Dhyan Aakash on his collection of Osho’s first editions and memorabilia.
Since my childhood I’ve always been fascinated by antiques and rare items, and watched every possible TV show about them. This interest of mine has always been there and now it has turned into something that I’m actually busy doing.
The first covid lockdown had already started and I’d returned to my hometown from Lalitpur after my college physically shut down. My father got a phone call from his friend who was a sannyasin. He said he was sending “some” Osho books as a gift. He used to run Nirvana Country Club in Dharan. When it closed, he gave away many things, and amongst them were these books. The cases of Covid were very high at that time. So, when a carton of books duly arrived at a relative’s home I wasn’t able to pick them up because nobody was allowed to move.
After a few weeks, when the lockdown loosened up, Sashi uncle again called my father and said something was coming to our home. Next day, a small tractor showed up in front of our gate carrying a big daraz (metal cupboard with display glass) full of Osho books from the 80s and 90s, cassettes and magazines. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! I had to bow down, crying tears of gratitude.
In 2020 at the transition between first and second lockdown in Nepal, I went to an Osho Ashram in Lahan, Nepal for a few days’ visit. After breakfast on the second day, when I went to the library, I noticed an old beaten-up book lying on the edge of the bookshelf. When I picked it up, a chill went down on my spine – I was awestruck! I saw the name “Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh” and a logo of a downward facing triangle. Just by reading the name “Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh” my eyes filled up with tears and I was transported back to the 70s, to Poona One, where I’d never actually been but had always wished to visit.
The title of the book was The First Principle and it was the first edition from 1979. I thought it was from the personal collection of the ashram but when I inquired whether or not it was for sale, they said it was! I ran to my room, grabbed my wallet, then – boom! – it was in my hands.
These events were happening without my planning and I felt this was a sign that Osho, or existence, wants me to do something practical. I felt an intense urge to start an Osho archive – to collect his books, memorabilia, belongings, anything that has to do with Osho! – because this is extremely important for us, the younger generation of sannyasins and the future of humanity. Now, the mysterious interest of my childhood was taking shape as reality!
I started looking on the internet for anything that was related to Osho and found really old first edition books from the 70s. Sw. Parambodhi from Australia put me onto the AbeBooks website. I spent every penny of my savings getting these books from America. When they finally arrived, I realised how passionate I am about this project.
Slowly existence started to shower me with many leads and pointers leading to extremely important and rare items. I didn’t have any funds to buy them as I’m still going to college. Nonetheless, I put many things on Facebook marketplace, even my phones, to generate funds to expand the collection. Maybe, seeing this madness, existence was extremely generous in helping me in many mysterious ways.
Now the collection/archive holds more than 120 books from the 70s, 80s and 90s (including many first editions from the 70s), plus cassette tapes and magazines. The most special items of our collection include a piece of marble from Osho’s bedroom/bathroom, pendants made from the same marble and a pair of white gloves from Rajneeshpuram which he himself wore! These gloves feel like my closest connection to Osho. I’d always heard that things like these carry the energy of an enlightened master; now I can experience this energy myself when I’m near these marbles and the gloves.
42 issues of Sannyas magazines from 1974-81 are on the way to Nepal along with copies of the Rajneesh Foundation Newsletter, Rajneesh Darshan, Osho Times, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh Diary 1978 and the book A Space Where God Can Descend.
I came to realise why this project is so important when I saw the Voyage section on Osho News, where many members of our sannyas family are slowly slowly leaving their bodies. I felt what would happen, if the books and objects that carry the essence of Poona One, Rajneeshpuram and our beloved Osho were not preserved, then they would disappear.
Physical things like these are extremely important for a person like me who never got a chance to be with him physically or experience the golden days of Poona One and Rajneeshpuram. These material things, simply in bearing the words “Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh”, fill up that void in subtle form. Also, the books would be extremely helpful as an archive because many books which are being published right now are Khichadi (bits and pieces from different books compiled into one). These original books contain the actual words of our beloved Osho.
Right now everything is housed in my home. My plan is to get a large room that people can visit, to see and enjoy the archive. At the moment, I don’t have the necessary funds to build the infrastructure to display these things as they deserve, but I trust in existence that it will indeed happen.
Also, in years to come, I’d like to turn my home into a meditation centre and build a meditation hall. In my imagination, the gloves and the marbles would be displayed in this hall so that meditators can connect with the energy of Osho they embody. That’s the long-term plan.
At present we are lending books, one at a time, to anyone who wants to read one, except for old and rare books which might suffer from mishandling– I can’t risk that! After they return the book, they can borrow the next one.
Our archive focuses mainly on things from Poona One, Rajneeshpuram, and Osho’s belongings. The items could be anything from books, newspapers, pamphlets, utensils used in Poona One and Rajneeshpuram, posters, clothes, wrappings, soaps – literally anything! If anyone wants to contribute towards this archive then we would be so grateful and happy to preserve them.
- To collect and protect – Rashid addresses the issue how to go about protecting Osho memorabilia once a sannyasin who had been gifted with a present, leaves their body (May 2019)