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From Sex to Superconsicousness

(excerpted from a press release from Keerti in New Delhi)

Osho's most disputed book that stung the Indian sensibilities in the 70's is now back on the shelves in open displays, cheaper and more accessible to all. ''From Sex to Superconsciousness'' by Osho has made a comeback following requests by readers for a fresh English translation, said Mr Shekhar Malhotra, founder of Full Circle books which has brought out the now-popular low priced editions. (The original talks were given in Hindi: Ed.)

That the book, which created a stir in the 1970s is still ''as infamous as it is famous'' was evident from the strong opinions voiced at a panel discussion organised last week on the occasion of the launch.

''Perhaps I am one of the most misunderstood men on the earth today... Anybody who reads the book will be surprised. But people believe in gossip. Who wants to read the book? The book is not about sex. It is the only book in the whole existence against sex. It says that there is a way to go beyond sex. You can transcend sex. You are at the stage of sex while you should be at the stage of superconsciousness...,'' said Osho in a message played at the discussion.

Eminent Odissi danseuse Sonal Mansingh, one of the panelists, said the stigma that existed in the Indian society about discussing sex could be overcome if one viewed it as ''Krida'', as in the ancient scriptures. She highlighted the necessity of the right balance or the ''middle-path'', as preached by Buddhism, to reach superconsciousness. ''But is it so important to get superconsciousness?" She asked.

Not sharing this scepticism, educationist Arun Kapoor, who has set-up the Vasant Valley school in the capital, declared that the knowledge of sexual bliss introduced us to our spiritual self and spiritual intelligence, which led to superconsciousness.

Praising Osho's treatment of the matter in the book, Mr Kapoor said ignorance of sexual bliss prevented people from reaching a ''higher state'' of existence which they all had the potential to reach and lamented that sex education dealt only with its physiological aspects, not the spiritual.

Approaching the book from a different perspective, psychotherapist and director of the organisation 'Sarthak', Dr Achal Bhagat, said it presented a very simplified and singular view of the issues it dealt with when actually life was not so simple.

Sex in our country is about domestic violence and child abuse, he said, adding that the work was singular as it ''presented only a single-partner, man-woman, heterosexual view of sexuality''.

Eminent media, film and theatre personality Suhel Seth said the objections to the book arose from the fact that Indian society had religious role models of celibacy, of people who decried sex.

Journalist and writer Namita Gokhale said, ''This book was one of the most important books in its time because it loosened up, opened up the Indian society at a time when it was very strict.''

Through various examples, she pointed out that discussions on sex were not taboo in ancient India when even religious leaders like Adi Sankaracharya participated in these.

The book is selling for 100 rupees in India.