From Bhagwan to Osho: Prequel to Osho's name change
This page features material that predates related material presented elsewhere. Since it does not fit well in the flow there, though deeply related, it appears here, as a "prequel".
That other page, From Bhagwan to Osho: The story, features a series of quotes from Osho's discourses of Dec 1988 to Feb 1989 relating to the changes his name was going through, the major part of that detailing the many times he comments on the use of the word "Osho" in Japanese Zen. As these comments came in such a concentrated way, all in a period of less than three weeks, and shortly before his adoption of "Osho" as his name, it seems obvious and natural to conclude that he was suggesting that his people call him that. Indeed, another article, From Bhagwan to Osho: What's in a name?, asserts just that, though the existence of a widely believed competing theory about the origin of Osho's name requires that article to devote the bulk of its bytespace to debunking that.
As it happens, there are a number of occasions prior to that name-change period when Osho comments on "Osho" and its usage. The first is in Jun 1988, over six months before he begins the process of dropping "Bhagwan" and moving to "Osho." Six additional comments and mentions have been found before Dec 1988. It is believed that these are all there are. There are no others in Osho's "Zen period" from Apr 22 1988 to Apr 10 1989.
In what follows below, all framed material is from Osho's books, with sutras / anecdotes in ALL-CAPS, and Osho's comments in ordinary type.
- 1 From This. This. A Thousand Times This, ch 11, 6 Jun 1988
- 2 From Zen: The Diamond Thunderbolt, ch 2, 13 Jul 1988
- 3 From Zen: The Diamond Thunderbolt, ch 3, 14 Jul 1988
- 4 From Hyakujo: The Everest of Zen, ch 9, 4 Oct 1988
- 5 From Joshu: The Lion's Roar, ch 6, 20 Oct 1988
- 6 From Rinzai: Master of the Irrational, ch 7, 30 Oct 1988
- 7 From Isan: No Footprints in the Blue Sky, ch 1, 1 Nov 1988
From This. This. A Thousand Times This, ch 11, 6 Jun 1988
This first (known) usage is unusual in that a master is addressing a seeker in this respectful fashion. This of course is an essential part of the device in the anecdote, whereby the master really catches the seeker's attention, which has remained impervious even to Ukyu's allowing the seeker to beat him.
From Zen: The Diamond Thunderbolt, ch 2, 13 Jul 1988
(Context: before Tokusan became a great master in his own right, he came to Isan's temple as a seeker.)
From Zen: The Diamond Thunderbolt, ch 3, 14 Jul 1988
- Then, in the guided Let-Go meditation at the end of the discourse, this word "Osho" comes twice again, once when addressing everyone and once when Osho calls to drummer Nivedano to punctuate the stages of the meditation. And for good measure, the word "oceanic" also makes a miraculous appearance. (See Comments below for the significance of these unique occurrences and more.)
There are a number of features in this discourse, instances of Osho using the word "Osho" which stand out compared to his usage on other occasions. Yes, one "shouldn't" compare, but ...
- On this occasion more than any other, Osho seems to be explicitly inviting his people to call him Osho. He says, "It is in essence so respectful that only a disciple calls a master 'Osho'". This has to be considered more explicit than the hints he was dropping during Jan-Feb 1989, but of course here he still has a name, so who is going to make anything out of it at this point?
- This occasion is also the only one with any "Osho" appearing in the Let-Go part after the discoursing and jokes, and in a free-floating, free-associating way, not connected with any "sensible" expounding on what it is or how it is used.
- In fact, "Osho" appears twice in the Let-Go portion, the second time while addressing drummer Nivedano. Nivedano claims that, having heard Osho describe the use of "Osho" in Zen the previous night, he began addressing Osho as Osho in letters the very next morning, and that Osho is responding to him here.
- It is also, as mentioned above, remarkable for its use of the word "oceanic", in proximity to "Osho". In fact, in all of Osho's talks, as determined by the CD-ROM, this talk at the end, not even a discourse per se, is the only occasion when the two words come near each other. But there is virtually no conceptual content connecting them, so there cannot be said to be any "explanation" happening. Even to infer some kind of relationship beyond sounding alike would be to stretch a point too far. Thus, advocates of the William James Version (WJV, the alternate "explanation" for Osho's name), will find little comfort in this proximity. For a full consideration of the WJV, see From Bhagwan to Osho: What's in a name?.
- Of all the discourses in which Osho comments on the significance of "Osho", this is the one cited by Ma Deva Sarito in her Rajneesh Times editorial of Apr 1 1989 reporting the meeting in Buddha Hall on Feb 27 when sannyasins collectively "decided to call Him 'Osho Rajneesh'."
From Hyakujo: The Everest of Zen, ch 9, 4 Oct 1988
From Joshu: The Lion's Roar, ch 6, 20 Oct 1988
From Rinzai: Master of the Irrational, ch 7, 30 Oct 1988
In this strange anecdote, Rinzai goes to another monastery and appears to be disrespectful to the teacher there. But even in that context, Osho indicates that his use of "Osho" shows a respect which overshadows the outward appearances:
From Isan: No Footprints in the Blue Sky, ch 1, 1 Nov 1988
This is an unusual instance, with Osho illustrating the meaning of "Osho" by using it, as if already understood, to "explain" the meaning of "Hazrat" in a story about a Muslim relic being desecrated. It is a single occurrence, with little bearing on the use in Zen or Osho's name, so no need for details.
- see also