Osho Revisited Yet Again
By Swami Rammurthi
I haven't thought much about Pune or the Ranch recently, so
Judith Fox's concise and sympathetic little booklet entitled Osho
Rajneesh (you can read it in about two hours) was like watching an
old home movie: Familiar faces and places came alive again, exhumed
from dusty bins and cornices of memory. At times I said to myself,
"Did all this really happen? And what connection does it have to my
life today?" For that reason, alone it was a worthwhile read.
Judith Fox is a scholar in the sociology of religion, but this
breezy summation of the Osho saga is happily free of interpretation,
footnotes, and the other cerebral artifices of academia that usually
kill my interest in the first two paragraphs. I felt quite at home
in this book and am convinced that Ms. Fox must have known a few
sannyasins personally. There are testimonials on why people went to
Osho, a fairly accurate description of Pune and Rajneeshpuram
politics, and a fairly complete Who wuz Who of prominent players in
Osho's evolving caravanserai. Ms. Fox is also the co-author of The
Way of the Heart: A Study of Rajneeshism, which indicates to me that
Osho and His work mean more to her than just adding another title to
the "Studies in Contemporary Religion" series.
What I like best about this book is that it does not attempt to
categorize or define Osho and His work. It simply describes what
happened from the early days in Pune One through Rajneeshpuram and
Pune Two. It conveys an insider's perspective, but without a
political agenda. I liked that because I have not felt much
enthusiasm for any of the books written about Osho thus far. On the
one hand we have the Party Line books which are to a certain degree
inspirational and elegiac, but the integrity of which are often
compromised by either omitting or whitewashing the seedier events
that have occurred in our collective history. I often find these
books to be self-righteous and lacking in authenticity and depth.
On the other hand, we have the books of the disenchanted which
are laden with recrimination, retrospective dismay, ex post facto
revelation, and that often seem to be cathartic attempts to bury the
past in the light of a more reasoned spiritual revisionism. Not much
fun either. Perhaps we just have to face the fact that it's
difficult to write an interesting book about someone who is so much
larger than Life, whether you have an axe to grind or are an
inspired lover of Osho.
Judith Fox's book is not exactly gripping, titillating, nor is it
likely that it will launch a new wave of seekers to The Resort, but
I think it has integrity and gives Osho (and all of us) a fair shot.
The first sentence of the last paragraph is a good example of the
balanced, howsoever tepid flavor of this book: "In conclusion, it is
entirely possible for one person to interpret Osho's behavior as
having been unscrupulous and for another to experience a positive
transformation in his or her life as a result of the same example."
I can understand that some friends of Osho might find this type of
objectivity boring, but for me Osho Rajneesh was a romp back in time
with a fair-minded hostess, and was all in all quite enjoyable.