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Everyone Is Osho
An interview with Veeresh by Chandrika

Swami Anand Veeresh

Chandrika: Veeresh, who do you see as Osho's successor?

Veeresh: I became a sannyasin in 1974. I recall walking around the ashram - as it used to be called back then - and seeing a lot of people with long beards, looking just like Osho. I remember laughing and thinking to myself, “That's cute, they all look like Oshos!” Over the years, I would keep finding these imitations. I'd go up to them and say, “You look just like Osho!” and they'd give me a big smile.
At first, when I saw these people, I would be thinking, “Man, you have to get yourself a life!” But later, I thought if they want to imitate Osho and try to look like Him and walk around like Him - why not? That is their trip. So I started to appreciate them.
At some point, I accepted that all sannyasins are Osho. I would discuss the meaning of the word “Osho” in workshops. I would ask the participants, “Do you know that in Chinese, the word “Osho” means disciple, and that in Japanese it means master? Which one do you choose to be?”
Later I started to see that everyone is Osho: I started to respect not only all sannyasins but every human being. It was beyond the sannyas movement; it was more an understanding of what humanity is all about.
A friend of mine once traveled to the ashram, and at the front gate he asked, “Is Veeresh here?” They told him, “No, but Osho is here.” My friend said that he didn't want to see Osho, he wanted to see Veeresh; so he left and went back to New York. Later, in a darshan, I told Osho what had happened and asked: “How can I get people turned on to you and not to me?” He said, “Veeresh, never make a distinction between the two of us; people who are turned on to you are turned on to me.”
That was an important learning. He was saying that if you understand what His message is all about, we are both the same. That was great because until then I always saw Him as a God, and now I could see that He was a human being, that we are friends.
I don't want to imitate Him or anybody else; I want to be myself. He showed me that my own individuality is what is important. So now, I enjoy everyone's trip. If people want to be His successor - right on! Do it, find out what that is about!

Chandrika: Is the concept of being Osho's successor something you feel comfortable with?

Veeresh: I prefer to see myself as Osho's ambassador. To be a successor is a heavy drama. One time, when I was at the Resort as it is now called, some Indian families came over to me saying, “Veeresh! Veeresh!” I didn't know them. One woman put her baby in my arms, and all the Indians were standing around me smiling, laughing, and I felt as if they were treating me like they would treat Osho. I got very uncomfortable about it and passed the baby back into the mother's arms.
Chandrika: In what ways do you see yourself as Osho's successor?
Veeresh: I am His successor in that Osho and I had a heart connection together. And this heart connection that I have with Him, I pass on to everyone else. So I am succeeding by sharing my heart with everyone.
Last time I was in Osho's Samadhi, I was crying out of love and gratitude - for having known Him, experienced Him, hung out with Him, and entertained Him. There was just so much love and “thank you” coming out of my heart. These weren't tears of pain, it was… Gratitude is not descriptive enough; it was more than that. He gave me so much, and I can give all that to everyone that I come in contact with. That has made my life so full and complete.
I am a successor in the sense that I have succeeded in what He wanted me to do. I searched, I looked, I struggled, and I got it! I found it inside: I found Him, I found love, and I found truth. So I succeed Him by passing on the love that I experienced with Him. That is what I am doing.
I remember Osho coming onstage with all His jewelry, looking like Superman - all this glitter and everything - and I thought to myself, “What a super bling outfit!” And then I imagined: If I were enlightened, what kind of outfit would I wear? I thought it wouldn't be like His, that's for sure - that was too star-oriented for me. I would come out cool hip-hop - really different! I was comparing myself and thinking, “No, I don't want to be you. I want to enjoy you, but I want to be myself.”
I think that's what He wanted. I am a successor in that sense. I am doing my thing. I've always been doing my thing. And He has always helped me do that. He encouraged me to do that when He gave me the name “Veeresh,” which means “Bliss beyond Fear.”

Chandrika: When you hear the words “Osho's successor” do you feel a sense of responsibility or a need to be something other than what you are? How does that happen in everyday life?

Veeresh: Yes, I feel the responsibility because of who I am and the work that I do. I once established sannyasin centers that I called Misfit Cities because I didn't feel accepted - either by sannyasins or by non-sannyasins. At that time, I was really struggling to do my trip, yet my heart was always connected to Osho.
My place is called Osho Humaniversity. What I say, how I act, and what I do influences the people that I work with. I constantly need to be aware about that. That is a great responsibility.

Chandrika: Who else do you see playing a role as Osho's successors?

Veeresh: I see the Twenty-One (the Inner Circle) as having a very vital role in spreading Osho's vision, which, as I see it, is about discovering the Master inside of each of us. I remember being invited to a dinner by the Twenty-One in Pune. I asked them how their work was going. At that time, they were busy building the new auditorium, and they related to me that Osho had wanted to have a bridge crossing the water leading to the auditorium. They were sharing with me the difficulty they were having because of the zoning laws; they were only allowed to build half of a bridge for some crazy reason. Suddenly, I had this deep sympathy for the Twenty-One and their struggle to present Osho's vision to the world.
For example, I was there the day they stopped bringing out Osho's chair to Buddha Hall, and I remember there was some commotion about it. Until then, there would be these two sannyasins whose job, every day, was to bring out His chair with gloves on - it was a whole ritual. When the Twenty-One started to see it that way and moved to stop it, people were upset. For the Twenty-One, it meant that they had to go back and research to find out what Osho actually said. I asked them about this, and they told me that Osho never requested that anyone should bring out His chair; they felt that sannyasins had started a kind of worship around it. And so from one day to the next these two people lost their jobs, which for so many years was so precious.
Sannyasins thought it was the trip of the Twenty-One, but I don't think Osho ever asked, “Bring out my chair, put my pictures all over the place, and start to create worship around me.” Osho didn't want to create religion and rituals. He just created a foundation so that the sannyasins can have a place to meditate and celebrate.
I see the Twenty-One struggle a lot to keep things the way they think Osho wanted it - a point from where people can do their thing instead of laying their trips. So the Twenty-One have my deep sympathy and respect for a job that is not very well appreciated or welcomed.

Chandrika: And…there are all the sannyasins around the world who are also Osho's successors!

I believe what can happen for instance is that there is the meditation resort versus all the centers and sannyasins around the world. There can be a potential for conflict there if people only argue, “I am right, and you are wrong.”
Once a Ma came to the Humaniversity and said that I was not doing Osho's work. I remember I became so furious that I sent a letter to Osho saying: “Get this women off my back or I will create a big stink!” His answer was, “not to worry about her anymore, she will not bother me and my reactions would not help His work.” When I received this message, I realized I did not have His overview, I was only seeing my own personal situation.
Osho once said that His work would only really be appreciated and developed 200 years from now. It was incredible when Osho was alive. And now, after He “took off,” I think it will be even more incredible.
We're now in a growing stage. We are in a dynamic organization, and we don't have to be in a conflict. Everyone can be a complement. Every individual does his thing, and the Twenty-One do their thing, which I see is administering the Resort and carrying out His vision, keeping it all simple. And from there, things can build. I tell you what goes through my head:
I am Osho
and Osho is me
and if you can accept it,
we are three.

This interview first appeared in the Jan-Feb 2008 edition of Vihar Connection