Editing of Osho's words

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This page is meant to be a hub for reports and references about the editing of Osho's words in publications, be that as books, audio or video. At this point it addresses only Osho's English publications, but it may later branch out into other languages.

Introduction

Osho has written letters, given interviews, dictated texts and even written a few manuscripts for talks in the early and mid-60s. But by far the most of his words were spoken before live audiences, varying at first from small intimate gatherings in people's homes to meditation camps to huge audiences all around India. Later, when he "settled down" in one place for a while, his audiences grew from a hundred or so in his flat in Bombay (now Mumbai) to thousands in his Ashram / Commune in Poona (now Pune) at in Rajneeshpuram. Those discourses would, for example, be about a specific religious master, whose sutras or anecdotes would be read by one of his sannyasins, and Osho would comment. Or sannyasins would write questions to him, and some of them he would choose to answer in public.

All discourses were given completely spontaneously, which was quite a feat to see: there would be long elaborations, digressions, anecdotes and intermittent jokes, but after a time, even as much as half an hour, the main subject would be taken up again (and wake up the listeners with a shock). Osho would hold a little clipboard with some notes, on which were written just the questions and the name of the questioner, or the sutras. Also jokes would be written out. But the main discourse was always spontaneous.

(He once said, "The only thing I am serious about is jokes. So when I quote the scripture I quote from memory, when I quote a joke I have it written here in front of me. I never want to make any mistake about the joke -- I am really serious. About everything else I am absolutely non-serious." ~ from Tao: The Pathless Path, Vol 1, ch 10.)

The lectures had a duration of between half an hour and 4 hours. The average duration of the English lectures is 98 minutes, the recorded Hindi lectures lasted on average 84 minutes.

These recordings would then be transcribed, and published as books. Editing was minimal, the books are in the order of 98% exactly as spoken. Some of the early books were compilations, but Osho said again and again that he preferred to have his discourses as a whole and as a series. Especially after his death more compilations were made. In the bibliography in this Wiki, compilations are always tagged as such.

Reports from editors

A first-hand description from an editor from 1974 is to be found in Ma Prema Veena's Glimpses of My Master, which has been reproduced in this Wiki. And in OshoNews is another account by Veena of how the publication of Osho’s books started: The Beginnings of Osho’s Book Publications.

Books

An important source for the process of editing is Neeten's Osho Source Book.

Of course with an overwhelming quantity of texts like these from Osho, and their religious subtlety, future editing is a sensitive project, and a critical view is imperative. What we see is that the original texts are being re-edited and modernized. Also, many more compilations have come out, probably in an effort to interest other publishers.

There is a website of Osho Friends International that makes comparisons between the first publications, and later editions and compilations of the same texts. (Apparently they used the CD-ROM as reference). They did indeed succeed in making clear comparisons.

Then they state:

Osho had wanted his discourses to be published in their original form without any change or abridgement. Just a few years after Osho left his body, His words are being tampered with and indeed mutilated.

This conclusion seems disputable:

1. The fact is that compilations are being made, and this started during Osho's lifetime, e.g. Wings of Love and Random Thoughts, Priests and Politicians: The Mafia of the Soul, Death: The Greatest Fiction and Words from a Man of No Words. Indeed, Osho has expressed a strong preference for publishing entire discourses, but clearly compilations were not forbidden.
2. As for "His words are being tampered with and indeed mutilated": from the comparisons that have been made we see only one example (below) of this kind of editing that would justify such stark words. Of course, pieces of text are chosen, others are left out. Often specific names of and references to sannyasins are left out. Texts are modernized. But we fail to see any biased, tendentious editing, in some specific direction. Of course, this may still be the case in some compilations, where the explicit aim requires the choosing of text to present a "coherent" theme. Here we may have to trust the integrity of the compiler, without a tremendous amount of cross-checking of many books and comparisons of what else might have been chosen. Examples of this have not been presented on oshofriendsinternational.com.
3. One real issue is the case of The Book of Wisdom. Its title suggests an unabridged work, as that title is the same as the first edition. But the text is in fact, starting from the 2000 Element editions, heavily abridged. Someone involved in the publishing of books, Garimo, has been asked about this. She said that they know about this issue, and now felt this had been a mistake and should not be repeated in the future. As far as we know, there have not been any other cases like this one.

The CD-ROM

An important source of Osho's original texts is Osho Books on CD-ROM, put out in 1994. This CD-ROM contains mostly the text as published in the first (English) editions and the first translations from Hindi that had been done up to then.

This also goes for books that have been renamed on the CD-ROM, e.g.

Its page in this Wiki has a section with notable differences between the audio and the published text.

Audio

Audio recordings of Osho's talks were made from early on, the first ones are from the early sixties. First the recordings were made on reels, later on cassette tape. The introduction to the recordings would be added "live", or directly after the recording. This introduction would have indications about the venue, place, date and title of the discourse series.

There are at least 3,079 recorded English lectures. (Maybe 16 more could be found.)
And there are at least 2,485 recorded Hindi lectures.

The original tapes would sometimes be stored in a careless way. Sugit was working in the commune in the late 80s to wipe rat's piss and shit from hundreds of Hindi master tapes.

During the years 1990 - 1994 a project was undertaken to re-master the audio: enhance the quality, and copy to DAT, so that a durable archive would be established. This was done in London, UK. Parallel to this, in Köln, Germany, new copies were made on Cr-audio cassettes, as masters for reproduction. (I have no information if this also happened with the Hindi audio.) The cleaning of the audio removed noise, but in the process also some of the environmental sounds (birds, trains) and some of the "closeness" of Osho's voice got lost. (As of 2016, the old tapes, made in the 70s and 80s, quite often still have better audio quality than the remastered, and later digitized tapes.)

All original introductions were removed, and replaced by introductions by Sw Prem Amrito, all in this format:

Osho, <Series-title>, <Series-subtitle>, given at <venue> <place> <country>, discourse number <number>

The lecture-date was not included anymore.

From 2000 onwards, the audio would be digitized, either from DAT or from cassette-tape. The resulting MP3's are mainly available from osho.com and oshoworld.com.

Around 2016 a new round of re-mastering is occurring, as heard on MP3s being sold through osho.com. The introductions are spoken by Sw Prem Amrito or Ma Prem Maneesha, and now have the format:

(Intro with elevator muzak. Music fades out...) An Osho talk, <series-title>, <series-subtitle>, number <number> (music fades in).
(At the end of the audio again added music.)

In this new format, sometimes the questions that Osho answers, which had previously been read to him unchanged from how they were submitted, are cut out and are being dubbed in an altered form by Amrito or Maneesha. In some cases this may have happened for reasons of intelligibility, as the questioner is often hard to hear in the recording. In other cases the dubs reduce verbiage and excise all devotional elements. The questioner's name, where spoken by Osho at the start of his words, is then also removed. The table below has some examples.


Audio tape recording : original question read by Maneesha Audio MP3 from osho.com : question dubbed by Maneesha
Beyond Enlightenment #13, q.1
Beloved Bhagwan,
When I close my eyes, I feel such an enormous presence, such a vast isness, such a beatitude. But it is a fullness, not an emptiness. Could you please say something about the difference between this fullness, and the emptiness or nothingness which you are speaking of?
Osho: Maitri, the fullness that you are experiencing …
.
When I close my eyes, I feel an enormous presence, a fullness. Could you please say something about the difference between this fullness and the emptiness or nothingness which you are speaking of?
Osho: Maitri The fullness that you are experiencing …
Beyond Enlightenment #13, q.2
Beloved Bhagwan,
As you were talking about Indian and Western sannyasins, I felt what you were saying is true -- sometimes the Indians are too much of the heart. It is hard to say no to them, yet you cannot say yes to their expectations and theories. They are deaf.
Will you please explain why this is so?
.
When you were talking about Indian and Western sannyasins, I felt what you were saying was true -- sometimes the Indians are too much of the heart. It is hard to say no to them, yet you cannot say yes to their expectations and theories. Why is this?
Beyond Enlightenment #14, q.1
Beloved Bhagwan,
You heard my prayer and called me to you on the 8th of August.
As I entered your room, i experienced you as a large ocean, an emptiness that I have never experienced before. I saw your beautiful being, and I was immersed in that emptiness and beauty. I felt that the ocean's emptiness was flowing into me from you.
After that day, new songs and melodies are coming from that emptiness of yours, and I don't know anything.
Beloved Bhagwan, please explain how this can happen so easily in the master's presence. Is it so simple? It doesn't feel possible for me to exist in this life without having had that meeting -- is that so? :I feel that such a feeling might not have otherwise happened to me for many lives.
Please explain the meeting of the master and the disciple.
Osho: Ashok Bharti, the most obvious in life seems to be the most difficult; ...
.
When I met you, I experienced you as a large ocean, an emptiness, that I had never experienced before. After that day, new songs and melodies are coming from that emptiness of yours, and I don't know anything.





Please explain the meeting of the master and the disciple.
Osho: Ashok Bharti, The most obvious in life seems to be the most difficult; …
Beyond Enlightenment #14, q.2
Beloved Bhagwan,
I wonder whether as your disciple I can be utterly selfish, to find my way to enlightenment whatever I am doing. Or do I have to fulfill a certain function for you to spread your vision?
.
As your disciple, can I be utterly selfish? Or do I have to fulfill a certain function for you, to spread your vision?
Beyond Enlightenment #14, q.3
Beloved Bhagwan,
These days here with you are certainly the most beautiful. Doing nothing, so much time to sit silently in the garden, in my room, and watch the trees dancing in the wind, sparkling in the sun... So much beauty.
My mind is finally getting used to the idea of being turned off. I am so peaceful, so happy. Now, today, again going inside on this path of silence, with thoughts drifting away and emptiness surrounding me, I am aware of a tension inside me as if i am holding on to something.
My beloved master, what am I holding on to, and how do I let go?
.
Being here, I have been so peaceful, so happy. But today, when going inside on this path of silence, I was aware of a tension inside me.


What am I holding on to, and how do I let go?
Beyond Enlightenment #14, q.4
Beloved Bhagwan,
I seem to be so unconscious so much of the time, so very unaware and just simply involved in life and loving living it.
When you speak about the totality and intensity of the search, and how nothing else really matters, and how important it is to let nothing become a distraction, I fear I will never manage it.
In my heart I feel nothing else does matter, yet I am not living in this awareness all the time and in every situation.
Would it be good for me to try to bring this awareness to each and every moment, even if it requires intense effort? If you feel this is good for me, I will try it even though i am afraid I may lose some of the fun and spontaneity and ease of just living, and even though I don't know if I can manage it.
.




Should I try to be aware all the time, even if it means losing some of the ease of just living?
Beyond Enlightenment #19, q.1
Beloved Bhagwan,
I am a two-year-old child in sannyas at the age of sixty!
I consider myself blessed to have come into the fold of your grace.
Was this destined to be so? Then why was it so late in life? Can the child in me become mature in what remains of my life? How? Kindly help.
Osho: Anand Yeshwant, the question you have asked has many implications. …
.
I am a two-year-old child in sannyas at the age of sixty.


How can the child in me become mature, in what remains of my life?
Osho: Anand Yeshwant, The question you have asked has many implications. …


In Hindi audios we see another phenomenon. The Hindi audios at osho.com are of relatively good quality (compared to the audio available at OshoWorld), the audio has probably been cleaned up. But it seems that also silence has been cut out from between Osho's words. For example in the series Sadhana Sutra and Samadhi Ke Sapt Dwar, in 17 discourses each, we see that the parts that the osho.com version and the OshoWorld version have in common there are many small parts cut out, so the audio at osho.com is between 14 seconds and 5 minutes shorter.

We do not know if also words have been cut out, this should be researched by a Hindi speaker.

Video

Information to be added.


see also
Respect Osho’s Words (Osho News)