Book Reviews New Man — 26 May 2017

Anand Haridas reviews Satya Vedant’s latest book subtitled, ‘Osho insights into inner ecology’

Spectrum of Mindfulness cover‘Leave shoes and mind at the gate’ read the sign outside the meditation hall. The unspoken implication is that the meditator should pick them both up again on leaving.

Certainly Swami Satya Vedant (Dr Vasant Joshi) brings an active mind, one based in meditation, to the consideration of the world in which he lives.

His new book, Spectrum of Mindfulness: Osho insights into inner ecology, contains 66 short reflections on a vast range of topics, including America, democracy, disciplehood, education, Hinduism and Jainism, Krishna, sannyas, women and yoga. The reflections are arranged in approximately alphabetical order.

At the heart of each chapter is Osho, “the contemporary enlightened mystic” as Satya Vedant never tires of calling him.

Osho’s message about the world is, on the one hand, very pessimistic. “We are a wounded civilization,” Satya Vedant notes, one marked by nationalism, war, violence, terrorism, poverty and environmental destruction. Religion and politics have failed to bring about positive changes: priests and politicians are the exploiters who “are sitting on people’s heart and blocking their energy.” We are moving further and further from the ideal of democracy, which today only means that “everyone has the right to think in his or her own way, to live in his/her own way.” The consequence is the neurosis of not knowing who we are or what we should do.

On the other hand, Osho’s perspective on the world can potentially also be very optimistic indeed. The secret to the transformation of the environment and society does not rest with any gigantic abstraction, any massive structural shift at a high level, but relies on individuals. It is within the reach of each of us. The “outer ecology” is directly related to “the cleanliness (or uncleanliness) within us,” our inner ecology. Change begins with us. Only one thing is required.

Our calling is simply to practice meditation. Meditation requires approaching reality without any prejudice. Looking at it without any idea whatever the case may be: “Just to be there, impartial, objective, with no preconceived notion in the mind – so that one can watch whatever is there.” Meditation can transform energies such as anger, hatred and frustration into compassion, cooperation and creative expression. If enough people were to do this, it would create a gigantic evolutionary shift.

Ultimately, the most important consequence of the purification produced by meditation is celebration. Osho’s message, Satya Vedant insists, is that we should “Celebrate this moment. Life is not just for pleasure. Life is meant to find meaning. Doing something meaningful, doing something significant and creative, and that brings pleasure as a reward. Life should not be lived as a business; it should not be mundane. When one lives for no other reason except for the sheer joy of living, it becomes a fulfilling experience – then it becomes a gift from the Divine.”

Review by Anand Haridas

Related excerpt
The enlightened mystic: Osho

Available as paperback from oshoworldgalleria.com and oshoviha.org

Kindle edition available from amazon.comamazon.co.ukamazon.in

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