There are few mystics of the last century who were as provocative as Wild, Wild Country’s Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Whether it was his fleet of Rolls Royce cars, the (very) serious legal troubles his following got into during the 80’s, his outrageous get-ups or his criticism of other notable figures such as Gandhi, Rajneesh was never far from controversy’s door.
By the time of his death in 1990, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who would later adopt the monkier “Osho”, had been banned from 21 countries and gained notoriety across much of the world as an outspoken, deeply enigmatic figure, thought by his ashram to be an enlightened master and by others to be nothing more than an exceptionally manipulative cult leader.
Nonetheless, his influence continues to gain traction in the west, most likely due — at least in part — to the depth his work (most often transcribed spoken-word) brings to the oft-fluffy, one-dimensional world of self-help & New Age thought, while remaining free of any of the dryness or academese so often found at the other end of the scale.
Indeed, if you follow his ideas through, they continually arrive at a foundation of love and unity through the loss of ego, often advocating meditation as an essential tool for accessing such states. Combined with his incendiary criticism of the dominant world institutions, his offensive sense of humour and his views on sexuality, they offer a blend that is undeniably seductive to inquiring (and particularly younger) minds — which is exactly what made him so dangerous.
As gathered from angel fire.com, here are 22 Osho quotes — a very brief primer of a body of work that nonetheless provides an indelible taste for the many reasons he is still considered one of the most controversial mystics of the 20th century.
1) “Philosophy is a disease, and not an ordinary one either. It’s not a common cold. It is cancer — cancer of the soul. Once a person is lost in the jungle of philosophy he becomes more and more entangled in words, concepts, abstractions and there is no end to it. One can go on and on for lives together.”
2) “Truth happens in a state of not knowing, truth happens in innocence. Truth happens where there are no clouds of thoughts moving in your consciousness, when sky is absolutely clear, when there is no abstraction, when you have no idea, and God is or God is not. When you don’t believe in no-God, when you are simply in a state of not knowing. You don’t claim any knowledge, and that non-claiming consciousness begins to open up. All knowledge burdens and closes you.”
3) “Buddha did not teach anything to believe in. He was not a teacher in that sense, because he did not teach. He was, on the contrary, an anti-teacher, he took away all the teachings that people were carrying. Slowly, he helped his disciples to become nude, naked.”
4) “Truth is simple. Very simple — so simple that a child can understand it. In fact, so simple that only a child can understand it. Unless you become a child again you will not be able to understand it. It is an experience, not speculation.”
5) “Love deeply, love without jealousy, love blissfully and help each other to be more meditative. Because what else can we do and what can we share? Man is born naked without anything. Love should be the beginning of sharing something. Your love becomes a spiritual phenomenon.”
6) “When you love a person all fear disappears. And when you are afraid all love disappears.”
7) “When you love, you have to become nobody. If you remain somebody, then love never happens. When you love a person — even for a single moment love happens and flows between two persons — there are two nothingnesses, not two persons. If you have ever had any experience of love, you can understand it.”
8) “When two lovers are making love, and if they are both no-selves, nothingness, then a spontaneous pleasurable sensation happens. Then their body energy, their whole being, loses all identity; they are no more themselves — they have fallen into abyss. But this can happen only for a moment: again they regain, again they start clinging. That’s why people become afraid in love.”
9) “One becomes scared of love, then people remain satisfied with bodily love and they believe this to be love in its entirety.”
10) “When you want to love God, you have to be without mask. You have to drop all deceptions. You have to be authentically whatsoever you are; to be choice-less, whatsoever you are. In that primal innocence, God descends.”
11) “God is just a name of the totality of existence.”
12) “God chooses first, then you start feeling a hunger for him… men cannot choose God, it is God who chooses man.”
13) “Death is a door to God. Those who know how to die know how to enter into God. Clingers clinging to life never know what God is.”
14) “Whenever you meditate and you come upon beautiful spaces, immediately pray to existence: ‘ Let my joy be showered over every being — conscious, unconscious. I don’t want any personal claim over it.”
15) “When you pray, purify your intelligence and it becomes your wisdom. Purify yourself completely and you become one with whole. And to be one with the whole is the ultimate benediction, the blissfulness, the experience for which thousands of people have been searching down the ages on wrong paths. This world has to be loved, this world has to be respected, this world has to be your temple, your mosque, your church. This world has to be your gratefulness, your gratitude. Enlightenment is not something of another world. Enlightenment happens now and here.”
16) “What is a prayer? Prayer is sending blessing to all. Prayer is sending your compassion to all. Prayer is creating an antidote of negative thoughts — it is positively.”
17) “In the days of Buddha, or in the days of Lao-Tzu, the world was very very peaceful, natural, it was a heaven. Why? The population was very very small, one thing. People were not thinkers too much, they were more and more prone to feeling rather than thinking. And people were praying. In the morning, they would do the first thing and that would be a prayer. In the night they would do the last thing — the prayer. And throughout the whole day also, whenever they would find a moment, they would be praying inside.”
18) “If you are born Mohammedan, you have to disappear as a born Mohammedan. If you are a born Hindu, you have to disappear as a born Hindu. You have to find your natural qualities — because only nature grows. Birth is accidental, birth determines nothing. It was coincidence that you were born in a home where people were Hindus — it is as much a coincidence as if they belonged to a particular political party. If your parents were Catholics you need not to be a catholic. You have to search for your own path; each one has to search for his own path.”
19) “Faith is not belief, it is love. Faith is not belief; it is not half, it is total. Faith is not belief because there is no doubt in it, so how can you believe?”
20) “Faith is not rationalization at all: neither for nor against, neither this nor that. Faith is a trusting, a love.”
21) “Heart doesn’t know what doubt is, heart doesn’t know what ‘believe’ is — heart simply knows trust. Heart is like a small child; the small child clings to the father’s hand, and wherever the father is going the child is going, neither trusting nor doubting. The child is undivided. Doubt is half, belief is half. A child is still total. Whole.”
22) “Religion is just like an oasis; the desert is vast, and sometimes in tiny parts of the desert an oasis appears. And while it lasts, seek it, and while it is there, drink of it — and it is very very rare.”