Sarlo writes about a unique discovery in Osho’s Hindi books – hidden messages in subtitles that Shailendra helped to find.
“It has been always a great moment in the lives of disciples when the master leaves the body. And it is possible because the master can know when he is going to leave the body – he can collect all those who have been his fellow travelers moving in the same way. Now that he is leaving he would like to give you his last gift.”
These words got burned into every sannyasin’s memory back in the day as part of I Leave You My Dream, the video commemorating Osho’s leaving his body. So how exactly did Osho go about collecting his fellow travelers?
There are thousands of stories of course. People just knew, saw a sign, felt a need, heard an inner voice, couldn’t leave when they planned to, it just “happened,” all the mysterious ways… But Osho did communicate in more ‘ordinary’ ways too. I came to learn of a couple of them that may not be generally known recently in my work/play in Sannyas Wiki, the free online encyclopedia dedicated to Osho and his heritage.
The wiki’s pages on Osho’s Hindi publications have lagged behind other sections, because nobody in our collective of ongoing editors speaks Hindi. We have no intimate acquaintance with this rich side of Osho’s work. But over the years, we kept at it, learning to search for information in Devanagari, the complex Hindi/Sanskrit writing system, and built up a pool of info worthy enough to finally attract someone who could really help.
That someone came in the person of Osho’s brother Shailendra, who answered questions, offered suggestions and explanations and sent tons of Hindi book cover images and info, giving a lot more depth to our Hindi pages. And he had a story he wanted to share, which opened up a new area of appreciation for Osho’s masterful work.
This story is told in detail in an article in the wiki and includes Shailendra’s personal journey back to Pune in 1989. Briefly, some people near him had dreams that suggested Osho would be leaving his body soon. He could not entirely trust these dreams of course – and who would want such terrible foreknowledge? – so he was always looking for signs that might ‘confirm’ them.
And he found them. After he got to Pune in August 1989, he began working in Hindi Publications and discovered a pattern of hints and messages given by Osho that spoke clearly and compellingly – to someone looking for that kind of thing – of what was to come. These messages were contained in the subtitles Osho was assigning to his Hindi books that were being republished after being out of print, and to new compilations and translations.
These messages were allusive rather than direct and required some interpretation. Masters have always spoken in this way, though Osho is often very down-to-earth in explaining how things work in the spiritual realms. But really, the Truth cannot be put into words in any case, so we have koans and devices.
One of the most direct subtitles regarding this message (as seen through the retrospectoscope) is एक और गीत गा लूं, तो चलूं , “One more song to sing, then I’ll go.” But they are not all so clear, and the ‘hints and messages’ in the subtitles were not the only ones being given. Most were simply ‘ordinary’.
For example, the subtitle above goes with the reprint of Diya Tale Andhera (image above left), meaning roughly Darkness Under the Lamp. Nothing much to do with the title, as a subtitle normally would. But then you have the subtitle for the reprint of its companion volume, Bin Bati Bin Tel (Without Wick, Without Oil; image above right), which is दीया जले सारी रात, or “The Lamp Burns All Night.” Simple! Straightforward! The subtitle means what it says and enhances the title. Just what a subtitle should do. No need for interpretation or speculation, and nothing to do with coming events.
Shailendra went through all the subtitles Osho assigned from 1987-89 and picked out those relating to his search, finding ten that he reckoned were pointing in this direction, all given in early 1989, but they were fewer than half of the subtitles given during that period. And the books with those significant subtitles were not all published at once. Thus the message was camouflaged; it took someone with Shailendra’s foreknowledge and fortuitous placement in Hindi Publications to pick up on this. The article in the wiki looks in great detail at all this.
Shailendra shared his findings with others after Osho left his body but – likely because of the shock of that event – he could not arouse much interest until years later at the wiki. We talked, and his story was compelling. Some details didn’t add up – and really, what do you expect after 28 years? – but they paled in comparison to the mountain of details that did add up. And in the research for the wiki article, another pattern I had not previously understood emerged that was equally compelling, also pointing to Osho’s upcoming departure from this plane, and available to a wider group than Hindi Publications’ workers.
It was this: among Shailendra’s group of ten special subtitles were three conveying what I found myself tagging as a ‘general urgency’ type of message, along the lines of Osho’s frequent reminders to meditate now, do whatever we need to do now, since this moment is all there is, and we will all die some day, no exceptions. This urgency, this call to a mortality-enforced ‘nowness’, was non-specific in the subtitles but as a theme it fit well here and nothing like it can be found among the earlier subtitles, making its appearance in 1989 all the more suggestive.
What’s in a word? I associated this word ‘urgency’ with that time because Osho uses it to goad people into going deeper in the guided meditations of the time, but I had no idea how apt that association was. When the time came to look it up in the CD-ROM database, I was astounded to find that more than two-thirds of all his uses of the word ‘urgency’ are in the last seven months of his talks. They are loaded with it. Almost every night, he is telling us to “go deeper, with an urgency as if this is the last moment of your life.” It’s a remarkably consistent, persistent and insistent pattern. He is not talking (directly) about his own death, but the urgency is the same, when you get down to it. Among friends who are committed to investigating the proposition that we are all one, the difference between him and us, you and me in this situation is minimal.
I couldn’t get the implications of this pattern at the time but it still has value in this moment while savoring anew his ways of “working” with us. His gifts go on giving. Some are like the firecrackers a Zen monk had hidden inside his clothes to go off on his funeral pyre, turning his death into a diwali for his disciples. Some are just sweet moments which mature to their ripeness 28 years later.
And I found beauty in this story and its unfolding. The essence of beauty is in experiencing patterns, their subtleties, interplay and variations, and not just in formulaic ways. An asymmetry might complement and fulfill a symmetry, a discordant note in a harmonious progression, just the right word in the flow of words we call poetry. Shakespeare would say, “Aye, there’s the rub.” If he had imbibed Zen, it might have come out as a simpler, “Ah, this!”
Quote by Osho
From Darkness to Light, Ch 3, Q 1
A selection of Osho’s let-go meditations can be found in our section
Osho > The Urgency
Deva Sarlo grew up in Canada, where Osho found him in a cabin in the woods in 1977. Taking sannyas the following year, he worked as a guard in Pune 1, as a cleaner and in the carpet crew at the Ranch, and Osho Times in Pune 3. Currently a freelance nobody on Vancouver Island and farer of the way on Sannyas Wiki (www.sannyas.wiki) – Songs in the Key of Osho (www3.telus.net)