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This page provides a basic description of what darshan was and how it functioned and evolved, especially in the "Golden Age" of such things, Pune One. Other pages serve as bulk information sources concerning darshan(s), links below.


Outside the orb of Osho's sannyas, the word "darshan" has considerable currency, with both religious and secular usage. In its simplest, most ordinary meaning, it is "vision", or "view". A very common usage has it meaning "philosophy"; in the 60s in fact, Osho was a professor in the "darshan vibhag", or "philosophy department" of Mahakoshal Arts University. And its most common usage is in the word "doordarshan", literally "far-vision", or as we know it more familiarly in English, "tele-vision", the prefix "tele" also literally meaning "far" or "distant", also as in telescope. The Indian gov't-owned TV network is called just that, Doordarshan. It doesn't get more secular than that.

In religious usage, it can refer to the vision or philosophy of the guru (teacher or master), but it more commonly means the occasion on which a seeker, supplicant or disciple approaches for a closer "view" of the guru. Perhaps the most appropriate English word for these occasions might be "audience", though that risks crossing the metaphorical barrier between "seeing" and "hearing" ...

The usage in Osho's sannyas is not far from this, especially in Pune One. Darshan was the time in the early evening when visitors and disciples could come close to him and ask questions or pay their respects or take sannyas. Osho was available to the public with his morning discourses, but in a more physically distant way. The evening sessions met a need for a closer contact and also provided a formal situation for initiation, for Osho and the sannyasin-to-be to meet and "agree" to play the "MAD (master and disciple) game", as he once put it.


The form(s) taken by what Osho calls darshan changed over time. The arrangements under which people could talk directly with Osho were fairly informal in Mumbai, though they became increasingly regulated as more and more people came. In Pune One at first for a short while there were again very few people and not much structure. But with new people coming and needing to talk and take sannyas, it wouldn't have been long before some structure came into being.

One event which was very likely a milestone along the way was the switch in Osho's discourses from the Mumbai pattern of evenings to mornings. Neeten has studied this change and pinpointed Jun 11 1974 as the day, with a fairly high degree of confidence. (More on this at Talk:Osho Timeline 1974.) This big change, if not actually caused by the need for a regular time set aside for darshans, would certainly have made that possibility available.

Details concerning the form of darshan in those early days of Pune One are not much available, but we can perhaps extrapolate backward from the next known milestone, which was the beginning of documenting these things, in Dec 1975, in "Darshan Diaries". These books contain every word Osho says to the disciples and visitors who come with questions, to take sannyas and other things.

The CD-ROM has all of Osho's words from these books, save a few "Mmmm"s and "Very good"s. Some of the words spoken TO him are there as well, with the rest condensed or paraphrased. But the hard-copy Darshan Diaries contain a lot of other material that is not found in the CD-ROM. There are interviews and notes from the editor about events and changes in the ashram in general and in darshan.

For example, the first three Darshan Diaries have a tremendous amount of information about the launch of Groups in the ashram. At the same time as the darshan sessions are first being documented, the introduction of Western-style "therapy group" processes happens, reflecting an enormous expansion in Osho's "work". And as part of their group experience, group participants and their leaders come to darshan and share about how it went. This was basically a new feature of darshan coinciding with the documentation.


So, the broad "big picture" of darshan(s) from about Dec 1975 to Feb 1979 was of darshans held every evening in Chuang Tzu Auditorium**. Attendees would have recently showered -- using unscented soap and shampoo so as not to assault Osho with smells, some of which he was allergic to, such as perfumes -- and would arrive shortly before 7pm. They would pass between two "sniffers" trained to "sniff out" potential problems, who had the authority to reject anyone with an offensive smell. Those with minor offensive smells might be allowed to enter after putting on a head scarf. (This happened for example to Alan Whicker, a British broadcaster who filmed a darshan and included it and some ashram interviews in an episode of his travel-documentary TV series "Whicker's World".)

Attendees would have all been by appointment and would include those taking sannyas, those arriving from out of town or leaving for an extended period, group participants, plus ashram workers and residents either there on a regular rotation or those with problems to be addressed. This last lot had more prominence earlier in the three+ years of this "big picture" and less later, as there were simply more people coming to take sannyas and arriving and leaving, who took precedence over mere problems. Also included, again more in the earlier part of this time-frame, were occasional demonstrations or performances by various musicians, dancers and the like. Similarly, the active participation in darshan of group members, far more in the earlier years, became passive in the later ones.

For the people taking sannyas, Osho would touch their third eye after they came close, put a mala with his picture in a locket around their neck and then write their new name on a sheet of paper handed him by Mukta. Then he would speak about the meaning and significance of their new name, sometimes at length, sometimes answering questions. New sannyasins would usually be assigned a few groups to participate in, as would those returning after a long absence, and a few resident/workers with their problems.

For those leaving for a long absence, Osho would give them a small wooden box with a piece of a hair from his beard, and touch them on the forehead for a blessing. This form of "leaving darshan" was given mostly to western sannyasins leaving. Indian sannyasins leaving were mostly given a different form called Charan Sparsh, literally "touching feet", closely related to a traditional form of honouring one's elders and gurus practiced all over India in Hindu, Jain and possibly Sikh households. And as in the traditional form, Osho would respond to this gesture of respect and surrender by placing his hand on their head or touching their forehead for a blessing.

energy darshan

These forms in darshan continued past Feb of '79 but were somewhat compacted, not only to deal with increasing numbers but to make way for something new and big that came along at that time, "energy darshan". This would happen after all the "regular" darshans were finished and soon became a major event that took over the whole ashram. When energy darshan started, around 8pm every night, all other activities would stop, all lights would be turned off, and wherever they were, people would go inside themselves for about 45 minutes.

Inside Chuang Tzu Auditorium, energy darshan was an energy blowout, with several people "receiving" at once, multiple "mediums" channeling Osho's energy to them, in effect multiplying it, many musicians playing fast, loud and chaotically, the "audience", ie the rest of the people in darshan that night waving and swaying in tune and Osho at the center of it all, sudden stops and then beginning again with new people "receiving" -- in truth, everyone received something -- after "lifters" would haul or carry those who couldn't manage to get back to their places. See the Energy Darshans page for lots more, plus lots of pictures.

silent period

Nothing lasts forever, and in Mar 1981, darshan underwent a radical shift, along with everything else in sannyas life, when Osho entered a period of silence. This period began "innocently" enough with the discovery of chicken pox among a few sannyasins and by then totally routine quarantining of Osho to protect him from getting it. Discourses and darshans were cancelled, but expected to resume as they always had after a few days. Only this time they did not.

Osho's period of silence is dated from Mar 24, but was not announced until Apr 10. On Apr 11, darshan resumed. Osho did not physically appear, so the event was radically altered. For the first time, other sannyasins were appointed to give sannyas on behalf of Osho. They were Sw Ananda Teertha and Sw Satya Vedant, initiating westerners and Indians respectively. Other activities happening previously in darshan either declined or were non-existent under this new dispensation.

And of course, other activities around Osho also changed radically, with the most radical change being his sudden departure to the US, though this is not the place for all that. See Silent period and The Ranch for more on those mega-events.

the ranch

Darshan did happen at the ranch, as did some of its previous functions, but taking new and different forms. Teertha and Vedant initiated new sannyasins, with eventually others taking that over. One new form of being in Osho's close presence took place daily, after lunch, when he would drive around very slowly on the main road of the Ranch in one of his 93 Rolls Royces and greet his lovers as they stood on the side of the road. This was called Drive-by.

What remained that was still called Darshan was a more traditional (in a way) but far less frequent mode, whereby he sat on a podium in silence in a large gathering with music playing during major scheduled "Celebrations", which happened four times a year. But these were nothing like the intimate gatherings of Pune One.

see also
Darshan Diaries, lists all the books in this category, indexing all the significant "extra material" in them
Energy Darshans, all about that extravaganza