I was raised a Catholic but had realised the emptiness and hypocrisy by the time I was 13. Atheism seemed like the obvious way to go, yet I had this spiritual longing. I got into Buddhism through my love of Japanese culture and flirted with simple meditation techniques. Though it wasn't long before I realised that Buddhism wasn't right for me, I still consider it my spiritual saviour. A few years later I discovered Lao Tzu and his wonderful Tao Te Ching. The Taoist ideas sat really well with my natural inclinations but still challenged my beliefs.
I discovered Osho when a Sannyasin friend of mine happened to drop his name in conversation. At the time I had no idea what a Sannyasin was or that my friend was indeed one of them. But this name - this Osho - stuck in the back of my mind. It nagged me. I had to know more about this man. I didn't know why. My friend never spoke a word about him. I had no preconceived notions.
The first thing I read was a seemingly neutral and brief account of Osho's life on a religious tolerance website. Everything I read compelled me. I never really imagined such a man existed in my lifetime. Even when I read about all the trouble in the US commune, it didn't put me off. I remember thinking that I should probably be fazed by this. Most people would be, yet I simply was not.
Not long after that I started reading Osho's Tao: The Three Treasures. I wasn't prepared for what I was about to read. Osho's insight into the mind of Lao Tzu shocked me to the core. The more I read, the more I felt Osho. I don't feel as if he is in the room or anything like that. I felt him more inside me, in my stomach. I could feel the man's love and it changed me. I kept on reading because I loved every last word. But also there was a part of me - the cynic in me - that expected to find something that I would disagree with. When I finally found something that didn't sit right with me I didn't disregard it like I thought I would. I realised that I was wrong. I trusted in the wisdom of this enlightened master. I had faith. Now that was new.
It was later that I read a quote from Osho saying how taking Sannyas is essentially symbolic. True Sannyas comes to you like love, without any effort on your part and probably when you least expect it.
To me Osho is totality. He is the wise fool like the Sufi, Taoist and Zen masters before him. He celebrates life by poking fun at its many absurdities. I find it near impossible to talk about him in the past tense. He is alive and well and laughing in my belly.