Meditation camps (Hindi: sadhana shivir) have been a feature of the sannyas landscape since 1964. Prior to that, Osho was lecturing, traveling and becoming well known as an electrifying speaker, but he saw that people were not being transformed, so he introduced camps, extended retreats where the focus was experiential rather than filling one's head with concepts. He would still speak at these retreats, often at length, but the event was not over when he stopped speaking. Then it was time to visit the interior landscape, to experiment with his techniques and use his words as signposts of things to look for, guidance regarding pitfalls and so on. Most of the day(s) would be spent in self-exploration, using a variety of ways to ask "Who am I?" Deeper and deeper. See also Talk:Osho: Call of the Ocean for a nice quote on why camps came about.
From the back cover of The Perfect Way, an English translation of his discourses at the first camp in 1964: "These discourses are the outcome of Shree Rajneesh's first testing of a new idea, the meditation camp, envisaging an intensive programme lasting several days, which enabled the seekers to dive totally into an atmosphere of meditation."
As they evolved, camps were held several times a year in various formats, lasting a couple of days to as many as fourteen, and in "exotic" locations mainly around the northwestern states of India: seaside resorts, hill stations, usually but not always away from cities. Nargol, Matheran, Mt Abu and others became fabled places in the sannyas iconography.
Camps in Pune One
Traveling to such places came to an end in 1974 after Osho moved to Poona, but the camps did not end. At Shree Rajneesh Ashram, it became possible to have these intensive retreats more often, though they were conducted by others who had imbibed them sufficiently to be able to lead them. But even with others nominally leading the meditations, Osho still came out daily to give discourse in the morning and darshan in the evening.
The format of the camps was likely not even slightly standardized for almost two years, but they would have consisted of a variety of forms over the day, and running for possibly ten days at a time. By the end of Jan 1976, we have a description from Maneesha in a Darshan Diary, Above All, Don't Wobble:
- Camps, which are held throughout the year at the ashram, provide an opportunity for meditators, and particularly newcomers, to experience, to contact and release, energies that have become blocked or have lain dormant for many years, perhaps many lives.
- There are basically two types of people -- the active type and the passive type. Bhagwan has devised five different meditations to suit different energy types and he suggests that meditators try all five during the camp so that he can assess their type according to their experience of the different techniques. Some they will like, some they will dislike, others may go particularly deep.
- At this point Bhagwan can suggest what kind of group therapy will be most helpful, and if necessary he will suggest a particular method for a person to work on alone.
- The camp commences on the eleventh of each month and runs for ten days.
- The first meditation, commencing at six in the morning and lasting an hour -- as do all the meditations -- is Dynamic Meditation. This technique tends to suit those who are more body-oriented, and allows for catharsis, the release of negative energy. It is the basic technique. Bhagwan has said that as the sun comes up so does our negativity, and that we are at our most resistant first thing in the morning. This technique acts as a kind of purification, so that one is thoroughly cleansed, and is loose and soft and in a mood of receptivity for the discourse which commences at eight.
- Each month the discourses alternate between being delivered in Hindi or in English. (January-Hindi, February-English, and so on.) Whether the discourse is in Hindi or in English becomes irrelevant after a time. Particularly initially one can be enthralled by Bhagwan’s words, or the words that flow through him. He is a channel for Lao Tzu and Jesus, for Buddha and the zen masters, for Sufism, Tantra, Patanjali and others.
- But listening to the hindi lectures can be even more powerful as the mind cannot keep up its usual commentary of judgements and assessments. Allowing Bhagwan’s voice to envelop one, watching the grace of his movements and his non-movements, one enters naturally, effortlessly, into a state of meditation.
- The setting for the discourse in the Chuang Tzu auditorium could hardly be a more idyllic place to commune with Bhagwan. The surrounding garden is breath-takingly beautiful. And somehow trees are more tree-like, flowers more flowery, the greenness more so, in his presence. The song of the birds as they fly across the auditorium blends with that of Bhagwan.
- Pleasantly spaced out by this hour and a half, one moves or floats into the Nataraj (the god of dance) meditation. "The dance can only exist with the dancer; they are both one". There is no set dance -- you simply do your own, or God's own thing.
- In the lunchtime-break food is made available in the ashram canteen, which allows one to stay within the vicinity of the ashram thus not dissipating energies brought up through the morning.
- Not only is one opening, loosening, going higher, feeling more loving, but just eating crisps and drinking chai -- suddenly the remembrance -- Bhagwan is here! All this and heaven too!
- If the morning discourse is in English then the taped lecture in the afternoon is in Hindi, and vice versa. It is beautiful to relax, to sit or lie in the meditation area under the orange canopy in the warmth of the indian afternoon, half awake, half asleep, allowing Bhagwan's voice to lullaby you.
- Nadabrahma (the sound of the divine) meditation is at four. It is based on an old tibetan method and is particularly deep for the more passive type of person. It is quite an experience to sit in the middle of the hum of a couple of hundred sannyasins!
- Following the Nadabrahma is the Kundalini (the snake¬shake!) which helps one to disperse any negative energy accumulated in one's body through the day. Shaking, then dancing -- to orgasm -- then just sitting and lying in the silence of the late afternoon as the sun begins to set over Poona.
- The last meditation, Gourishankar (the hindi word for Mount Everest -- you can become just as high!) commences with the fading of the last light of the day. Breathing opens up the body, the flashing blue light concentrates the energy around the third eye, which seeks expression in the soft fluid movements of latihan.
- Meditators wend their way to the empty chair that is filled with Bhagwan’s energy and which sits in the centre of the platform in the meditation area. Some kneel, some just gaze or stand, eyes closed, bidding Bhagwan a silent goodnight....
- Orange figures in twos and threes make their way home; some arm in arm, some silently alone, others wobbling precariously on their bicycles.
It is not known exactly when the camps settled into the somewhat standardized format of the last three years of Poona One, which was: 6-7 am, Dynamic; 8-9:30ish, Discourse; followed by Sufi Dancing, Vipassana, Nadabrahma and Kundalini and then an evening meditation which would be Gourishankar for one camp and Nataraj for the next, while Osho was giving darshan. The ten-day period of the 11th to the 20th of each month remained throughout. For most of that time, both daily meditations and whole camps were led by Sw Christ Chaitanya.
Camps also flourished in other places around the world but especially in India, even while Osho was still in the body. Osho's indefatigable roving ambassadors led hundreds of three-day, five-day and ten-day camps in all parts of India. Some of the best known leaders of those camps were/are Sw Anand Swabhav, Ma Yoga Neelam, Sw Narendra Bodhisatva, Sw Chaitanya Bharti, Ma Dharm Jyoti, Sw Anand Arun, Sw Chaitanya Keerti, Ma Amrit Mukti and Sw Satya Vedant.
The easy availability of such opportunities to jump fully into Osho's meditation techniques made it easy for newcomers to get a feel for it, though they weren't only for newcomers. And so camps continue to this day around the planet, as focused retreats or also sprouting new forms such as 21-day Dynamics or Mystic Roses, intensives spread out over a longer period.
- see also
- Bhagawati's visit to Mt Abu (Osho News)
Osho Source Book Part 2, §2.11, Fig. 6. Map with locations for meditation camps in the North of India.
Please note that the dates mentioned below refer to the day of the first discourse to the day of the last discourse of the camp, even if the first day is just an evening welcoming talk or the last is just one goodbye talk in the morning. Dates mentioned in itineraries and other sources sometimes refer only to full meditation days from morning to evening, and may omit especially the opening evening talks.
A timeline of available info thus far is presented below regarding Osho's historic traveling Meditation Camps, from the days when he was based in Jabalpur and Bombay. Info comes from here and there, two main sources being The Rebellious Enlightened Master Osho and Neeten's Osho Source Book. Links are provided where applicable and available for the books arising from camp discourses. A few other "special" / traveling events are included. More info will be coming, and see also Timeline (link on every page in the upper left sidebar) for a more detailed look at discourses, letters and events of Osho's public life.
Two-letter "codes" are Indian state abbreviations, RJ = Rajasthan, MH = Maharashtra, GJ = Gujarat, JK = Jammu & Kashmir, PB = Punjab, MP = Madhya Pradesh, HP = Himachal Pradesh, DL = Delhi, HR = Haryana, BR = Bihar
camp discourses / notes 1962 -- Jabalpur, Khandari Water Works No discourses were recorded. This was Osho's first camp-experiment, a sort of beta or proto-camp, with no lodging arrangements or travel to far-away places, but a focus on meditation rather than listening to words. 1963 -- Jabalpur, Agriculture College This three-day proto-camp was reported in the local papers and attracted many more participants. >> More Jun 3-8, 1964 -- Ranakpur RJ Sadhana Path (साधना पथ) / The Perfect Way / Path of Self-Realization / Path to Self Realisation All the English titles above are translations from Sadhana Path. All sources agree that this was Osho's first full-featured meditation camp, with discourses recorded and turned into a book, and travel to an exotic location. A new phase of Osho's leela was launched! >> More Fall 1964 -- Matheran MH (5 days) This camp known for the hundred letters Osho wrote to Sohan after her tearful parting, published in Path Ke Pradeep (पथ के प्रदीप) / Life Is a Soap Bubble Dec 12-14, 1964 -- Jabalpur MP not really a camp but an urban event, a "gyan satra," or "knowledge or wisdom session" Jan 20-23, 1965 -- Bombay another urban "gyan satra" / "knowledge / wisdom session" Feb 2-?, 1965 -- Ajol GJ unknown, >> More Feb 12-15, 1965 -- Mahableshwar MH Dhyan-Sutra (ध्यान-सूत्र) Not to be confused with Dhyan Darshan (ध्यान दर्शन). May 6-10, 1965 -- Udaipur RJ Udaipur Camp May 1965, >> More Jul 24, 1965 -- Bhavnagar GJ Dharm Ki Khoj (धर्म की खोज) May not have been a meditation event (at one day), perhaps just a talk Feb 4-6, 1966 -- Tulsishyam, Saurashtra GJ Sakshi Ka Bodh (साक्षी का बोध) Sakshi apparently only has four talks, all in these two days, but there may be more. >> More Mar 20, 1966 -- Ahmedabad GJ Karm Aur Dhyan (कर्म और ध्यान) May not have been a meditation event (at one day), perhaps just a talk. >> More May 14-17, 1966 -- Udaipur RJ unknown >> More Jun 27-29, 1966 -- Bodh Gaya BR unknown ** Jul 30 - Aug 1, 1966 -- Chanda (Chandrapur MH) unknown ** Aug 3 1966 Jabalpur -- resigned from his position as ass't prof to devote his whole time to lectures, travel and being available to his people Oct 22-25, 1966 -- Matheran MH Girah Hamara Sunn Mein (गिरह हमारा सुन्न में) Info is limited about this camp, talks for which may be entangled with those of several other books. Details at Girah Hamara's discussion page. Oct 28-30, 1966 -- Nashik MH Jeevan Geet (जीवन गीत) Five talks with girls of Sushma NCC cadets given in Bhonsala Military School of Nashik, Maharashtra Dec 25-28, 1966 -- Chikhaldara MH Sakshi Ki Sadhana (साक्षी की साधना) (ch.3-8) Known six talks in this camp, five of them available also as Chikhaldara Shivir (चिखलदरा शिविर) but in other order.
See also Letter written on 2 Dec 1966.
Apr 13-16, 1967 -- Shardagram school in Mangrol GJ Rom Rom Ras Peejiye (रोम रोम रस पीजिए) Details of place and time for this camp did not come whole but were pieced together inferentially. More about that at Peejiye's discussion page. Jun 4-7, 1967 -- Udaipur RJ Apne Mahin Tatol (अपने माहिं टटोल) This camp is the one described by Osho in Jyun Tha Tyun Thaharaya (ज्यूं था त्यूं ठहराया) (and translated into English as ch 8 of Early Talks) when he "released" Bhuribai's book, she being a female guru who came with 15-20 of her disciples to the camp. >> More Oct 18-21, 1967 -- Matheran MH Asambhav Kranti (असंभव क्रांति) Nov 19-22, 1967 -- Bombay Chit Chakmak Lage Nahin (चित चकमक लागै नहीं) / The Independent Mind Not a "standard" camp inasmuch as it was in the city, but otherwise, yes. Its seventh and final discourse is more or less missing, but its one-time existence appears solid. See Chit Chakmak's discussion page. Dec 23-25, 1967 -- Lonavala MH Anant Ki Pukar (अनंत की पुकार) / Work Is Love Made Visible Not a "standard" camp but a think-tank kind of event "to discuss how the color of peace may be spread far and wide in this vast ocean of life," possibly preparatory to a much larger gathering to organise the expansion of Osho's "work". The apparently five talks from Lonavala are not the only talks featured in Anant Ki Pukar but they set the theme. See also A Gathering of Friends, an independent translation of the first talk. Feb 3-5, 1968 -- Sanskar Teerth, Ajol GJ Antaryatra (अन्तर्यात्रा) / The Inner Journey May 2-5, 1968 -- Nargol GJ Shunya Ki Naav (शून्य की नाव) This book aka a part of a four-volume series, Neti-Neti (नेति-नेति) Various dates and places camps said to have taken place in MH, MP, DL, PB, HR and BR between the two Nargol camps, besides those mentioned specifically May 18-20, 1968 -- Junagadh GJ Mati Kahai Kumhar Sun (माटी कहै कुम्हार सूं) Four talks are known for Mati from this camp, but dates are far from full, there is potential for other unknown talks here. Jun 9-11, 1968 -- Udaipur RJ unknown talks, series may include one talk with Rajasthan teachers conference ** Jun 21-23, 1968 -- Porbandar GJ unknown talks, series may include two non-camp talks in Porbandar ** Oct 31 - Nov 3, 1968 -- Nargol GJ Prabhu Ki Pagdandiyan (प्रभु की पगडंडियां) Feb 13-15, 1969 -- Baroda GJ Jeevan Kranti Ke Sutra (जीवन क्रांति के सूत्र) (2) >> More Feb 25-27, 1969 -- Junagadh GJ Satya Ki Khoj (सत्य की खोज) / The Beginning of the Beginning This book aka a part of a four-volume series, Neti-Neti (नेति-नेति). Also it must be noted that other dates have been suggested for Satya Ki Khoj, Jan 16-19, 1970. Read all about it at Satya's discussion page. Mar 20-23, 1969 -- Matheran MH Sambhavnaon Ki Aahat (सम्भावनाओं की आहट) This book aka a part of a four-volume series, Neti-Neti (नेति-नेति) Mar 29 - Apr 1, 1969 -- Patna BR (not a camp :-)) Osho speaks at the Second World Hindu Religion Conference, debating with the Shankaracharya of Puri and creating an uproar. >> More Jun 3-6, 1969 -- Udaipur Jeevan Sangeet (जीवन संगीत) Jun 8-11, 1969 -- Ahmedabad Prabhu Mandir Ke Dwar Par (प्रभु मंदिर के द्वार पर) 4 days, 10 talks Aug 3-5, 1969 -- Ludhiana PB Not a camp, thematically diverse talks to different groups in these three days. Unlikely that a single book or audio series resulted, ie perhaps (parts of) more than one, along the lines of Rajkot Mar 1970 below. Sep 17 - Oct 2, 1969 -- Srinagar & Pahalgam JK Mahaveer: Meri Drishti Mein (महावीर : मेरी दृष्टि में) Pahalgam, which Osho has often spoken of as Jesus' final resting place, is some 100 km from Srinagar, which Osho visited before the camp. Additionally, Osho spent several days in Pahalgam prior to the camp. Thus, the precise date is not known of a talk where Osho addressed followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, published as chapter 7 of Early Talks, but it was in Pahalgam around this time. That talk was the first time Osho spoke publicly at length in English, and also the first time to a Western audience. See also the discussion page for MMDM and Osho in Kashmir on Osho News. Oct 28-31, 1969 -- Dwarka GJ Main Mrityu Sikhata Hun (मैं मृत्यु सिखाता हूं) / And Now, And Here, Vol 1 >> More Nov 24-29, 1969 -- Bombay Karuna Aur Kranti (करुणा और क्रान्ति) Floating and Dying Meditation (Bahana aur Mritana), introduced in Dwarka camp above, given final form in Chowpatti, Bombay, at the Birla Kreeda Kendra Dec 9-12, 1969 -- Junagadh GJ Jeevan Hi Hai Prabhu (जीवन ही है प्रभु) Feb 21-24, 1970 -- Poona MH Samadhi Ke Dwar Par (समाधि के द्वार पर) 3-day camp in Poona. "These are three sutras for samadhi -- First: Darkness, Second: Aloneness, Third: Death." (Osho) Mar 6-9, 1970 -- Rajkot GJ Shunya Ke Paar (शून्य के पार) This book aka a part of a four-volume series, Neti-Neti (नेति-नेति). Also note same dates as other series below: Shunya was given in the mornings and Naye Samaj in the evgs. Thus, this Rajkot event is likely not a camp, in the meditation retreat sense. Mar 6-9, 1970 -- Rajkot GJ
(Yes, same dates as above!)
Naye Samaj Ki Khoj (नये समाज की खोज) (first 4 talks of 17) See Naye Samaj's discussion page for its turbulent history of trying to find some dates where it can rest. (Other dates and locations for Naye Samaj include Ludhiana Aug 1970, below.) May 2-5, 1970 -- Nargol GJ Jin Khoja Tin Paiyan (जिन खोजा तिन पाइयां) / The Journey of the Kundalini / The Mystic Experience / In Search of the Miraculous, Vol 1 the camp where Osho introduced Dynamic Meditation Jun 29, 1970 -- left Jabalpur for Bombay Jul 28-31, 1970 -- Baroda GJ (Baroda is now known as Vadodara) Main Kaun Hun? (मैं कौन हूं?) (discourses) (last 4 chapters) Aug 20-23, 1970 -- Ludhiana PB Naye Samaj Ki Khoj (नये समाज की खोज) (talks 8-10 of 17) Not a "standard" camp format, ie retreat with committed meditators, but Dynamic was held in the morning on an open area with discourses in the evening on a larger open area. The evening talks were another four of the talks for Naye Samaj. Aug 25-27 (?), 1970 -- Baroda GJ (?) Camp details unknown, existence questionable >> More Aug 27-30, 1970 -- Sanskar Teerth, Ajol GJ Jo Ghar Bare Aapna (जो घर बारे आपना) >> More Sep 26 - Oct 5, 1970 -- Manali HP Krishna: Meri Drishti Mein (कृष्ण : मेरी दृष्टि में) / Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy (ch.2-22) orange and mala. Picture of that first group:
Front L to R: Ma Yoga Laxmi, Ma Dharm Jyoti, Ma Yoga Prem, two unknown kids, Ma Yoga Bhagwati, Ma Yoga Samadhi
Behind L to R: four unknown, Sw Anand Murti, Ma Krishna Karuna, Sw Chaitanya Bharti, Ma Anand Madhu (the very first sannyasin), Sw Yoga Chinmaya, Sw Govind Siddharth
Oct 17-20, 1970 -- Poona MH Chetna Ka Surya (चेतना का सूर्य) / Yog: Naye Aayam (योग : नये आयाम) / Sun of Consciousness / Nine Sutras Nov 29 - Dec 7, 1970 -- Ahmedabad GJ Geeta-Darshan, Bhag 1 (गीता-दर्शन, भाग एक) This camp began the massive series Geeta-Darshan (गीता-दर्शन), which continued through the next five years, mainly in Bombay and Poona Dec 21 - 25, 1970 -- Bombay Dhyan Darshan (ध्यान दर्शन) Apr 4-10, 1971 -- Mt Abu RJ Ishavasyopanishad (ईशावास्योपनिषद) / The Heartbeat of the Absolute Sep 25 - Oct 2, 1971 -- Mt Abu RJ Nirvan Upanishad (निर्वाण उपनिषद) / Behind a Thousand Names At this camp, according to one source, Osho created a new mode of taking sannyas. See "Sadhu" and "Sadhvi" for details and sources. Osho also introduced Mulla Nasruddin stories in this camp. Nov 27 - Dec 5, 1971 -- Poona Dhyan Ke Kamal (ध्यान के कमल) This was not a "typical" camp in that it was urban and talks were given only in the mornings. It is not known how much of the rest of the day was given to meditation practices, but evenings were given over to another discourse series. The full Dhyan Ke Kamal series was not completed until the tenth talk in Jan 1973. Jan 8-16, 1972 -- Matheran MH Sarvasar Upanishad (सर्वसार उपनिषद) / That Art Thou Mar 25 - Apr 2, 1972 -- Mt Abu RJ Kaivalya Upanishad (कैवल्य उपनिषद) / That Art Thou Oct 13-21, 1972 -- Mt Abu RJ Adhyatma Upanishad (अध्यात्म उपनिषद) / That Art Thou That Art Thou for details.
See also Osho News: A short story narrated to Anuragi by Vishnu who, as a 23-year-old, met Osho in Mt. Abu where he took three photographs.
Feb 9-17, 1973 -- Anandshila MH Samadhi Ke Sapt Dwar (समाधि के सप्त द्वार) / The New Alchemy: To Turn You On In this camp the main talks were in Hindi, for Sapt Dwar, and the part relating to New Alchemy were only meditation instructions, though extensive enough to comprise the 17 chapters of New Alchemy's Appendix. >> More
And where exactly Anandshila was in terms of locatable on a map is not yet known, but basically not far NE of Bombay, in the vicinity of Ambernath. >> More
Apr 6-14, 1973 -- Mt Abu RJ Sadhana-Sutra (साधना-सूत्र) / The New Alchemy: To Turn You On Talks are given separately in Hindi (Sadhana Sutra) and English (New Alchemy). Neither is a translation, and both are based on Mabel Collins' book Light on the Path. >> More Jul 8-16, 1973 -- Mt Abu RJ The Supreme Doctrine Talks based on Kenopanishad, given in English Oct 5-13, 1973 -- Mt Abu RJ Kathopanishad (कठोपनिषद) / The Message Beyond Words Talks given in Hindi Jan 11-19, 1974 -- Mt Abu RJ Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi Talks given in English, based on Akshya Upanishad 21 Mar 1974 Move to Poona (Pune) as permanent residence. Meditation camps continued to be held, now on a quasi-regular basis, unknown when the completely regular format described in Jan 1976 began (see "Camps in Pune One" above). >> More