent lost more and more of its trappings, support and
influence in Pune, it went elsewhere, and more and more of these elsewheres
sprouted up, primarily around India and Nepal. This exacerbated the ethnic
aspect of the conflict and has evolved into a considerable divide, as HQ
continues to try to appeal more to western sensibilities. Cherchez
Now what? 
It is interesting to note that in the few places on the official
website of his org that use the pronoun "his" at all, the caps
are now gone. From the danger of pedestalizing him, it has swung to
disappearing him, as in
"The ultimate deconstructionist? A visionary who becomes the
vision?" It is now
"the Active Meditations™" rather than h/His active meditations.
"the Osho proposal [sic] offers us the option of leading a natural,
Most signs and forms of devotional activity have been expunged, but aside from that,
commune, oops, resort, is thriving, continuing to
offer a smorgasbord of worldly and spiritual activities. They are not
trying to maintain a religion, and in fact it is to their credit that they
have not become a stagnant organised religion. But what exactly besides a spiritual
supermarket they are offering will have to be determined by the
Osho's presence can of course still be felt, though fewer newcomers are
said to be coming to him as a "full-service" master. But as a
jumping-off place, Pune is still second to none. The seeker can get an
intense introduction to the spiritual life, techniques, friends and
connections, and then if really feeling the need for a teacher still in
a physical body can find many hanging around Pune, which is a Guru
Bazaar nonpareil along with its spinoff Goa, attracting even some, like
John de Ruiter, who were never Osho's sannyasins.
Devotional types new and old can find their satisfaction either in small enclaves
around the world or just about anywhere in the subcontinent, where Osho
has spread most widely. Osho's
brother and many other Indian sannyasins have declared enlightenment and
many centers continue to offer an approach more like Osho set up just
before his mahaparinirvana, with lots of his meditations, his words and pics,
and some-to-many of the trappings.
And a small update in 2008:
The polarization that was developing earlier is intensifying, with many
"rebellious" sannyasins coming to resent Pune mgmt for:
1. Its total de-religification and narrowing of Osho to a small portion of
the former "big tent."
2. Its centralization of control of distribution of Osho's words,
including hassling those who distribute his words for free.
3. Its isolation and non-responsiveness, which is deemed to be destroying
Osho's work rather than promoting it.
1) Some Osho
quotes about after the master's leaving the body
2) Links to Osho's declared enlightened
3) A survey of his massive output of books
4) A peek at "successorship"
Above pages all part of Guru Ratings site.
Outside sites, not directly involved with the enlightened
"successor" figures at the 2nd link:
Osho.com, Osho's "official
org," run by the above-mentioned "marginalizers."
Osho World, the first
major Indian-centered "rebel" site, with e-book versions
of 240 English books and 75 Hindi books
Osho Tapoban, the
major Osho Nepali site
Osho Nisarga, Neelam's
Osho News, news of everything Osho, what sannyasins are up to
biggest and most eclectic Osho links page on the net
Viha Connection, eclectic
non-partisan publisher of sannyas news & sharings