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To Nablus with Love
Osho took many of us, brought up in particular as Christians, Buddhists and Jews on a rollercoaster between 1974 and 1989. First the soft sell, the beautiful discourses on Jesus, the Hassids and Buddha, and then only later when he came out of silence in 1984, all the hits against the founders of these religions, and most of all the religions themselves. Islam sort of escaped a little, but in small doses Osho was still there shaking the tree. I remember the crazy story of the Sufi Mansoor being literally cut to pieces by the priests of Islam simply for repeating that "He himself was God".
At the time I thought that Osho was hitting out at enemies of consciousness that had sort of disappeared, but how wrong I was!
Now all of us are caught up in what we are assured is a war with no end, and much of it coming from what appears to be the clash or alliances of the fundamentalist religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. It is very hard for someone to give up a religion installed and conditioned from birth, but it is only the beginning of the challenge of finding a real spirituality of one's own, one that says, with Mansoor, how can there be any intermediary between God and man if you and God are one. I understand that in some Islamic countries it is an offence punishable by death to "convert" to another religion. I imagine they deal with someone who gives up established religion altogether in the same way, someone who says religion is a servant of power and I will have nothing to do with it is much more revolutionary and dangerous than a convert!
And that seems to me to make Osho's appeal especially contemporary. How can the power of the priests and Imans preaching, or covertly encouraging intolerance, and even violence, be destroyed. Only if the whole edifice of psychological "belief" is given up. Osho continuously encouraged men and women to "experience" God for themselves. The experience of God is the only thing of consequence for the mystic, belief is just a reaction of the mind to being in an insecure universe. The experience of God frees one of religion for ever.
I found it uplifting in this context to find a chink of light in the madness, when I learned that someone called Mariam Nour has a daily programme on Arab satellite TV (which is said to reach millions of Moslems), in which she often refers to Osho. Viha Connection say that her programmes often result in requests for Osho books. 3,000 were recently requested by a chain bookstore in Lebanon, and Mariam Nour is arranging for Osho books to be translated into Arabic.
One story was particularly fetching. A young girl in Nablus desperately requested an Osho text. However the US postal service wont post there because they consider it occupied Israeli territory if you can believe it! Viha laudably got round this by sending through a Canadian contact, thankfully Canada has not got the fundamentalist virus.
Osho was fond of saying how important it was to make sure that his words reached every nook and cranny of the world, and in all languages, and it was to his sannyasins that he gave over this great responsibility. Maybe this is more important now than it ever was, and Texas as much as Tehran should be the target.