The Problem of Problems

Media Watch

Article by Ravi Nagahawatte, published in The Nation, Colombo, Sri Lanka on 29 September 2013.

The Nation Osho Files

Osho discouraged people from discussing their problems. He believed that problems that couldn’t be solved weren’t problems. And he also affirmed that problems shouldn’t be borrowed and if at all there are problems or questions, whichever way one terms them, they should be genuine or original. He believed that problems helped people grow.

Osho, who preached on spiritualism and died in 1990, was known for his unorthodox thinking, which at times drew criticism. He was a threat to those who were comfortable with asking questions the traditional way. Osho jolted institutes and individuals with his power-packed lectures. During these talk sessions he underscored the fact that some religious leaders only encouraged questions formed in a particular way because that way they could answers them. He said religious leaders would be very uncomfortable if someone outside their sect asks questions because these outsiders ‘weren’t trained to ask the right questions’ and could embarrass them.

Osho once recalled a story of how an individual, a beggar at that, influenced an individual well-established in society. This beggar had gone to a restaurant and eaten to his heart’s content. After the meal he broke the bad news to the manager. “I have no money to settle the bill,” the beggar had said. He had then offered the manager a solution. He had told the manager that he’d go out and beg and raise the monies needed to settle the bill. But then the beggar had also countered his own suggestion by saying this. “I know you don’t trust me to return with the money. So I propose you come with me, so that you’d be assured I collect the money and give it to you. But then again there is another problem. Public perception is that managers like you shouldn’t be seen in public with beggars like me. You being in my company would be a disgrace to you. So I suggest I stay here and you go out and beg till you find the money that I need to pay the restaurant,” the beggar had said. See how public perception can give you a problem which is actually not your problem!

Spiritual leaders preach that the senses should be controlled. This problem or question of how to control the senses is as old as the hills. Some religious leaders prescribe that the senses should be made ‘lifeless’ or dead and then they become easy to control. Osho always shot back at this one and asked, “What’s the big deal in controlling a corpse.”  Osho affirmed that it is life that needs to be mastered, not dead things.

In some societies sex is a problem. It is made to be viewed as a problem. Sex is termed energy. Those who think this way believe that what’s ideal is not to deny the body pleasures, but to channel those energies to something more creative, like art or music.

Osho spoke in depth about the opening of the chakras (seven in all) and seeing the kundalini energy (coiled up beneath the spine) moving up so that one experiences sahasra or enlightenment, at the final chakra, which is termed Crown Chakra.

To experience enlightenment one has to live life to the fullest in the capacity of a person who has reached his or her full potential. For this Osho says one has to solve all his problems and be responsive to life. The great master told his disciples to be ‘yourself’.

He said if one drops the problems which have been borrowed from society that would amount to 90% of the problems that a person carries as excess baggage. The remaining 10% of problems are the real ones that need to be dealt with. These problems he said needed to be addressed with an open heart.

Osho deemed it fit to change one’s mind and even be inconsistent when solving genuine problems associated with life. He reminded his disciples to be ‘themselves’ and suggested followers to let that condition of mind serve as their religion. Osho often said, “The truth is the last gift, you have to earn it.”  What Osho stressed was that one would be closer to the truth if the problems a person faces are his or her very own.


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