Roshani reviews Savita’s compilation of ‘Stories of Osho as Told by his People’
I vividly remember when I first came into contact with Osho and his people. I was intensely interested in the stories sannyasins had to tell about how they came to be with this master and their experiences on the path of spiritual transformation. I wanted to understand the master-disciple relationship and to experience it, both vicariously and, eventually, for myself.
In Savita’s new book, we are privileged to read first-hand accounts of personal encounters with this remarkable mystic. These stories are organized around the several stages of Osho’s work: the earliest days in Jabalpur (1965-70); Bombay (1970-74); Poona One (1974-81); the Castle in New Jersey (1981); the Ranch in Oregon (1981-85); the World Tour (1985-86); and Poona Two (1987-90). Savita usefully provides a brief context for each of these time periods. These 90 some stories are derived largely from interviews with over 40 people from a dozen different countries collected over the past fifteen years. The people who tell their personal stories in these almost 300 pages come from all walks of life. The women came from identities such as housewife, NY socialite, psycho-therapist, air hostess, social worker, blues singer, nursing nun, artist and more; the men from identification as student, railway ticket inspector, hotel manager, taxi driver, veterinarian, hairdresser, engineer, dentist, pilot, agriculturalist, film maker, investment banker, physician, photographer, bodyworker, among others. Their perspectives are diverse and the stories are of enormous historical significance. Rarely are we privileged to read about face-to-face encounters with spiritual leaders as perceived through the eyes of those closest to them over long periods of time.
From her lucid and insightful introduction to Osho, his people (including her own story) and various dimensions of his work to her Epilogue, which sums Osho’s global impact, the glossary and brief biography of each storyteller at the end of the book, Savita has created an enticing read. Most especially, her description in the Introduction of how Osho’s Mystery School operated will be eye-opening to the uninitiated.
Speaking of eyes, the penetrating effect of Osho’s is mentioned in several of the stories, as is: his core teaching of meditation; his search for ‘his people’; the value he places on individuality and rebellion; his generosity; the light-filled nature of his being; his appreciation of authenticity, honesty and freedom of choice; his disdain for comparison, competitiveness, conditioning and habitual behavior; his prescience; his innocence and childlike nature; his message of the importance of watchful awareness, of centeredness; and his stress on being, as opposed to the constant doing which seems to consume the modern world.
These stories are of intimate and personal interactions with the master. They embody Osho’s wisdom that “Religion is an experience, not mere belief.” They recount lessons learned from devices, such as the wearing of orange clothes and the mala or being given a near impossible task to perform. They speak of Osho’s work to dissolve egos, to show us our attachments and to bring us into the present moment. They seek to explain the master-disciple relationship in all of its facets: physical, emotional, social, psychological and, most importantly of all, as “a relationship of the being.” They also give us intimate glimpses of Osho’s ordinary, simple, everyday moments as a loving human being.
If you would like to see the inside of a Poona energy darshan through the eyes of one of Osho’s mediums, or the view from inside his houses in Bombay, on the Ranch in Oregon, in Poona, or experience vicariously the inside of his car with his driver and various passengers or what Osho was like in the dental chair as viewed by his dentist, then you really need to get a copy of this book. It is a fascinating kaleidoscopic experience of Osho and his sannyasins.
Savita’s editing ensures that the stories flow smoothly. This is an easy must-read for anyone curious about what it was like to be in the presence of this unique mystic while he was still in the body. Readers will experience a sense of gratitude to Savita for gathering, editing, organizing and presenting these stories. Her book is a remarkable glimpse into history-in-the-making through a myriad of fascinating first person accounts. It is a wonderful contribution to the body of literature that seeks to understand the inexplicable nature of this eastern mystic who had and continues to have such an appeal to westerners and such a profound effect on spiritual life the world over.
Roshani Shay PhD for Osho News
Encounters with an Inexplicable Man:
Stories of Osho as Told by his People
Compiled and Edited by Savita Brandt
Published in Pune, India by Dancing Buddhas Publishing, 2014
The book is being translated into Korean
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