Sannyas publishers and their symbols
In the long span of Osho's teachings, from Jabalpur to Never Born Never Died, his circumstances changed tremendously. Along the way were different locations, different audiences, different organizations supporting him and so the symbols to represent him and his work also changed.
Acharya Shree Rajneesh Sahitya Publication Trust
The first organizations to be formed around Osho to support his work were Jeevan Jagruti Kendra and Acharya Shree Rajneesh Sahitya Publication Trust. The latter existed only in Jabalpur and only to publish his books, of which in the event there were only a very few. All that is known about it at this point has come from Neeten's Osho Source Book:
- His favourite bookshop [in Jabalpur was] Sushma Sahitya Mandir at second floor at Jawaharganj Market for his buying of Hindi books only. The bookshop is still (February 2000) with the same owner, a long time friend of Rajneesh, S.M. Jain (Shri Shobhagyamalji), and with the original interior and shelving as it was to be seen forty years ago when Acharya Rajneesh was a frequent visitor. The shop still offers early editions of Rajneesh to its customers. The owner was himself involved in some of Rajneesh’s earliest publishing by means of Acharya Shree Rajneesh Sahitya Publication Trust, Kamla Nehru Nagar, Jabalpur.
Jeevan Jagruti Kendra
Jeevan Jagruti Kendra (जीवन जागृति केन्द्र्र, or Life Awakening Center, and sometimes called Jeevan Jagruti Andolan, or Life Awakening Movement) was Osho's first larger-scale organization. It came into being in the 60's and had two main centers of operation, in Jabalpur and Mumbai, plus many others scattered around India. The smaller centers were an informal network of friends who managed places for Osho's meditations and occasionally promoted events when he would come to their towns in his traveling days. The two larger centers did this plus were responsible for his growing publication needs. And as the group in Mumbai was wealthier and in a much larger market and a major center where Western seekers passed through, it came to be the predominant branch, even before Osho moved there in 1970.
It is not known when this logo started being used or who designed it or what exactly is its symbolism. The seven circles could be thought of as the seven "bodies", the physical, astral and so on, with the red wavy squiggle a representation of the kundalini serpent at the base of the spine about to uncoil and rise, but then we run into the version found on the invoice, which has nine circles. In that one at least, the darker form at the center easily suggests a candle flame, which the more sinuous and stylized form in the first logo could well be too. So the flame at the center that lights our way through all the different levels can be as good a guess as any for now. And the flame is life energy (Jeevan).
Because the two "logos" are quite different in significant respects -- and others like the second one have been found, see the talk page -- it is evident that they are not logos in the strict sense of being fixed images, rather they may be symbols based on an underlying, unifying concept that can find different expression. Or perhaps they reflect an evolution. We will find variations with the Rajneesh Foundation symbol too.
Jeevan Jagruti Kendra changed its name in 1973 to "Shree Rajneesh Foundation", soon shortened to just plain Rajneesh Foundation (Ltd). It published most of Osho's books of the day and also ran Shree Rajneesh Ashram, world HQ from 1974 to 1981, in Pune. Its symbol, displayed in the ashram and in books in multiple variations, was the one at top right, said to have been designed by Osho. As with the JJK symbol, it was not a fixed entity in colour or precise form. But there is an underlying numerical conceptual unity in all the variations, a single point / small circle inside a triangle inside a nonagon inside a circle. Osho was asked about it once and he said this, in Don't Just Do Something, Sit There, ch 3:
- It is a very simple symbol. Just in the middle there is one point; that means one -- the ultimate source and the ultimate goal. The journey is from one to one. One becomes three -- the triangle around it: the trinity of christians or the three faces of hindu gods, trimurti, or if you understand the language of physics, then electron, neutron, positron... but one becomes three. Then three becomes nine, because each one again becomes three, and so on, so forth.
- That nine is the symbol of the world -- the world of ten thousand things -- because nine is the last digit. From one to nine everything is finished; then there is only repetition. Ten, eleven, twelve; they are all repetitions. That is the symbol: from one to three, three to nine, and then again there is a circle, a big circle surrounding it. So the first point is the source and the last circle is the goal.
- It is a very simple symbol.
This is the only occasion known where he has commented on this symbol. It is likely that, had more people asked, he would have said more, with variations and alternatives, just as he has said so many things about the longer-term symbols of disciplehood, orange clothes and the mala. Osho makes it clear for example that the symbology of "threeness" is wide open, so why not all of it? In the spirit of the Orange and Mala page, we are offering some alternative views on the meaning of the "Poona One" symbology on the right in the discussion page.
One more theme which might be explored is the movement from one to three and three to nine. This is said to resonate with a saying of Kabir, though that could not be confirmed by a search using Roman characters (which should show up, with idiomatic translation, for any common saying of Kabir). A search in Devanagari turned up three possibly relevant examples. Results are posted in the discussion page.
Rajneesh Foundation International
Rajneesh Foundation International was discontinuous from Rajneesh Foundation. It began as the small center in New Jersey where Osho "happened" to arrive when he left Pune for the States in 1981. That center, Chidvilas, was incorporated in 1975 though, and changed its name to RFI in 1978. RFI came to operate the Oregon ranch, Rajneeshpuram, and was the main publisher of Osho's books from 1982-85.
The two birds image of the ranch is straightforward enough. The white bird is Osho, the darker bird behind, shadowing the master as it were, is the disciple, now having learned to fly on hir own. This image appeared on all the books published at the ranch and on Rajneesh Times International as late as Oct 1989, and did not vary significantly.
Rajneesh Foundation Europe
Rajneesh Foundation Europe was set up in Switzerland in 1984 by Rajneesh Foundation International. It seems to have operated quasi-independently from RFI and became the publisher of a few books from the end of the ranch era to mid-1987, when Rebel came into being. What else it did in terms of organizing or operating is not known, but since this was a time of no fixed address for Osho, it may have been very little else. It changed its name to Neo Sannyas International Foundation, as did the original Rajneesh Foundation, still in India, then eventually in 1990 both NSIF's became Osho International Foundation, while a new and separate organization also called OIF was incorporated in India. (¿)
Rebel, or more formally The Rebel Publishing House GmbH in Germany and Rebel Publishing House Pvt Ltd in India and many variations on those names, were the main publisher(s) of Osho's books from late 1987 until they faded away, in 2010 or so. They operated in India and Germany but had no involvement in other parts of Osho's infrastructure. "Faded away" refers to a kind of disappearance whereby books more and more came to be nominally published by Osho Media International, though in fact both imprints are controlled by Osho International Foundation and share the same address and ISBN number range. For many books during the 2000's, publisher status has been attributed to both Rebel and OMI, with different booksellers pointing to one or the other. Now it is all OMI. Thus, the name of the publisher is somewhat arbitrary, but for whatever reason, Rebel has been phased out.
The Rebel logos are relatively straightforward. The flames are of light and life and of course rebellion. One might ponder on the choice of the star, as a star can have any number of points, all having a different esoteric or numerological significance. The six-pointed star chosen is, among other things, the Jewish Star of David, may have been chosen to push some buttons, or try the discussion page for other ideas.
Osho International Foundation
The swan logo came into use in late 1989 but was not used much in an official way, retiring possibly as early as 1990. It is not known to have been used on any books, and even the high-profile White Swan Brotherhood's existence was short-lived, becoming the White Robe Brotherhood on Oct 1 1989, exactly the date of RTI's last issue, (with cover story the White Swan Brotherhood but logo still the last gasp of the ranch-era two birds). Osho did wear this Swan image on the shoulders of his robes, but only a few times. An original painting by Ma Prem Prartho, upon which the swan logo was based, appeared as an endpaper in No Mind, published in Sep 1989. No more image-based logos were created after the swan, though Rebel's flames continued to be used for another twenty years or so.
"Font-based logo" refers to the highly stylized form of Osho's name adopted for "branding" him. The all-caps format is used just about everywhere his name is used, except sometimes in paragraph text, and with ™ and ® usually not far away. And much of the time, there is a specific font family used, variations of Futura font. The one shown in the image at right is Futura Extra Bold or Extra Black, used for Osho Times for its whole existence as a tabloid after the first year. (Osho Times as a magazine adopted a different font scheme.) The one shown in Osho.info's collection below is Futura Bold.
Osho.info, "an information site with public information from Osho International, Osho International Foundation and related trusts and foundations", has a page about the history of Osho's orgs and symbols. Unfortunately it says little about either, being mostly oriented toward providing support for OIF trademark usage. The part that's germane here:
- The symbols and names were and are as follows:
- 1. Triangle-Octagon which was the logo of the foundation from 1974-1981. This mark was used on all books, letterheads and publications. The design was registered with the trademark authorities not only in India but in a number of other countries as well.
- 1a. At the same time, 1975 - 1989 the name RAJNEESH was registered in many countries as a trademark, by Osho’s secretary Yoga Laxmi on behalf of the Indian foundation. This mark was registered in many countries at this time: 1975-1989.
- 2. Osho designed a new symbol of two flying birds: This new symbol which was registered as a trademark all over the world and was used from 1981-1989.
- 2a. The name RAJNEESH sometimes in combination with “Zorba the Buddha” were registered as trademarks worldwide during the period 1982-1987. This time by Laxmi’s successor, Sheela, on behalf of the US Foundation and the European foundation – today Osho International Foundation.
- From 1985 to today, Osho’s signature has been registered as a trademark in multiple countries.
- 3. In 1989 Osho sketched a new symbol of a flying swan which became registered trademark in multiple countries. (1989-today)
- 3a. In 1989 Osho changed his name to OSHO and requested that everything previously branded with RAJNEESH to be rebranded OSHO. Osho International Foundation registered the mark OSHO and to this day continues to follow his guidelines to protect his name and his work.
Parts 1a, 2a and 3a have little to do with symbols and images but are included here. A few points to address are:
- 1. It is not a Triangle-Octagon but a Triangle-Nonagon. (Count the sides.)
- 2. The symbol of the flying swan may not have been sketched first by Osho, but derive instead from Prartho's painting. But since the origin stories may not be mutually exclusive, the fine details of this apparent divergence are explored in the discussion page. It would be good to know where it is used.
- 3. They have not dealt with the Rebel logo, except (in the image) to say that it is Osho's drawing. It is different from the wiki's examples but all three are used in books, it turns out, Osho's drawing version (more or less) on an inside page before the pub info page.
- 4. They have not dealt with the JJK symbol at all.
- 5. The wiki has not dealt with Zorba or Osho's signatures.