Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Guest Writer: Brian Michael Barbeito

Osho Rajneesh: Some feet of clay are okay

In the late nineteen seventies, when Mohan Rajneesh, later also known as Bhagwan Rajneesh, and now known as Osho, was at his oratory heights he spoke to thousands about ideas and experiences ranging from enlightenment to sex and plenty of topics in between. There have been books written on Osho and the movement has waxed and waned throughout the years and decades. Information can be gathered instantly, from the internet to libraries and other places on this strange and paradoxical man and his movement, a duo that sought to change the world through changing consciousness. Here I will only relate my part, part of my own impression, and by stating the subjective musings of one, I will be somehow or another following an Osho directive, though he’d be the first to tell you he had none. Nevertheless, anything both highly individualistic and infused with at least a try at awareness should be welcome in the world of Osho.

When I first picked up the book Unknown Man by a writer named Yatri, a book that tried (and succeeded very well) at marrying the theories of science and mysticism (think Fritjof Capra only more fun and with more neat pictures), I saw a photo of Osho and definitely felt some interesting connection. In the years to come I would explore his teachings and life intensively (think Ken Wiber looking into Adi Da and his people) and would become perhaps one of the few in the entire world that would be so sympathetic to the work yet never become an Osho sannyasan (renunciate).

I remember in the early days of this research going into a three story bookstore, the largest of a modern metropolis, and asking one of the workers if they had any books by him (Osho never actually wrote anything but many books were and are available in the way of transcribed discourses). I thought, now I am really on the path to enlightement because I am going to read these great words I have heard so much about. The worker lashed out at me and actually yelled ‘We do not carry books by cults!’ And that would not be my last in such tongue lashings; verbal hatred that came from certain apexes and establishments that I thought would be sympathetic. I was receiving darshan from a Mother Indian guru by the name of Devi at the University of Toronto’s congregation hall and I asked her people afterwards about Osho. One of her representatives barked at me that Osho did more harm to people’s energy systems and lives than anyone else and that I’d better watch myself!

So how was it that this man with the great words and beautiful eyes, that spoke about awareness and compassion and love stirred so much emotion and polemic against himself, and why did this man receive the status of persona non grata in so many countries while he was alive? It was probably because he had, as they say in the guru business, feet of clay, meaning, for the uninitiated, that he was not a god, and very human indeed, indulging in activities we don’t want our gods to indulge in. But that is okay here for two reasons. One is that Osho always stated that he was ordinary, that ordinariness was blessed, and that, for instance, he had been trying to part the waters in his bathtub for twenty years and nothing had happened yet! But the second reason is the more important one, and that is that it is the message and words that count. As we enter a new world, or try to transform this one, his words can act as a guide and reminder to follow our innate wisdom and awareness. These are trying times, and Osho knew they would come, not because of the gift of prophesy- probably just because he was reading the newspapers and saw the writing on the wall- it doesn’t take much if you have even a modicum of knowledge. But I believe that Osho had something to offer and that any seeker, artist, light-worker, poet, baker or even candle stick maker should give his words a chance as we try to transition into yes, a new age of sorts. Now it is precisely because it is hard work that Osho can help. Osho was fond of speaking out against people, and even spoke against the idea of Sri Aurobindo’s claim that humanity would naturally evolve to higher states. Mr. Osho Rajneesh said it was a nice idea, but what would it be worth to the individual if he or she hadn’t worked for it? Osho’s message still remains, and more than ever. He claimed that he was only a finger pointing to the moon, and that people should look at the message, at what he was indicating, and not get caught up in the messenger. This is among the greatest of Zen messages, thus the saying- if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him! Well Osho is dead, but the finger remains, and the moon definitely remains. As for the bookstores, I see the major chains now carry his books, beautiful books with life altering messages of hope, creativity, awareness, and transformation through a difficult birthing process into a new time and temperament. Osho is okay with me, even if he did have dirty feet.

© Brian Michael Barbeito 2010

Brian Michael Barbeito writes fictional vignettes in a style of his own making with a view to exploring questions of the psyche and the spirit. His work has appeared at Glossolalia, A Million Stories, Our Echo, Crimson Highway, and Useless Knowledge magazines. His first novel is an experimental work called Postprandial, and a second novel in the same vein, titled The Electric Light Queen, is under way. Brian is self taught and short fiction is a favored form. This is because he feels it has the tendencies to describe ‘places in between’ that are highly subjective and idiosyncratic.

8 comments:

  1. This works here because it is superbly well written. Michael's students can learn much from the style and grace, the evenflow, of your words, Brian. The piece is seamless from intro to body to ending. You pick two points to present from the Indian teacher and stick to them without trying for too much. This is as comfortable as it is comforting to read. Nice work.

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  2. This was inspiring, Brian. I think your focus on "places inbetween" is exactly where our eyes should be as well. That's usually where we find the truth. Thanks for sharing this with us. Well done.

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  3. Brian, this is an interesting take on a controversial figure. Your own conflicted feelings are well drawn, and as always it is a pleasure to soak in your prose.

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  4. Very enjoyable, Brian, as always. And kudos to M Brown for putting this up for us to read.
    Your piece reminded me of a memoir, "My Boyhood with Gurdjieff," which is a delightful revealing of the man behind the teachings. Just like Osho, Gurdjieff was a great teacher whose private life was full of excesses. But he brought the wisdom of Sufism and clarity to modern westerners in the process.

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  5. Brian, always insightful and immersed in tghe meanings of the written word, looking beyond the words themselves but in those spaces that we all take for granted as blank. readers of his work get smooth flowing prose and a little knowledge to boot. As always, good work.

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  6. This was the second piece of yours I have read today. I'm impressed.

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  7. Brian Michael, this is such a departure form what I have come to expect from you. You must be more than one writer. Extraordinary. I like it, but would never have suspected you of being such a fine essayist. You have kindled my interest in this mysterious person with your objectively connected style.

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  8. The writing here appealed to me on first reading. I knew little to nothing of the subject, but Brian made Osho so interesting that I followed up that reading with an intense research, and after having learned much about the man in mostly either the driest text imaginable or the most sycophantic, I came back to this piece and could better appreciate Brian's objectivity, and really, he's pretty much covered all the ups and downs of Osho's life concisely in a most inviting style. Everyone should get to know his fiction also, if not already familiar with it.

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