The Nepalese news site, Nepalnews, recently published this interview with Swami Arun the co-ordinator of Osho Tapoban
Osho Rajneesh is the only hope for this totally spent-up and decaying civilization.
You recently returned from Russia after conducting a series of meditation camps. How did you find the situation of spiritual movement in the post-communist Russia ?
Arun: Since 2005, I have made four visits to Russia . During this period, I have conducted meditation camps, Satsangs, lectures in the different cities from Siberia to St. Petersburg . During the Soviet era, the government was strictly controlling the spiritual activities around the country. After the dissolution of Soviet Union , people's urge in spiritualism has greatly increased. Still, only orthodox Christianity is accepted as official religion. Although there are 15 million Muslims and half a million Buddhists, they are concentrated in specific areas only. Other religions are almost non-existent. Young, educated Russians are getting inclined to Eastern spiritual discipline. There are followers of Hare Krishna movement scattered all over the country but they are discouraged to spread and not allowed to open temples and ashrams. There are practitioners of Chi-Qung and followers of Satya Sai baba in urban areas. People are also interested in alternative medicine Chinese and herbal. People who are interested in Spirituality want to visit India , Nepal and china to test the ancient flavor.
Without meditation there is only one alternative that is medication. Unknowingly people are choosing the latter. People need alcohol and drugs to sleep, nicotine and caffeine to wake up and drugs like 'ecstasy' and 'red bull' to dance
. Humanity has not found better tool than meditation to manage our mind.
After the fall of the Soviet Union , many religions of the West and East rushed to Russia and other countries (of former USSR ) to fill in the vacuum. After few years the Orthodox Church realized that if they did not control them, they might have other strong competitors. So the government and the Orthodox Church are in constant vigilance to any religious movement getting momentum. On the other hand, people of Russia are very open, loving, and intelligent and there is a great quest for spiritual truth. They are honest and dedicated to their spiritual practices. I was very surprised to see books of Osho, Ramana Maharshi, Paramahansa Yoganand, Ramakrishna, Sai Baba, Hare Krishna even in bookstore of small towns. Around 200 Osho books have been translated in Russian language and they are very popular. Open minded intellectuals are reading Osho. Recently my book "Sant Darshan" has been published in Russian and I am receiving very encouraging and positive response from the readers. So I see a great possibility of spiritual revival in Russia .
You have been propagating the teachings of Osho for over last three decades. Why do you think it is still relevant? How do you see the future of the Osho movement in Nepal and elsewhere?
Arun: Osho teachings are based on scientific facts and there is no dogma and long list of do's and don'ts. Osho teachings appeal to intellectuals. It is a wonderful synthesis of ancient eastern wisdom and modern western scientific facts. Three intellectual giants of our time Sigmund Freud, Einstein and Karl Marx have influenced entire intellectual outlook and culture of modern age. They have greatly influenced our social and cultural behavior. Accordingly religions also cannot ignore them and they have to adopt their findings. Osho is the existential answer to this challenge. You have asked me, 'Why do you think it is still relevant?' My answer is: it is relevant now and will be more relevant in the coming decades. Even in this 21st century, majority of the people are not psychologically contemporary, mentally they don't live even in the 20 th century. Modern education, revolution in IT, globalization, development of democratic systems and emergence of free media are slowly making humanity free from old conditioning. The more people are free from iron chain of their conditioning, more Osho becomes relevant and acceptable.
After Freud, Jung, Adler, Assagioli and Wilhelm Reich old religions' postulations of sexual suppression have proved to be a neurotic and hypocritical idea. I see no future of such old religions unless they modernize themselves and become contemporary. With human behavior and intelligence becoming modern, Osho will be the one who will be quenching the spiritual thirst of people.
Osho Rajneesh is considered a controversial Guru mainly because of his flamboyant lifestyle and his views regarding sex. Don't you think Osho is a wrong prescription for today's materialist world?
Arun: Regarding your question of Osho as a controversial Guru, anyone who talks, who propounds new ideas to the contrary of the old belief and conditioning has always courted controversy. Even great scientists like Galileo and Archimedes who gave new thoughts in empirical sciences, painters like Van Gogh, explorers like Columbus, psychologists like Wilhelm Reich, genius writers like Kazantzakis were always considered to be controversial. Human mind is not intelligent enough to recognize their contemporary geniuses in their life time. All those who are salt of the earth and who shape the future of humanity have to accept controversies in one form or the other. Mediocres never become controversial, only geniuses do.
Osho never respected poverty and regarded it as a curse. It is everybody's right to live a joyous and happy life. Science has created so much amenities and possibilities for every human being that he/she can lead a life of comfort and ease. Osho is not a hypocritical Spiritual Master. He lived what he taught.
I think Osho Rajneesh is the only hope for this totally spent-up and decaying civilization. Why this world is becoming so violent, aggressive and materialistic and people so ego-centric? Life is becoming more and more complex and miserable despite so much modern gadgets around to make our life comfortable and luxurious. People are going neurotic and restless, our children are killing their peers and teachers in schools, never heard abnormality like pedophile, wife-shopping, people being habituated to visit striptease clubs, homosexuals and lesbians getting legal status, people not being able to sleep without alcohol and drugs - such practices are becoming prevalent in our urban life. It has not happened in one day. It is the collective result of the teachings of our whole past. Old religion has played a great role and has had a significant investment in creating this big mess. It needs great courage to accept that our past prescription was wrong. We need a new doctor with experience in modern diseases to write a new prescription. Anyone who carefully reads Osho, he will find that Osho has accepted this challenge. He has vision, courage, wisdom and scientific approach to cure the cancer that is eating up our society.
Why is meditation necessary? How and why should people try to find time for inner journey when there is so much to explore in the outer world?
Arun: Even great scientists like Galileo and Archimedes who gave new thoughts in empirical sciences, painters like Van Gogh, explorers like Columbus, psychologists like Wilhelm Reich, genius writers like Kazantzakis were always considered to be controversial. Human mind is not intelligent enough to recognize their contemporary geniuses in their life time
. Mediocres never become controversial, only geniuses do.
In the past, meditation was only for the seekers. People used to follow their family lineage profession and their limited knowledge was passed from generation to generation. Now-a-days people are exposed to so much information and knowledge that it is said that a single edition of The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal newspaper contains more information than a person living in the 19 th century could acquire in his life time. Now people have to know and update themselves with so many things that their mind is constantly overloaded. And there is no place for intelligence and intuition to play the role in their life. Those who are successful don't have time to enjoy their success; they are full of stress and are restless. Those who are not successful are depressed and frustrated. Both have miserable life. Meditation is an art of balancing our emotions and giving some rest to overtaxed mind. Without meditation there is only one alternative that is medication. Unknowingly people are choosing the latter. People need alcohol and drugs to sleep, nicotine and caffeine to wake up and drugs like 'ecstasy' and 'red bull' to dance. In metropolitan cities, people are more often visiting psychologists and therapists. Psychologists say that 3&Mac218;4 of the urban population is getting psychologically sick and 80% of the physical diseases are also rooted in mind. So we need to change the way we are living. Humanity has not found better tool than meditation to manage our mind. Meditation is an inner management. There is not much of help howsoever to improve upon the outer periphery until we manage the center i.e. ourself. To address this center meditation is the best tool.
To embark on an inner journey is no more a luxury or a choice, now it is becoming a necessity. We are short-sighted and often our decisions are colored by liking and disliking, not by the inner wisdom. Once you start the inner journey, you become relaxed and calm. With that serenity your decisions become more objective as you are guided by wisdom and intuition. Even to enjoy the outer world, one who is going to enjoy should be healthy and balanced. A perturbed mind cannot enjoy even if he has all the luxuries of the world at his disposal. Only a meditative mind can enjoy everything-- even death.
Osho is also known for introducing the concept of "Neo-Sannyasins." Could you tell us what does it mean? Isn't it an exercise to distort the holy practice of "Sannyas" as we commonly understand?
Arun: There were two types of traditions and sannyas in the east Brahmin and Shramana. Shramana tradition was started by Mahaveera and Buddha. Brahmin tradition has existed from time immemorial. In Sharaman tradition sannyasins were deprived from keeping family, home, property and profession. But in Brahmin tradition such restrictions were not imposed. Before Buddha and Mahaveera, Hindu sannyasins used to have family, possessions and normal sex life. Yagyavalkya, Vishwamitra, Valmiki, Kanavya, Jamadagni, Bharadwas, Atri, Gautam, Vashistha, Kashyapa, Agastya were family men. They used to live with their wives, had property and children. The concept of no-family, no-possession was introduced by Buddha and Mahaveera. Hindu sannyasins always had family. Adi Shankarachrya some 1,200 years before had a difficult task to revive Hinduism because Buddhism was becoming mainstream religion of India . So Hindu sannyasins with family and children looked pale and weak before a Buddhist monk walking with a begging bowl and three yellow robes. In order to compete with them, Shakaracharya introduced Shramana practices in Hinduism.
Osho's Neo-sannyas is in total agreement with ancient sannyas of this land. In Shramana tradition a lot of corruption entered from the back door. For the majority of the people it was not possible to live without sex and possession. At present, there are more than 10 millions sannyasins in India and Nepal who are totally dependent on the society. Society has to provide them everything and they are not creating any value either. In Thailand, over 10 percent of population consists of Buddhist Bhikkhus. This is a heavy burden on society. Sannyas of such fashion can not be allowed to overgrow and number has to be restricted. That's why Osho introduced a concept of Neo-sannyas which was the mainstream of this land in ancient time. And his sannyasins are creative and self-sufficient. They are not burden on anyone and there is no need to be hypocrite either. That's why only Osho's Neo-sannyas will be sustainable in the days to come.
First puplished on Nepalnews.com