Editing of sources

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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) and 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 while, 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.

Another intimate description of editing and Osho's communication is found in Krishna Prem's Osho, India and Me. Have a look at the quotes about From Sex to Superconsciousness, about The Long and the Short and the All and about The Perfect Way.

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.

Translations

There is an interview with Osho specifically about translating his words from Hindi to English. See Anant Ki Pukar ~ 08, Interview Three (questions 38-50).

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 and Video

Information about audio has been moved to Recording Osho's discourses on audio and video

Differences between audio and book

Here are various differences between audio/video-recordings and the text of first-edition books and/or the CD-ROM.

Audio recording Book / CD-ROM
The Sword and the Lotus ~ 17 q.5, end
The Sword and the Lotus #17, q.5, end
...
And you will be surprised that you are not your name, you are not your face, your body, you are not even your mind.
You are something universal, something eternal, something immortal,
you are part of this whole existence, of all its beauty, grandeur, blissfulness, its tremendous ecstasy.
Knowing oneself is all that religion means. Everything else is just ritual. Going to the church, going to the temple, chanting a mantra -- all these are absurd rituals.
Knowing yourself in deep silence is the only reality and the only authentic religion.
Okay?
...
And you will be surprised that you are not your name, you are not your face, your body, you are not even your mind.
.
You are part of this whole existence, of all its beauty, grandeur, blissfulness, its tremendous ecstasy.
Knowing oneself is all that religion means. Everything else is just ritual. Going to the church, going to the temple, chanting a mantra -- all these are absurd rituals.
Knowing yourself in deep silence is the only reality and the only authentic religion.
Okay?


see also
Respect Osho’s Words (Osho News)