From Bhagwan to Osho: The story

From The Sannyas Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The story / trajectory of Osho's name changes presented on the Osho's names page is a bare-bones one. This page covers in detail the period from Dec 1988 to Oct 1989, from Bhagwan to Osho, along with the dropping of Rajneesh. It is based largely on his words.

The wording of the quotations below is that heard on audio, which is the same as the words printed in the books and on the CD-ROM, except where stated otherwise. A detailed list of dates, publications and the names used is shown in From Bhagwan to Osho : Publications table.

Some conclusions that arise from this study are discussed on From Bhagwan to Osho: What's in a name?.

Dropping "Bhagwan"

No Mind: The Flowers of Eternity ch 1, Dec 26 1988: Osho comes back to speak after an absence of twenty days. He speaks of visions received by Sw Govind Siddharth and Katue Ishida, a Buddhist / Shinto seeress in Japan, that Gautam Buddha has come to inhabit his body. He speaks of how he detests the name Bhagwan, and now is the time to drop it.

He says, "Gautam Buddha's prophecy was: 'My name after twenty-five centuries, if I can find a vehicle, will be Maitreya Gautam Buddha'. Maitreya means the friend. [...] I am your Beloved Friend. You can call me 'Beloved Buddha'."

No Mind ch 2, Dec 27 1988: Osho says, "I have accepted Gautam Buddha's soul as a guest, reminding him that I am a non-compromising person, and if any argument arises between us, 'I am the host and you are the guest -- you can pack your suitcases!'"

No Mind ch 3, Dec 28 1988: Osho reports that Anando is having difficulty to remember not to call him Bhagwan, so he suggests, "Buddha was called by his lovers 'Bhante' -- which is far more refined, of greater implications. 'Bhante' means a friend who has gone far ahead -- you are also on the path, but somebody is ahead of you. So just to help you drop that old ugly word 'Bhagwan', I suggest you use the word 'Bhante', at least for the transitory period".

No Mind ch 5, Dec 30 1988: Osho announces that Gautam Buddha was too accustomed to his ascetic routine and became demanding regarding Osho's perceived luxuries: jacuzzi, pillows, food, etc, so he has told him, "You just disappear in the ultimate blue sky". He adds, "It will be a great difficulty for poor Anando, because now I declare that my name should be Shree Rajneesh Zorba the Buddha". He apologises to Katue Ishida.

No Mind ch 10, Jan 4 1989: Up to now, Maneesha has been addressing Osho as "Beloved Buddha". Osho asks her to make it "Zorba the Buddha", to remind everyone that he is "disconnected from every organized religion" and to emphasize the unity between the outer and inner worlds.

No Mind ch 12, Jan 7 1989: About "Zorba the Buddha", that is his philosophy but "I would like my editors not to put it behind my name. I don't want to irritate ignorant, blind, unintelligent people [...] 'Shree Rajneesh' is enough to indicate towards me. As far as you are concerned, you can address me as 'My Beloved Master' [...] Hence, I will be simply my own name. I hope nobody objects to it. Otherwise, I can manage without a name".

This completes the dropping of "Bhagwan".

The Dawning of "Osho"

Zen: The Mystery and the Poetry of the Beyond ch 1, Jan 8 1989: Maneesha addresses him as "Our Beloved Master", on behalf of all in attendance, continuing that until the final change to "Osho". Hints of that change coming begin to appear, not in this book, nor the next, but starting in the one after that, Yakusan: Straight to the Point of Enlightenment. They come in the form of the sutras / Zen anecdotes which Maneesha reads and which Osho comments on. These are presented in some detail and at length, since, taken as a group, the pattern is compelling. In the not-very-long period presented here, less than three weeks, Osho speaks many times on the meaning of "Osho".

In what follows below, all framed material is from Osho's books, with sutras / anecdotes and other source material in ALL-CAPS, and Osho's comments in ordinary type.

Yakusan ch 5, Jan 21 1989:

OUR BELOVED MASTER,
ONCE, YAKUSAN ASKED HIS DISCIPLE, UNGAN, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"
UNGAN SAID, "I AM CARRYING WATER."
YAKUSAN ASKED, "WHAT ABOUT THAT FELLOW?"
"That fellow" always refers to the innermost buddha. No name is used, just an indication:
"WHAT ABOUT THAT FELLOW?"
You are carrying water, that's okay, but what about that fellow? What is he doing?
UNGAN REPLIED, "HE IS HERE."
He is always here. He knows no other place, no other time. He is always here, and always now.
YAKUSAN THEN ASKED, "FOR WHOM ARE YOU WORKING?"
UNGAN REPLIED, "I AM BUSY ON BEHALF OF THAT FELLOW."
That fellow is again the buddha hidden inside your being, your spirituality, your eternal being, your cosmic existence.
YAKUSAN ASKED, "WHY DON'T YOU LET THAT FELLOW WORK WITH YOU?"
UNGAN SAID, "OSHO ..."
Osho is really a great word of deep gratitude, love and honor. So much is implied that it cannot be translated by "reverend"; that reverend looks so ugly and Christian. Osho is very close and intimate, a very loving address, full of honor and gratitude.
"OSHO, DON'T MAKE A FOOL OF HIM!"
He is my innermost being. I would not allow him to carry water. I can do that. He is thirsty, and he is purely a presence. A presence cannot work directly upon matter, I have to be the mediator. I am between him and the world. If he wants anything I have to do it, he cannot come directly into contact with matter. He is pure space, unbounded. It is sheer joy for me to work for him. I am working for him, but OSHO, DON'T MAKE A FOOL OF HIM. Don't ask such questions. You know perfectly well that all I am doing is for him! My whole body is dedicated to him.
This is dedication. This is surrender.

Osho goes on to explain that Ungan is also enlightened, and in this exchange, both are just chitchatting, having fun. But Ungan, the disciple, is still addressing Yakusan with this loving, honoring, grateful term. This is a fine introduction to the word.

Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen: The Antidote to All Poisons ch 3, Jan 24 1989: This, Osho's next book, continues the elucidation of and pointing toward "Osho", with anecdotes of Yakusan and Ungan supplemented by appearances by Hyakujo and Dogo:

OUR BELOVED MASTER,
YAKUSAN TALKED WITH MEIKEI OSHO AND LATER TOLD UNGAN: "MEIKEI WAS ONCE A GOVERNMENT SUPERINTENDENT IN HIS PAST LIFE."
UNGAN ASKED, "OSHO" -- Osho is a word of honor, of tremendous honor, of infinite honor -- "OSHO, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE IN YOUR PAST LIVES?"
If you can see other people's past lives that you say Meikei was once a government superintendent in his past life ... I want to know, Ungan says, "When you can see other people's past lives, you must be seeing your own past lives.
"OSHO, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE IN YOUR PAST LIVES?"
YAKUSAN REPLIED, "BEING AFRAID AND SHAKY, WITH HUNDREDS OF UGLINESSES AND THOUSANDS OF CLUMSINESSES, I SOMEHOW HAVE MANAGED TO LIVE LIVES."
So true, so truthful -- this is what comes out of meditation.

Osho goes on to observe how most people, when they talk of their past lives, have gloriously impressive lives totally out of synch with their current drab and oppressive conditions, just the opposite of Yakusan. Meanwhile, "Osho". Again the hint, "Osho is a word of honor, of tremendous honor, of infinite honor". Like, you're looking for a name for me, what else do you need to hear?

"Meikei Osho" above is not commented on by Osho here, nor, interestingly, is it findable by the CD-ROM, likely because it is part of the sutra appearing before Osho's comments. There are a few other similar instances.

Christianity ch 6, Jan 27 1989: Osho speaks of Ungan having been with Hyakujo for many years prior to going to Yakusan. His older brother Dogo was with Yakusan and invited him to come. Ungan asked Hyakujo, who of course gave him his blessings and a letter to take to Yakusan.

OUR BELOVED MASTER,
ONCE, WHEN UNGAN WAS IN YAKUSAN'S PRESENCE, THE MASTER SAID TO HIM, "WHAT DOES HYAKUJO OSHO USUALLY TEACH?"
He does not know anything about Hyakujo, but still a great respect: "Osho." Hyakujo, that great man, that great master, "What does he teach?" He has become "Osho" because he has allowed Ungan to go, without any interference: "There is no need. I am an enlightened master, where are you going?" No, Hyakujo simply said, "It is perfectly good. You go. Be as rich as possible. Learn from as many masters as possible. It is a question of truth, not of belonging to me. You are not my possession. I love you, I want you to grow higher than me, I want you to be richer than I am. Take every opportunity -- never miss it."
This statement and the letter made Yakusan call Hyakujo "Osho." The man is certainly great.

Christianity ch 7, Jan 28 1989, another small mention, with Dogo addressing Yakusan as "Osho", with, Osho notes, "deep love and gratitude".

Communism & Zen Fire, Zen Wind ch 1, Jan 30 1989: Hints about "Osho" continue. Also by the bye, Katue Ishida is by now in Pune, listening to Osho. He addresses / mentions her in this discourse, saying he will make her his ambassador to Japan. (There is a picture of her in No Mind hard copy, for those interested. And that book is dedicated to her.)

OUR BELOVED MASTER,
YAKUSAN ASKED A MONK, "WHERE DO YOU COME FROM?"
"FROM NANSEN..."
Nansen was one of the great masters of Zen. The monk's reply is that he is coming from Nansen, and Yakusan immediately asks,
"HOW LONG WERE YOU THERE?"
"FROM LAST WINTER TO SUMMER," REPLIED THE MONK.
"THEN YOU MUST HAVE BECOME A GOOD OX," COMMENTED YAKUSAN.

Osho talks at some length about the ten Ox-Herding pictures of Zen (sometimes called the Ten Bulls of Zen), especially the much-misunderstood tenth picture, wherein the one who has realized returns drunk (with the divine) to the marketplace, with a wine bottle in his hand.

So when Yakusan said, "THEN YOU MUST HAVE BECOME A GOOD OX," the monk said:
"THE THING IS, I WAS THERE, BUT I DID NOT EVEN GO TO THE DINING HALL."
"BUT YOU CANNOT GET BY JUST THROUGH BREATHING THE WIND!" YAKUSAN COMMENTED.
"IT WAS NOT THAT BAD, OSHO..."
Osho is a very beautiful word. It should be added to every language. Just the sound is beautiful in the first place: Osho. It shows respect, it shows love, it shows gratitude. It is not just a dry word like "Reverend." It is a very loving and friendly word, almost having the sense of "The Beloved."
The man said, "IT WAS NOT THAT BAD, OSHO." -- Yakusan was also a great master -- "THERE IS SURELY A MAN WHO WILL HOLD A SPOON FOR ME."

God Is Dead, Now Zen Is the Only Living Truth ch 1, Feb 6 1989: In this new book we meet some different masters and disciples. Again, the term of address is "Osho". Sekito has been sent by his dying master Eno to complete his journey with Seigen, a "competitor" master. When Sekito and Seigen meet, they spar in the Zen way but a mutual respect is immediately there. Finishing a complex and fast-paced exchange:

He has changed his statement completely. First he said he came from Sokei. That was just a superficial answer to the question, "Where do you come from?" Now things are getting deeper.
SEKITO SAID, "I DON'T COME FROM SOKEI."
He means that he comes from eternity. Sokei was just one of the stops on the way; he does not come from Sokei, he comes from eternity. There have been many stops; Sokei was one of the stops.
SEIGEN RESPONDED, "ALL RIGHT -- NOW I KNOW WHERE YOU COME FROM."
SEKITO SAID, "OSHO, YOU ARE A GREAT ONE -- DO NOT WASTE TIME."
He was saying that you are wasting time unnecessarily in checking to see whether I am of any worth or not, but, before you accept me as a disciple, I have accepted you as a master. That's why he has suddenly started calling him Osho. He is saying whether you accept me as a disciple or not, that does not matter. I have accepted you as my master. "OSHO, YOU ARE A GREAT ONE -- DO NOT WASTE TIME." Let us begin the real work.

God Is Dead ch 2, Feb 7 1989: Wherein we are introduced to Nangaku, who lived in another mountain monastery nearby. Seigen refers to him as Nangaku Osho and asks Sekito to deliver a letter to him:

SEKITO SAID, "CERTAINLY."
SEIGEN SAID, "GO NOW, AND COME BACK QUICKLY. IF YOU COME BACK EVEN A LITTLE LATE, YOU WILL MISS ME. IF YOU MISS ME, YOU CANNOT GET THE BIG HATCHET UNDER MY CHAIR."
SOON SEKITO REACHED NANGAKU. BEFORE HANDING OVER THE LETTER, SEKITO MADE A BOW AND ASKED, "OSHO, WHEN ONE NEITHER FOLLOWS THE OLD SAINTS NOR EXPRESSES ONE'S INNERMOST SOUL, WHAT WILL ONE DO?"
His question is very important. He is saying -- with absolute respect -- he is saying,
"OSHO, WHEN ONE NEITHER FOLLOWS THE OLD SAINTS NOR EXPRESSES ONE'S INNERMOST SOUL, WHAT WILL ONE DO?"
NANGAKU SAID, "YOUR QUESTION IS TOO ARROGANT.
Nobody asks such a question immediately. You entered into my temple and you started asking me questions. First, you need initiation. First, you have to be a disciple. I am not here to waste my time on anybody who passes by and asks any type of question. This is arrogance."
It was not arrogance, but that was part of the strategy of Seigen. Nangaku was a very different kind of master.
NANGAKU SAID, "YOUR QUESTION IS TOO ARROGANT. WHY DON'T YOU ASK MODESTLY?" TO WHICH SEKITO REPLIED, "THEN IT WOULD BE BETTER TO SINK INTO HELL ETERNALLY AND NOT EVER HOPE FOR THE LIBERATION THAT THE OLD SAINTS KNOW."
"If you call my question arrogant, then I would rather suffer eternally in hell than ask you any question modestly."
No question is ever modest. Every question has to be, in a certain way, arrogant. When you are questioning, you are showing doubt, you are interfering in the silence of the master. Obviously, every question is arrogant, no question can be modest. Only silence is modest. But that is not a question, that is the answer.
But Sekito was really a man with a spine, with guts. He said, "Forget all about the question. I will not ask the question modestly, because no question can be asked modestly. The very question is arrogant. Any question is a doubt. Any question is interfering in the energy field of the master.
"Only silence can be modest. But then I don't have to come to you. I can be silent anywhere. I can be silent even in the eternal fire of hell."
Sekito is really a man of great intelligence and great courage. Nangaku could not put him down. He was sent specially to Nangaku who was known to be very hard. And Seigen wanted to know about Sekito's response, what response he would make to Nangaku.
And he really made the right response. He said, "Forget all about the question. I would rather fall into hell eternally than ask you a question with modesty. No question is modest, howsoever put. And I have asked it very respectfully. I have called you 'Osho, my beloved master', and you call my question arrogant. Rather than answering it you are insulting me.
"No master insults his disciples, and I am not even a disciple. I am just a stranger, and you are not being nice to me. I am just a guest. You should welcome me. Rather than welcoming me, you are humiliating me. I am not going to ask any question."
SEKITO, FINDING THAT HE AND NANGAKU WERE NOT ATTUNED TO EACH OTHER, SOON LEFT FOR SEIGEN WITHOUT GIVING NANGAKU THE LETTER.

God Is Dead ch 3, Feb 8 1989: Osho brings "Osho" into the herenow by referring to his video cameraman and Sekito surrogate, Niskriya, as "Stonehead Osho", just what Sekito was called when he became a master.

There are several other instances of the use of "Osho" in this period. The instances detailed above have been deemed the most significant. Interestingly, he is not known to have commented on "Osho" after this period, and not much before. As the previous instances may bear on this story in important ways, they are covered in another page, From Bhagwan to Osho: Prequel to Osho's name change.

Settling on "Osho" and Dropping "Rajneesh"

The story of the final steps to Osho's adopting this name is not to be found in his words but we have three sources for getting a handle on this story: a Rajneesh Times editorial dated Apr 1 1989, a press release from Sep 15 1989 and the "explanations" inserted in books. The content, flow and timing of those explanations are explored in depth at the "See also" links below.

The Rajneesh Times editorial appears in full at From Bhagwan to Osho: Publications table. In short, it explains that sannyasins talked about Osho's words above and got together on Feb 27, 1989 and "decided" to call him Osho Rajneesh. It is a simple story. The pages linked below attempt to explain how and why it got complicated.

The press release offers nothing in the way of explanation, just the facticity of a reasonably precise timing -- Sep 12-15, 1989 -- of the final dropping of "Rajneesh". It can be viewed here.

As far as the books are concerned, the first known appearance in books of the name Osho Rajneesh was in a Hindi book, Mera Swarnim Bharat (मेरा स्वर्णिम भारत), in Apr 1989. Interestingly, this was some two months before any such appearance in English books. It is "Osho Rajneesh" on the cover -- well, "ओशो रजनीश" -- and an explanation on an inside page in Hindi that aligns with Osho's Japanese Zen master explanation. These explanations appear in other books through the rest of 1989 in various places, flap text, colophon and inside pages, and the name remains as "Osho Rajneesh" until early 1990, when it is finally just Osho.

In fact, this "Osho Rajneesh" was likely never more than a transitional name for publishers and booksellers. They were given leave to use this name for a while, to acquaint readers with the change, then it was all "Osho". Even during that time though, "Osho Rajneesh" was not a name used by insiders, its purpose was to enable name recognition in the "outside world". Thus did "Rajneesh" fade into nothingness.

In Osho's talks, there is no more commentary about his name. "Osho" just appears without fanfare in The Zen Manifesto: Freedom from Oneself, his last series of discourses, in two ways: In the first two discourses, the salutation is as before, "Beloved Master". There is then a hiatus of about six weeks, as he is not well and doesn't come out to speak again until Apr 2 1989. For that discourse and all that follow, he is addressed as "Beloved Osho". This is all clear from the audio record.

In the book, for consistency one supposes, the salutation is rendered as "Beloved Osho" for the whole book. Thus it appears to change from one day to the next: On Feb 19, the last talk of I Celebrate Myself, Osho is still "Beloved Master" and on Feb 20, the first talk of Manifesto, he is "Beloved Osho". Just like that! Even before the Feb 27 meeting!

Because the name is introduced in this oblique way, without a clear directive from the master, the scene is set for a lovely constellation of devices, dynamics and dances that only come to full flowering after he retires from the body. The "See also" pages linked below are an attempt to track some of the details and trajectories which go into making that constellation what it is.



See also
Osho's names
From Bhagwan to Osho: The story
From Bhagwan to Osho: Prequel to Osho's name change
From Bhagwan to Osho: Publications table
From Bhagwan to Osho: What's in a name?
From Bhagwan to Osho: Website survey