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Osho in the Dental Chair

I wrote an article called “ Osho in the Dental Chair” (back pages of sannyasnews.com) over six months ago, which evoked more than a variety of responses. Some of these responses helped to deepen my understanding.

Firstly, as one response put it, the dispute over the periods of Osho’s intake of Nitrous Oxide can basically be fully addressed through the three articles that were written under the collective title “Tooth Truth: Memoirs of a Dental Triumvirate” and printed in the March/April 2001 Edition of Viha Connection. These were written by Nityamo, Ashru and Devageet. Nityamo and Ashru were at various times dental assistant’s to Devageet, who was Osho’s personal dentist from around 1978 to his death. Particularly in Nityamo’s account, but also in Ashru's, it is clear that Osho had three periods of nitrous oxide usage, Poona One, on the Ranch and in Poona two. Some commentators have denied Osho’s use of nitrous oxide in the Poona two period. Even a brief examination of Nityamo’s article, when she speaks of sessions and dates them in 1987 and 1988 contradict this. For some reason members of the Inner Circle continue to deny Osho used nitrous oxide after the Ranch. I can only assume this is done because they feel it subtracts from their view that the main cause of Osho’s death was poisoning by the US government, not Osho’s own use of nitrous oxide.

Secondly some have questioned the amount of nitrous oxide that Osho was absorbing. I can only suggest people read these three articles. It is clear that Osho was sometimes calling sessions two or three times a day even in Pune one. Just as Osho rightly claimed that he had spoken more words than any other teacher living or dead in his life, it is fair enough comment that he might well have inhaled more than any other known nitrous oxide user over the three periods. If so, it must have had a very deleterious effect on his overall health in a body already weakened by diabetes. However it is clear from a careful examination of the text of the three books dictated under nitrous oxide that this was very much Osho's own choice, and that he was encouraging his Noah’s Ark as he called his helping team, to forget his bodily welfare.

Thirdly Devageet, Osho’s dentist kindly made a short reply to my article indicating that the three books Osho dictated under nitrous oxide were all dictated during the early Ranch period. I had questioned this, as I felt “Glimpses of a Golden Childhood” self-referred to India so much it had to have been dictated in Poona. He explained that the First Edition text of “Glimpses” which seems to locate Osho in India, had been manipulated by Sheela, who published the First Edition to make it feel like it had been dictated in India. A Second Edition of 1992 had changed this. I therefore stand corrected on this. I was simply working from the First Edition. Why Sheela did this, the reader can only guess at. I imagine that her rationalisation was that books that might have indicated that Osho was taking nitrous oxide would have not helped his immigration case in attempting to gain at the time residency in the United States.

It also became clear from other email correspondence that one whole session (session 29) of the First Edition of Glimpses had been deleted from the Second Edition. Having re-read this session, I can only imagine that Sheela and her gang altered this session beyond recognition, as it contains the odd story of Osho being adopted by Sheela’s father, which as almost everyone knows quarrels with Osho’s own accounts in many texts of his early childhood. In these other texts he indicates he was with his own grandparents until age seven. The Editor of the second Edition in 1992 must have therefore felt to drop it. However one still has an open mind, and no one has come forward with anything definitive. Anyone reading this want to add to this debate?

Fourthly one reader rightly points out a mis-quotation in my earlier article from the book “Notes of a Madman”. I quote Osho as having said, “I have to pretend to be not enlightened”. The actual quotation is “I have to pretend to be enlightened”. This arose as a result of Chinese whispers between emails that I had received on the topic. I apologise for this mis-quotation.

I continue to have an open mind on Osho’s use of nitrous oxide. I also continue to have an open mind about whether he simply considered it part of his private life which was no-one else’s business, though I doubt it because he must have authorised, and even pushed for the publication of the three ‘nitrous’ books. Finally, for me, I can only repeat that whilst posterity is entitled to the plain truth about all of this, it does not change my own discipleship. I remain convinced that Osho spoke and acted from a place where he had simply become a vehicle for existence, and that in so doing he simply reflected the infinitely light energy of the beyond in its endless dialogue with those few humans who reach for it.

Parmartha August, 03