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A survey of the amazing flow and function of groups in Osho's world,
a page in progress about a subject in progress

Groups have been an integral part of how Osho "works" with his people since they were first introduced in Pune One. Currently this page focuses on Pune One groups but will eventually feature info on groups in all eras. If you have some group info or stories to share, see discussion.

Pune One groups

Groups sprang into a stupendous, full-flowering existence in the Pune One Ashram. They did not end then of course, but they began then and for a good chunk of that time were the main financial support for the ashram, although they were very inexpensive compared to groups in the West. A unique aspect of the groups of that time was that they were one of the major ways Osho's guidance would manifest for "ordinary" seekers, ie those who weren't involved in ashram work or other "special" roles which might define their relationship with the master.

For many of the many people who wrote letters to Osho concerning any "problems" they were experiencing, his answer would come in the form of a suggestion to participate in certain groups. Then, for the period of those groups, situations, experiences and interactions would happen, containing the seeds of an insight into the problem. Osho also assigned groups to people coming to see him in the evening darshan, either taking sannyas, returning from the west, or coming to see him regarding a problem.

Another unique feature of groups in those days was getting to go to darshan: after every group was completed, the group would come en masse to darshan. Osho would ask the group leader(s) how the group went, they would say a few words, or possibly enter into their own process with him, as it was also an opportunity for them, and then, depending on how crowded the evening schedule was, some group members might ask individual questions.

Groups were of many types, and of course many could not be easily pigeonholed, with categories blurring and overlapping. Basic types were Meditation, Therapy, Play, Energy, Creativity and Bodywork. All were different angles to approach the quintessential seeker's question, "Who am I?"

For more about groups in general and their background and introduction, see below

Human Potential history

The highest-profile groups were the Therapy groups. Their methods derived from those of the developing "Human Potential" movement, whose cutting edge included sannyasins like Teertha and Somendra. They had come to Osho despite being leaders in their field, seeing that their approaches lacked an essential something that Osho was offering. These groups used the interpersonal dynamics that arose in their hothouse milieux to shine a light on unconscious patterns which might then, by being made conscious, be less binding on our self-image and -experience. Or something like that.

Sw Anand Vikrant has done years of research into the development of Humanistic Psychology and how it was influenced by Osho. He presents his findings in a remarkable four-part LoveOsho interview covering the development of therapy groups from the 60s to the present and Osho's group-leaders' part in it. Here follows a lightly edited transcript of an early part of that story:

The Human Potential movement started at the end of the 1950s, with Abraham Maslow, who had been influenced by Kurt Goldstein. Maslow was interested in studying normal people, because at that time we had mainly Freudian psychology, based on psychopathology. The whole theory of the human psyche developed by Freud was based on studying people who couldn't quite function socially. Maslow considered this a bit limiting and also the other important school of psychology, Behaviorism, he considered a bit shallow, just focused on trying to modify behavior, not trying to find out about the causes behind behavior.
So Maslow decided to study and see what were the ways people were motivated toward growth, he decided to study normal people, let's say normal neurotics, not people who had serious psychiatric pathology. And from there -- in the US originally, at the beginning of the 1960s -- people began to experiment and to wonder in which ways could we use let's say psychological technology not only to cure dysfunctional behavior but to use it as a way to explore human development, to explore human growth.
And from there, in 1962, the first growth center in the world appeared on the west coast of the US, the Esalen Institute. The Esalen Institute was the place where basically humanistic psychology moved from being a theoretical approach trying to understand the human psyche and human motivation to a practical way of exploring it. So things which are very common for us like group work or workshops or seminars didn't exist before. This was the first time in human history where people went to psychologists or to the psychological field not to cure their neurosis or their dysfunctional behavior but to explore what more was possible for me.
So people took off their ties, took off their shoes, got rid of their chairs, started to have cushions on the floor and to explore what all these theoretical people were talking about. Abraham Maslow, Aldous Huxley, Carl Rogers, Fritz Perls, Alexander Lowen, Will Schutz, [? unintelligible], all these people decided to create an experiential psychology and work not only with the intellect. They moved away from conversational therapy to an experiential therapy, and they even started to get rid of the word "therapy" because that had a connotation of something not working, and decided to call this "work", so people didn't talk about going to therapy, but to work on yourself. Fritz Perls, the creator of Gestalt therapy, coined the word "workshop" instead of "therapy group", trying to take the psychological work away from psychiatrists and from the mainstream medical model into a personal development model.
And this created an explosion, first in the US in the late 60s and early 70s, and then this was carried to Europe and to the second growth center in the world , which was Quaesitor Growth Center, which was started by Paul Lowe and Patricia Lowe, both of whom later became sannyasins -- and they were leading therapists in the Osho world, as Teertha and Poonam -- and then from Quaesitor it started to spread all over Europe, so we had the [Seed?] Zentrum in Germany, we had [Center?] in the Netherlands etc, etc.
So all these people were working with experiential psychology and working with the possibilities of expanding consciousness that didn't only mean to resolve your inner conflicts but also the possibilities of growth, of expanding your sensitivity, of working on your childhood issues, working on how you relate to other people and working with the body and working with the emotions. And what happened to them is that they started to see let's say the ceiling of this approach: they had worked on their bodies, they had worked on their childhood, they had worked on their sexuality and their unresolved traumas, and they learned to be more honest, spontaneous, relate to each other, and then what else was possible?
And then they turned to the writings from the East. They turned to Advaita Vedanta, to Hinduism, to Buddhism, looking for what more was possible in the realm of consciousness. And in that search, some people joined sects like the Hare Krishnas or some people turned into Hindus or Buddhists but some people also were looking for a living master. And then, Richard Alpert, Ram Das, the author of Be Here Now, was the first Western psychologist who came back to the US with a new name. He had met his master in the Himalayas, Neem Karoli Baba, and this was a huge inspiration for a lot of people to travel East to find a living master.
Around that time there was a book going around in London called The Dynamics of Meditation, a book authored by Osho, taken from one of his talks. Many of the people who were involved in the growth centers in London, in Quaesitor, in Community -- Michael Barnett, Paul Lowe, Alan Lowen, who later became Somendra, Teertha and Rajen -- were interested, and this was a book that was read around this circle, so these guys decided to travel East and check this guy out. And they got there and they were stunned. When Paul Lowe or Michael Barnett got for the first time to be with Osho, they couldn't believe what they were seeing, you know, there was this guy that was way beyond all these people that they knew, way beyond Perls, way beyond Carl Rogers, way beyond Will Schutz, the creator of Encounter groups, and they decided to stay.
So that's how this happened. This was in Mumbai, in the early days before Pune, so they went there and they found what they had been looking for. And this is one important point I think, they were most appealed to by Dynamic Meditation, because this was the only technique which didn't somehow teach repression or to sit on your own neurosis. In that, it was very much in tune with the Humanistic Psychology movement, with the Human Potential movement, which was first, if you want to find inner peace, you need to face your own neurosis, you need to go through your own turmoil and throw it out.

Focusing here on the therapy groups is not meant to detract from the quality of the others, but it was the cachet of the therapy groups which led in short order to Shree Rajneesh Ashram's fairly legitimate claim of being the largest spiritual growth center in the world. That claim has persisted to this day, though the processes offered have become less cutting-edge, quality may have deteriorated and prices have skyrocketed to the point of making it less attractive in that regard.

Groups background / introduction

Hammer on the Rock

Maneesha has written about the introduction of groups in the Darshan Diary Hammer on the Rock (ch 7). Her writing on this flows into Osho's words to the leaders of a new group about to be launched. His message is fairly universal in that it can be seen to apply to all the groups that will be coming soon to the rapidly growing ashram, so that too is reproduced here:

In August of this year [1975], Bhagwan Shree said that he envisaged that one day we would have here something like a university where all types of therapies -- Encounter Groups, Primal Therapy, Enlightenment Intensives, massage, Arica Training, Unconditional Acceptance Seminars -- along with Aikido, Tai Chi, Karate and Acupuncture, would be available.
He said that people should be prepared to stay for at least three months, in which time they could experience as many groups as considered necessary for their growth. All existing therapies from the West, combined with those of the East, would be available. So if one could not be helped here, one could not be helped anywhere.
In September, therapies -- Primal Therapy being the first -- were introduced to the ashram. At the time of writing, ten different kinds of groups and courses are underway. All groups are led by sannyasins who have had extensive experience in their particular field. Bhagwan said that leaders could, in time, become masters in their own right and world-renowned, with people coming here specially to be helped by them.
The therapies, plus the meditations and the presence of Bhagwan, both invisible and materialised, provide a unique, an absolutely unique, experience for seekers. Bhagwan said that with his presence, groups here would be a different experience for both the leaders and the led. It is certainly so -- sannyasins who have done groups both in the West and here say that they feel in more of a let-go knowing that Bhagwan is here. They also felt the therapist to be simply a channel for Bhagwan's energy. Some said they had never experienced Bhagwan so strongly as when in the group. Others commented that what had happened for them in the group became just part of an ongoing process, as they continued to interact and move with the same people. Many people mentioned that they felt, part of a family, a community, since doing groups here.
Continuing regular meditations while taking part in various groups helped to intensify whatever was happening and to bring up material that had not come out through group work. It also allowed the process to continue further, as the energy was kept moving.
When camps are not in progress, groups are operating in the ashram and subsequently the energy level is kept very high. This creates a very dynamic atmosphere and gives one a feeling of vitality and movement.
Not only that, but to see the participants of the various groups before, during and after their courses, is tremendously exciting: seeing bodies actually transformed -- shoulders straightened, faces cleared, pseudo smiles replaced by genuine responses, energy really flowing. There are real tangible changes that make one aware that we are part of a birth process here with Bhagwan.

There follow two paragraphs of comments on Arica and its group-leaders-to-be, then Osho's words to them about leading groups in general:

There are just two or three things I would like to say before you start your work.
One is: bring more love into it. The techniques are beautiful, but love is lacking. Whenever you just become technique-oriented, then by and by you forget that love is the greatest technique. All else is secondary -- can be helpful, but cannot replace love.
So don't be just technical, otherwise you will help a little but not enough, and you will not be able to help to the very end. Sooner or later a technique comes to an end, but love never does. Each technique should become a vehicle of love, so that when the technique ends, love takes over. And one never comes to the point where one can say that now the journey is finished and there is nothing left.
When you work on people, don't work on them as if they are means. Each individual is an end. The technique exists for the individual -- the sabbath is for man, not man for the sabbath. Always remember this, because the mind tends to forget. It is very technical and does not believe in love.
So help people, but remain alert to give them as much care and love as possible. You will see that the same methods used in the West -- which work up to a certain limit and then stop -- don't stop anywhere; they go on and on. So make it a very loving process. You follow me?
And the second thing: always start with a prayer and always end with a prayer. In the beginning you pray with the idea of asking for help. In the end it is a thank you. Always ask for divine help, because man is helpless; and if you remember this, you will never condemn one who fails. Whenever you work with techniques, the fallacy is possible that you start thinking that man is enough. You forget God, you forget the Whole.
In Yoga they simply dropped the concept of God. Only once in Patanjali's sutras is God mentioned -- and that too as a technique: that if you surrender to God -- not that God exists, no; He is just an excuse for surrender -- it will be helpful. Yoga is completely godless. The word yoga means technique, and technique always feels that man is sufficient unto himself and that there is no need to ask for help from beyond.
So make it a point that you start with a prayer together, the teacher and the taught both. The teacher should never feel that he is special. He should always feel that both are part of an ongoing process of growth; that he is also going to learn much, not only teach. Don't become teachers, just remain helpers, fellow travellers; don't become 'holier than thou' -- and then you will be very very deeply helpful. All Upanishads in India start by a prayer which is done by the teacher and the taught together. They pray that they should not go astray; they, the teacher and the taught, the master and the disciple, should not go astray.
And the third thing: always try to see that if some technique is not working on someone, then don't go on forcing it, because all techniques are not for everybody. So give them a try, and if one is not working, then there is no need to create the feeling that the person is lacking; just say that this technique does not suit you, but there is nothing wrong in that.
Never create the feeling of failure, remember, because by and by the person can start becoming a failure. He begins to feel that nothing is going to happen; that this is not for him, it is only for very special and rare people, and he is an ordinary person. Once this happens, a great rock has fallen on his being. And many of the teachers in the world go on doing that. Rather than helping people, they hinder. So don't condemn anybody, otherwise you will be closing their whole possibility of growth.
If in your three days' work you can give only this much to a person -- that he comes out more confident: more confident about himself, more certain of his step, his growth, more confident that it is going to happen -- you have given him something beautiful, a treasure; you have succeeded.
But always remember that if he leaves the group feeling he has been a failure, then you have betrayed that person, you have harmed him and put him back. These three things....

Above All, Don't Wobble

In the very next Darshan Diary, Above All, Don't Wobble, Maneesha wrote again about groups in general and their beginnings in the ashram. Some of her info duplicates that in Hammer, some negates and cancels it, but such is the nature of history ... This is from Jan 22:

At the time of writing, many therapies are underway in the ashram. All therapists have had extensive training in their particular fields and are sannyasins.
Bhagwan has said that any Westerner coming to the ashram should try to stay a minimum of three months, in which time they could experience whatever groups considered most helpful for them, under the guidance of Bhagwan.
Sannyasins are changing, growing and flowering at an in¬credible rate here. Seeing the difference in people at their first darshan, and then after their first, then second and third groups, is quite overwhelming sometimes.
A fuller description and the introduction of all the therapies to the ashram is available in ‘HAMMER ON THE ROCK’, the book on darshan that precedes this one.
PRIMAL THERAPY: a twenty-one day course in which one is helped to relive the past and to open related blocks.
ENCOUNTER THERAPY: a seven day group in which people are helped to confront those areas in themselves in which they cannot go alone, or of which they are unaware.
TATHATA: a twenty-four hour group in which stress conditions are used to help the dropping of masks and defences.
ENLIGHTENMENT INTENSIVE: a three day group which uses a combination of western communication techniques, and the eastern method of concentration and meditation on a koan.
TAO: a seven day unstructured group. ‘The creation and evolution of the group emanates from each moment to be dis¬covered.’
AUM MARATHON: a forty-eight hour ego-awareness and ego-reducing encounter group.
VIPASSANA: or insight meditation is available as a ten day or a twenty day course and basically uses sitting meditation alternated with walking meditation.
ROLFING: or Structural Integration is a very heavy and deep massage which helps to release tension in the muscles, and allows the body to re-form its natural shape.
MASSAGE: ‘Massage is needed because love has disappear¬ed from the world.’
YOGA: this is a yoga class without goals—nothing to achieve, nothing to become; simply experiencing where you are at.
KARATE: by a black belt sannyasin. ‘This is not a self-defence class. There is no self to defend.’
MUSIC GROUP: meets every night in the ashram for one to two hours with instruments, voices, and love, to allow whatsoever wants to happen.
AFRICAN DANCE GROUP: meets in the ashram for an hour each day for the fifteen days between camps, under the in¬struction of an ethiopian sannyasin.
ARICA groups and HYPNOTHERAPY groups are scheduled to recommence on the return of the leaders from the West.

The Passion for the Impossible

This is a rather long extended commentary by Maneesha on groups in general inserted in the Sep 10 chapter (ch 21). We'll have a few paragraphs here, then link to the whole thing on its own page. The theme overlaps also with the next section below, on how Osho's groups are different from those in the west ...

Bhagwan says that a Buddha is one who is the norm -- is one who has achieved the ultimate in wholeness, happiness and health. His emphasis is on being total rather than being perfect. He says he is not here to make saints of us, but to help us towards becoming simply human beings -- humans capable of being. In his terminology, wholeness is holiness. Holiness has nothing to do with any dogmatic beliefs or ritualistic and repressive modes of life. Holiness is simply the vibration of one who has relaxed into himself in his totality.
Much can happen to those who are within the radius of such a being. Hence the growth, the therapy, that happens around Bhagwan Shree is absolutely unique, for it is a combination of most of the group processes that are happening in the West, eastern techniques, meditation, and the panacea of Bhagwan's presence -- what is known in the East as satsang.
"This is the point from where all growth starts -- through acceptance, not struggle. It is not an effort to become something. It is a relaxation into whatsoever you are". The growth groups -- and they include, among others Primal therapy, Encounter, Unconditional Acceptance Seminars, and Hypnotherapy -- provide an opportunity for one to experience oneself without the limitations and conditions imposed by society on one's being from birth.

The quote in the third paragraph is from Nothing to Lose but Your Head, ch 21, after which Maneesha goes on to expound at length. Read the whole commentary here.

How Osho's groups are different

Group leaders speak:

Maneesha presents some thoughts / insights from several group-leaders about this theme in Get Out of Your Own Way!, in the Apr 27 1976 chapter:

At an earlier darshan, Bhagwan said to a visitor involved in therapy that groupleaders who were working as sannyasins have found their work totally different.
This was reinforced by all the therapists currently working in the ashram, most of whom have worked extensively in the West.
Veeresh (the leader of the Aum marathon):
The difference in working here is Bhagwan.
I had really got caught up in being a groupleader, and that's what Bhagwan has got me to look at. He told me that when I needed help, to close my eyes and think of him. What I get when I do that is not a lot of information, or techniques or new methods. I just think of him and how he gives all the time ... all the love he gives . .. and I tell myself that everything is alright; whatever happens is okay. I don't get a formula from him .. . it's just that I have a realisation of his presence. I feel I'm learning to let myself not be there and to let Bhagwan come through.
I've started to relax more. I haven't needed to grab people and say "Change!" When I see Bhagwan, I feel that we're all just kids. When I grow up I want to be like Bhagwan! (a laugh)
When I think about the growth movement in the West, I can see how limited it is -- really limited. It is symptomatic medicine, and after a while you become stuck. Health means you have no symptoms -- but that’s where everything begins. So what does healthiness mean? People just don't know. Here I see a whole new way of living and it's exciting. It's like a giant education.
Amitabh, who is currently leading the Tao group, has come from a background of extensive training in psychotherapy, participating also in Encounter therapy, Gestalt therapy and other growth groups that are part of the human potential movement in the States.
Here he has found that his whole mode of working has completely changed.
At first it was hard to do nothing because my training is not to do nothing. My training is to help, to be supportive.
In the West we see people as having problems and making efforts towards resolving them. Here I see that that's a game. People here are being able to drop their problems. It is not that a problem gets resolved -- it never does. It sort of disappears and what comes instead is people's appreciation for being right where they are.
All I have to do is sit and watch -- and that's totally new for me. When I find I’m getting too much into my head, I'll go into meditation for maybe half an hour, and I just stay there until something arises. What comes up amazes me as much as it amazes other people. I have no concept about it, but I trust it and I do it.
I can say this is Bhagwan or existence -- I don’t know what it is -- but it doesn’t seem to be very intellectual. I've never read about it before, never done it before, but it is at these moments that the most remarkable things happen.
Teertha, formerly a director and founder of the first major growth centre in London, Quaesitor, and leader of the Encounter group here, commented on how he viewed what was happening in the West as opposed to here.
In the West we were moving away from what we saw as illnesses, what we saw as our troubles, and here we're moving towards being more clear, more whole ... towards becoming human beings.
I find going to darshan with the groups a big help. Bhagwan does something on one level -- saying to people "You work on this" and "You work on that", or tells the groupleader to work on this or to look for that -- but the other level is much deeper.
He changes the energy of the group ... takes it much deeper in one sweep. When the group meets again the next morning it is entirely different, every time -- more loving, more committed, deeper.
To have him as a master groupleader is incredible. I don't think there's any groupleader who thinks he is always right. One hardly ever feels one hundred percent about anything; it's always a vagueness, and to have him confirm one is fantastic.
Then to have him point out subtly and gently, painlessly, the areas we need to go into and what we're missing, is like a very existential teaching.
Teertha went on to say that he felt very much a sense of a family here, and that he felt he was working with brothers and sisters. He said that in the West, people did a group and then perhaps one would never see them again; there was no follow-up.
Here it doesn’t matter where you help people to get. All you have to do is to take them as far as possible and then Bhagwan or another group or the ashram or meditating, will continue the work.
Normally a groupleader has limited authority, but Bhagwan has absolute authority. Sannyasins have trust in him and in what he says.
Sudha (the assistant leader of the Aum marathon):
Somehow the presence of Bhagwan makes it much more than what is happening in the human potential movement in the West, and the major part is that "much more".
It isn't just catharsis and psychoanalysis and psychiatry; it's deeper. We could cathart for the rest of our lives!
The whole thing that makes for our being unhappy, hurt, is the thing that is being undermined here. It's as if everything that I was doing before was like chopping the weeds and making the garden look pretty. It would look pretty for a while, but then another weed would pop up and I would be in anguish because I thought It was cleaned up. Here it's more like getting at the roots of the weeds — much harder and much more painful.
I don't know what's happening here. That "I don’t know" is not the same as "I don’t know!" I feel it's beyond anything that I've ever done, beyond anything I ever hoped for or even imagined.

Expression vs Repression

Much of the difference between Osho's groups and groups in the west can be understood in terms of Osho's simple ideas about repression. One of the cornerstones in fact of civilization itself is control of nature, so it is not surprising that the religions of civilization -- which is to say all organized religions -- resort to control of our inner nature, via "Thou-shalt-nots" and other moral strictures. And while transcendence or transformation of our inner issues can be considered a Good Thing, Osho has unambiguously declared on many occasions that such repressive control measures are the worst way to go about dealing with them.

See Expression vs Repression (main page) for a thorough, nuanced treatment of this theme. Some samples here:

"Repression cannot help you towards transcendence. Only expression can take you to transcendence". ~~ from Philosophia Perennis, Vol 2, ch 3
"Being a sannyasin means getting initiated into the world of 'therapia'. I am not a teacher, and I will not teach you any philosophy. I am an alchemist. I will teach you how to convert the lower into the higher, how to transmute the lower metals into pure gold... because they are the same thing. Repressed, the lower becomes ugly; expressed, it becomes beauty. Repressed, it creates hell; expressed, the paradise blooms in you". ~~ from Don't Look Before You Leap, ch 29

Between expression and repression, there is a clear, consistent choice. Many groups in the west will favour the same choice. But then, Osho offers a third approach, leaving this dichotomy behind, and similarly leaving groups in the west behind:

"The third approach, the approach of all the enlightened people of the world, is neither to express nor repress, but WATCH. When anger arises, sit silently, let the anger surround you in your inner world, let the cloud surround you, be a silent watcher. SEE... this IS anger". ~~ from Philosophia Perennis, Vol 2, ch 4

How this is implemented is of course varied and tailored to the individual.

All this is of course not meant to imply that groups in the west support the idea of repression. Mainly they don't. They see the harm that repression has done. And until Osho came along, Human Potential pioneers led the way in the rejection of repression. But, stuck in the cultural milieu of the west, there was only so far they could go beyond its moral and legal strictures. Perhaps Wilhelm Reich's persecution and imprisonment made them a little more cautious.

The MAD game

In the title here, "MAD" stands for "master and disciple"; it is one of Osho's choice phrases to refer to our journey with him. And it gives a hint as to what might enable his groups to go far beyond what was possible in the west.

The aims of the Human Potential movement do align broadly with Osho's vision, but they do not generally use meditation, nor do they much emphasize the highest potential, of buddhahood. Osho uses all their methods but only as steps to clear the way to the highest goal (which is not a goal but that's another story). The emphasis is always on awakening to one's highest potential.

This difference cascades down to the group level, because Osho and his group-leaders are more willing to take risks in the service of ultimate awakening. Such as in being more open regarding sex, as both a potential issue and as a valid life energy. Or the "physical expression", aka violence, that was allowed in some Pune One groups.

The willingness to experiment and risk and try something new is of course far from absent in groups in the west but risk is an integral part of the master-disciple journey with Osho and it creates many more opportunities for his groups to go where other groups have not. The risks that sannyasins are (theoretically) prepared to take put everything on the line including identity.

Who am i? I don't know, and the more i look, the more i don't know. Am i willing to let that part of me disappear? Well, maybe. To enter into certain of Osho's groups, one has to deal with these kinds of issues. Not that they are necessarily phrased in such clear terms, but it can come to this.

More to come ... ? Uc5.jpg

Osho's guidance on groups

Osho has spoken to many group-leaders in darshans about their groups and how to conduct them. This material can be found in many Darshan Diaries, especially the earlier ones. The wiki will present a selection of his comments, not to establish any kind of doctrine but to demonstrate the dynamic flow that these groups conveyed. A couple of general themes can be seen to arise: one, that the leader should endeavour to, as much as possible, get out of the way and be a channel for Osho, and two, that the leaders should not see themselves as superiors helping inferiors, but be open to receiving the benefits of the process as much as the other participants.

An example of the first type, from Dance Your Way to God, ch 1. The leader asks Osho:

Can a leader die in the group? I think it would be hard for me as a participant, but it's especially hard for me as a leader.]
No, it is the same. The problem is arising because the dying of you is not really the dying of the leader. In fact the more you are, the less you are capable of leading. The less you are, the more you are capable of leading. When you completely disappear, there is only a function of leadership; you are not there.
The leader is not going to die. In fact the leader will be more there when you are not. It is the ego of the leader, it is the doer, that disappears. When the doer disappears then the leader is in tremendous spontaneity. The leader becomes a vehicle, a vehicle of the unconscious forces of the participants. Then the leader becomes a mirror and reflects those depths which the participants cannot penetrate themselves. Then the participant is not really being led by somebody else -- the participant is being led by his own unconscious forces, and the leader has just became instrumental in it.

We may at times see that, while Osho is addressing a particular group-leader about a particular matter, his words are often in very universal terms, as if they should apply to all groups. This may or may not actually be so in any given case, but it is interesting and instructive to get a feel for the intersection of universal and unique in different circumstances.

More Osho quotes on groups here.

Particular groups info

Names of most of the groups available in Pune One were found in a timeline in The Sound of Running Water, pages XXIV and XXV. In alphabetical order they are:

Anatta, Arica, Aum, Awareness, Bioenergetics, Body Awareness, Body Mind, Boredom / Hell, Centering, Couples, Divine Healing, Encounter, Exorcism, Feldenkrais, Gestalt, Hypnotherapy, Intensive Enlightenment, Karate, Kyo, Laughing Meditation, Leela, Let Go, Massage, Mime, Movement, Music Group, Prasadam, Prema, Primal, Rebirthing, Relationship, Relaxation, Samarpan, Sarjana, Satori, Shraddha, Shunyam, Soma, T'ai Chi, Tantra, Tantra Yoga, Tao, Tathata, Urja, Vipassana, Whirling, Yoga, and Zazen.

The timeline shows the dates that each group was offered. In most cases, they go on through March 1978. Most continued after that as well, through May-June 1981, but that is as far as the book covered. Where groups were discontinued in the book's time frame, end dates are also shown. The first groups began in Aug 1975. They were pretty much the "heaviest" of the groups offered, Encounter and Primal.

In 1978, a decent-sized brochure outlining what Osho and his ashram / commune were all about was published, called My People: A Community to Provoke God. In it was a substantial amount of info about groups. The general info / introduction ran:

The groups that are offered at the ashram play an important part of the process towards awakening -- a combination of growth methods developed in the West in recent years, the richness of Eastern disciplines and Bhagwan Shree's wit and wisdom. There are now 26 different groups (at the time of going to print).
Most people who first come to the ashram are asked if they would like to participate, and then Bhagwan Shree suggests what would be fitting for them. Sometimes he is serious -- and in the next breath he says the groups are just toys. In the meantime there are about 900 places for participants in groups each month.
The ashram groups are led by professionals who have been trained around the world, and have often been pioneers in their field before coming to be with Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. The group leaders include founders of growth centres such as Quaesitor and Community in London, Associates for Human Resources in Boston.
Among the group leaders are psychiatrists, certified psychologists, Jungian analysts, educators and persons with doctorates in many different fields. Some therapists have worked at Esalen Institute, Arica Institute and the Radix Institute. Others have worked directly with well known Western therapists such as Fritz Perls, Will Schutz, Claudio Naranjo, Charles Kelley, Alexander Lowen and Gerda Boyesen. Several have studied Tai chi, Shiatsu and meditation with eastern masters. These varied backgrounds and the deep connection to Bhagwan Shree leads to an unbelievable richness and depth in the ashram groups.

All the 26 groups of the day are listed in this brochure and categorized into different types. The types have short descriptions, which are followed by the groups and their short descriptions. The individual group descriptions will not be reproduced here, but in their individual group pages (see table below for links):

1. Introductory groups ~~ When people first arrive at the ashram, Bhagwan Shree often suggests one of the introductory groups that focus on the initial task of awakening self-awareness. { Centering | Enlightenment Intensive }
2. Working with the body ~~ These groups work on the premise that awareness must be rooted in the body before it can be taken beyond. { Body Awareness | Massage | Movement | Bio-Energetics | Anatta }
3. Opening and releasing ~~ As human beings we are inevitably trapped into the conditioning given us since birth by parents and society. These groups aim to cut through successive layers of conditioning, allowing participants to experience their natural emotions directly. { Encounter | Tao | Samarpan | Gestalt | Couples | Let Go }
4. Early life issues ~~ We are deeply influenced by our early years, even our early moments in life. These groups help participants go back to the past, reliving and so becoming free of those early experiences. { Primal Therapy | Rebirthing }
5. Subconscious ~~ Much of a person's potential is below the conscious mind. These groups help participants tap these deeper resources. { Hypnotherapy | Deeper Hypnotherapy }
6. Energy ~~ Life is composed of energy. Awareness of the grosser forms -- the warmth of a fire for example is obvious to everyone. These groups help participants become more and more sensitive to the subtleties and qualities of energy, especially within themselves and in their relationships to others. { Leela | Sarjana | Tantra | Prema | Urja | Relaxation }
7. Meditation ~~ In addition to the monthly meditation camps there are groups that teach traditional methods of meditation handed down from past Masters. { Vipassana | Zazen | Kyo }

The brochure also included:

8. Individual sessions ~~ Direct one-to-one work on the body can be a short cut to releasing energy blocks and tuning into the body. { Alexander Technique | Rolfing | Postural Integration | Reflexology | Shiatsu | Massage | Acupuncture | Rebirthing | Neo-Reichian }

While most of the individual sessions above do not correspond to groups, they were packaged with groups in the brochure, including even a description, and so, as they have no place of their own yet in the wiki, we have put them in here at the bottom of the table below, at least temporarily.


After groups had been operating for a couple of years, it became apparent that leading groups or giving healing sessions was an attractive field that many sannyasins wanted to explore. No formal credentials were needed, session givers and group leaders could "be themselves" in the west while getting paid for it, they could continue to grow, they could help others grow and they could help make Osho more available around the world.

So, longer groups devoted to imparting the essentials of leading groups or practicing healing modalities began to appear in late 1977. The first was a non-specific Counselor Training, which featured no teaching or curriculum.


More particular trainings came along later, mostly for specific healing modalities, for example, a Postural Integration training held in l979, image right. Leaders and participants all one big happy group. In these kinds of trainings, much specific knowledge and technique would be taught, but the group processings of personal issues and personal growth would also be an integral part.

More to come . . . Uc5.jpg

Info and links

The table contains the groups about which at least some minimal facts are known. Names sometimes evolved over the years and leaders came and went. Assistant leaders' names are also included. Active links (non-red) go to pages about which more is known. Please share your knowledge about any of these groups!

Group, aka Leader(s) a few facts
Alchemy Maitri new-age and "esoteric" processes to experiment and play with for personal transformation
Anatta Aneesha bio-energetics + neo-Reichian methods
Arica Sw Anup (ass't) experimental group, techniques from Arica
Aum Marathon Veeresh, Sudha 48 hours of effort, using lots of meditations and also Encounter methods
Awareness little known, see page for period offered
Bio-Energetics a body-oriented group, see page
Body Awareness see page
Body Mind little known, see page for period offered
Boredom/Hell little known, see page for period offered
Centering Prasad a seven-day "play" group, ie a non-serious, fun group; a "factory" group, ie assigned to most newcomers, with up to 200 people on Krishna House roof, deriving many of its techniques from Arica
Counselor Training Karuna + many others a training in leading groups or offering healing sessions with no curriculum
Couples Amitabh interpersonal psychodramas, with all participants being couples who wanted help working on their relationships
Divine Healing Bodhisattva appears to have been an open drop-in group, some info from a Darshan Diary
Encounter Teertha, Turiya The "heaviest" of the therapy groups, held for seven serious days in the Chaitanya Therapy Chambers. See also "God Is Not Great" is not great#Therapy groups for more on therapy groups in general, in the context of comments on Encounter.
Ethiopian dance Sw Neeraj aka African dance, a drop-in ongoing group, ran for years, lots more than just Ethiopian forms
Exorcism none? an extended account of one episode is available, may not have existed beyond that
Fear Sw ... (ex Melbourne policeman)
Feldenkrais little known, see page for period offered
Gestalt Rajen, others? a therapy group, see page
Hypnotherapy Santosh aka Dehypnotherapy?
Intensive Enlightenment Amida, Vimalkirti, Ganga, Parijat aka Enlightenment Intensive, a "factory" group, ie assigned to most newcomers, with up to 150 participants. Three very long days residential group (~ four hours sleep) with breaks for meals and Dynamic and Kundalini Meditations, otherwise sitting with a partner taking five-minute turns asking the other, "Tell me who you are" and listening, changing partners every half-hour. Discipline was strict, very "boot camp".
Karate Pujari little known, short-lived group, see page for period offered
Kyo a meditation group, see page
Laughing Meditation little known, see page for period offered
Leela Somendra a therapy and energy-oriented group, see page for blurb and period offered
Let Go a therapy group, see page
Massage an introductory survey of various techniques and practice. Very hands-on!
Mime little known, see page for period offered
Movement a body-oriented group, see page
Music Group Anubhava a free drop-in celebration group, every evening in Buddha Hall, except during camps, differing from most of the "assigned", process-oriented groups in this page
Nartana Amiyo Dance, what else?
Prasadam Women's Group little known, see page for period offered
Prema an energy-oriented group, see page
Primal Divya, Anam This was the first Primal group in the world. Divya studied with Arthur Janov, the originator of Primal therapy, a process created for individuals and Osho asked her to create this group, which she did with 14-day and 25-day formats, and training others. This and Encounter were the first groups offered in the Shree Rajneesh Ashram.
Rebirthing (a French couple), Rudra Connected breathing. Rudra trained and toured with Leonard Orr, the originator of Rebirthing.
Relationship little known, see page for period offered
Relaxation an energy-oriented group, see page
Sahaj Dhruva little known, see page for period offered
Samarpan Rajen a therapy group, see page
Sarjana an energy-oriented group, see page
Satori little known, see page for period offered
Shraddha little known, see page for period offered
Shunyam little known, see page for period offered
Soma Divya a ten-day group aiming to develop receptivity to Osho and communality
Sufi Dancing Aneeta a free drop-in group offered every day at 10am in Buddha Hall from Dec 1976 to 1981, with guided heart-opening dancing and singing, live music
Tai Chi Mallika Osho explains at length to Mallika in Get Out of Your Own Way!, ch 8, about how T'ai Chi's slow movements create a kind of mental sluggishness and help participants come to no-mind. As a Taoist method, it is antithetical to Western speed, with which ideas of intelligence can be entangled. The T'ai Chi group had two formats, an "intensive", running three hours a day (two in morning, one in evening) and an open drop-in for one hour in the afternoon.
Tantra Kaveesha, Sudha Sex, what else?, lots of it, and methods to explore attitudes and blocks. Kaveesha was the first leader, then Sudha
Tantra Yoga little known, see page for period offered
Tao Amitabh, Siddha Amitabh was the original leader of this group, then Siddha took over in mid-1978
Tathata Pujari, Kabir Pujari was the first leader of this group, then Kabir took over
Urja Somendra an energy-oriented group, see page for blurb and period offered
Vipassana Pradeepa, Gopal, Paritosh, Venu Paritosh was the first leader, in 1976, along with Venu and/or Pradeepa, soon morphing to Pradeepa and Gopal. The group ran for ten days on the roof of #122 Koregaon Park, also spawning a twenty-day version. It was at first residential, then became non-residential but with silence outside the group encouraged and no contact permitted between participants.
Whirling little known, see page for period offered
Yoga Pujari apparently a drop-in "class", only offered a short time in early 1976, see page
Zazen Pradeepa, Gopal a "lighter" kind of Vipassana, five days, non-residential, sittings only half an hour with eyes open staring at a blank wall alternating with 15 minutes walking, with a Japanese tea ceremony at the end.
Individual session a few facts
Acupuncture see page
Alexander Technique see page
Massage see page
Neo-Reichian see page
Postural Integration see page
Rebirthing see page
Reflexology see page
Rolfing see page
Shiatsu see page

These parts below will be developed eventually but are not the first priority. If you have some group info or stories from those eras to share, see discussion

The Ranch

Pune Two

The great innovation of this era as far as groups were concerned was the development of Osho's Meditative Therapies. These were/are three processes that, for full effect, run for relatively long periods of a week to three weeks, but can be scaled down to shorter times for sampling or other needs. They are Mystic Rose, No-Mind and Born Again Meditations.

All three have qualities of both therapy and meditation, and are best done as groups run by a trained leader. Their functioning as groups is not about dealing with interactive "personality" matters, more just that the "energy in the room" helps participants move more easily through the processes, whether interacting or not. And the trained group leader can help with most hurdles and stuck places.

One aspect of these processes where they differ from Osho's previously devised meditations is that they do not have precise soundtracks and timed stages, like eg the four stages of Kundalini. Leaders may have some audio aids that they deploy when it feels appropriate, but it would be all optional and in the moment.

It may also be said that all three of these processes are extremely simple in their concept, design and functioning, yet all have the capacity / potential to be transformative. And all use forms of expression that have been subtly, if not grossly, repressed since childhood.

Mystic Rose

Mystic Rose is probably the most widely practiced of the three Meditative Therapies. This may be because Osho gave it the most juice. And in the book that features its introduction, YAA-HOO! The Mystic Rose, he says, "I have invented many meditations, but perhaps this will be the most essential and fundamental one", and "This is absolutely my meditation". Strong stuff!

Its simple key is liberating the power of laughter and tears, which can by extension be helpful in freeing up all feelings and emotions. To laugh wildly for more than a few seconds, or outside the context of a good joke, is to invite stares and judgments. You are weird! People back away. To cry uncontrollably, especially for men, is to similarly invite repulsion, or its opposite, consolation, "there, there, it's going to be all right", but without any appreciation of what you might really need, if anything beyond the space to just let it all out.

Mystic Rose's simple structure is this: One week of three hours a day of laughing, one week of three hours a day of crying, one week of three hours a day of silent sitting, that three hours of sitting consisting of 45 minutes of sitting alternating with 15 minutes of slow walking or soft dancing.

The laughter comes first, because it is the most fun and the most accessible, at least for most of us. Jokes may be told in order to get the room going, but the point is to laugh non-stop, and not for any reason, even on trips to the toilet. Existence is simply and totally hilarious!

After a week of this, one is really ready for some tears. Sad music is played from time to time during the three hours, also for getting the room going. Crying for three hours non-stop is not easy for most of us, but even getting in the mood, really feeling sadness for that time, is a worthy achievement. There can be a particular reason, or just generalized sadness about the human condition, state of the planet, whatever. We all have it stored up and it is cleansing to access and feel it consciously. And all "negative" or unpleasant feelings have sadness as a component, so all can be accessed and at least somewhat processed by this method.

And after this cleansing, a week of sitting and silent watching, to put it all in perspective, and feel the liberation. Ah, this!


No-Mind's structure is even simpler, a two-hour two-stage process done for one week. The first hour is gibberish, "one of the most scientific ways to clean your mind", and the second silent sitting.

Where Mystic Rose's aim might be said to cleanse one's emotions, No-Mind cleans out mental rubbish. Intentionally, by venting it and at the same time recognizing it as nonsense.

Though Osho never talked about the two-hours-for-a-week full version of this meditation/process, he gave a much shorter version of the gibberish + silence combination considerable exposure, as a way to go inward at the end of his discourses, from the end of May 1988 till his last discourse. The one-week full version is thus familiar from this heritage and has many adherents and enthusiasts.

Born Again

Born Again's structure is similarly simple, a week of acting and being like a child, innocent, playful, rambunctious, whatever, for an hour and then silent sitting for an hour.

But, while No-Mind and Mystic Rose have certain fairly well-defined techniques, the first hour of Born Again's process is less well-defined. Moreover, Osho has not spoken on the Born Again process in any specific way, though of course he has spoken often of being like a child.

So we will wait to say anything more about it to fill out the remainder of this section until we hear from someone who knows this process. It could be you!**

Pune Three

see also