Kul visits the Osho World stand at the Delhi Book Fair.
Casual, curious, and committed people come to the Osho World stand at the current World Book Fair in Delhi, open until 23 February 2014. These are part of the over one million who flock to the biggest book fair in the developing world. A smiling Osho and soothing music enchant all.
As they pass by, the curious saunter in, wondering what is on display. They stop to look at some dramatic titles of Osho’s books on display and spend some time looking at them. The titles of Osho’s CDs and the DVDs are equally intriguing. Tempted, they buy a book or a CD.
Hesitantly, the curious enter the pavilion with some uncertainty. They have heard about this path-breaking guru and want to know a little more about him through what is on show here. They browse through the bookshelves and discover a book title that scores a bull’s eye with their emotions or the inner turmoil they are currently experiencing and end up buying this very book.
On the other hand, the committed Osho reader strides with confidence into the stand. This person knows about Osho, has read a lot of Osho’s books, has listened to or watched his discourses and is on the lookout for what’s new. He or she goes straight to the section which is of interest and checks if a new title has been published. On spying a new title, he wants to know if it is a new translation of a Hindi book or a new title of an old book. The attendants are consulted and the matter resolved.
During the conversation, that visitor makes sure that his deep knowledge of Osho’s books is heard by everyone in ear-shot. After all, he claims to have read scores of books and listened to hundreds of discourses. He is an avid fan. Has he done any meditation? No, not needed, he claims. Does he know that all that reading or listening will not transform him but only boost his ego with borrowed knowledge? Naah!
And then you see immediately when an Osho disciple enters the stand. He looks at the big photo of Osho with awe, he is full of smiles and joy, goes around greeting, hugging and laughing with his friends who work at the stand. Here is a reunion of sannyasins. Others look, confused, but they don’t really care. He may buy a book or a video but he is more likely to be found leafing through the large Osho photos. The one that appeals to the heart is purchased and treated with love and gratitude as if Osho was going home with him personally.
Then there is another category of people: the devoted workers. Between 15 and 20 sannyasins work here during these nine days. Wearing maroon Osho T-shirts with a catchy slogan, they come early before the fair opens to open the stall and stay busy – arranging books on shelves, displaying magazines, photos or videos, replenishing supplies, answering questions, getting the right book, making tea, greeting visitors and sannyasins, and making arrangements for VVIPs. Their daily break is at lunch when they go out and sit in the sun and enjoy a cooked meal made by a sannyasin. Tirelessly on the move at all times. It’s their love affair with the master.