Osho paid the price with his own crucifixion like every other great spirit ahead of his time. His compassion was answered with torture and poison
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”- Albert Einstein
This world is full of stories, stories of love, of dreams, of sorrow, of pain, of victory, of loss, of all that we endear after coming into this world as human beings. Some stories make it through and are penned down into books, some become songs and are sung, while some remain written in the memories of the heart waiting to be told, to be sung, and to be heard. My heart is home to a story that I have cherished all my life. It is the story of my master. It is the story of me as his disciple and the story of the world that we lived in.
Every time I write about him, I feel the immensity of the feat that I am about to start upon. Osho was not only an enlightened master but the greatest iconoclast, a genius of our times who was centuries ahead in regard to the consciousness level of the world he was born in. When Jesus started speaking of compassion and forgiveness in a world that only understood ‘an eye for an eye,’ he sounded alien to that world. He looked like an intruder who had to be wiped away so that the longevity of the established system, no matter how barbaric it was, could prevail. He had to be crucified to extinguish the fire of revolution that he had sparked.
When Osho started speaking against the rotten values and hypocrisy of our system, when he started showing that with a bit of consciousness and sensitivity we could live in a better world, he shook the very foundation of the empires that ruled and exploited people on the basis of these very values and notions. He left no stone unturned in exposing the stupidity and hypocrisy of the great political and religious powers that governed it.
Thousands of sensitive and intelligent young souls from world over got attracted to his wisdom and thronged to his ashrams and centers to meditate and to listen to him. A movement of awareness and meditation started and spread all across the globe. When this orange ocean of sannyasins started spreading like a wildfire, it threatened the very existence of organized religions and great political powers felt the fear of being burnt down by one harmless man speaking the truth.
Osho paid the price with his own crucifixion like every other great spirit ahead of his time. His compassion was answered with torture and poison and he became the new Jesus crucified again.
Attempt of attack
Of the many series of oppositions and torture that Osho had to face throughout his life, today I am reminded of an incident that I was witness to in the May of 1980. On 18th May, I arrived in Pune for my periodic stay with Osho as he would always send me back after a few months. “Go look after my work in Nepal, if you stay here, the work will suffer,” he would say. I would always come to Pune with an open ticket and even if there was a pre-scheduled departure, I would end up postponing it until all my budget would finish and Osho would eventually ask me to go back after receiving letters from my parents and other Osho lovers in Nepal.
A very strange recurring vision came to me in those days as I sat in discourse with Osho. Whenever we are intimate or close with someone our energies are intertwined and we are connected on many levels rather than just on the physical realm. If we are sensitive, we can receive signs, hunch, visions, dreams or premonition about someone close to us. In today’s modern world we have given immense value to the material and what meets the eye, strengthening and developing it as much as possible while ignoring the subtle truths of this world and making ourselves less receptive toward it.
When a certain incident is about to happen or is planned on the level of thoughts, it creates a vibration in the existence and is manifested on the etheric planes before it materializes on the material plane. Sometimes it manifests on the physical realm also and sometimes it doesn’t. But if one is receptive and sensitive we can receive those vibrations in the form of visions, dreams or intuition.
Ma Yoga Laxmi who was Osho’s secretary in those days was always kind to me and allowed me to sit in the second row for lectures while the front row was reserved for the senior ashramites. During this visit when I sat down for Osho’s lecture I experienced a very strange vision. Every time I closed my eyes I used to see that somebody was throwing something at Osho from behind me. At first I ignored it but as it recurred a few times, it made me anxious and a little worried so I decided to talk to Laxmi about it. I told her about my vision and expressed my concerns as many fanatics were against Osho and he had many enemies.
I requested Laxmi to place a bullet proof glass in-front of Osho. Laxmi listened to me very intently but denied the request saying that it would not look good if we put Osho behind a bulletproof glass.
Just a few days after we had this conversation, on May 23, an incident happened and it shook the whole ashram and I came to know the meaning of my recurring visions. It was a beautiful summer morning in Pune and we were all seated in the auditorium as Osho was speaking on the second chapter of the series “Sumiran Mera Hari Karey.” Around 23 minutes had passed and all of a sudden there was commotion in the rear of the hall. I turned behind and saw a young man shouting in Hindi, “Bhagwan Rajneesh you are working against our religion, we will not spare you.” The man was Vilas Tupe who belonged to the Hindu extremist wing of Shiv Sena called the Prati Shiva Sena. Before anybody could react, he pulled out a large knife and threw that towards Osho. Fortunately, the throw was short and the knife landed a few feet from the podium. The knife hit the ceiling and fell down near the front row where Laxmi and the others were sitting.
It was a blunt dirty knife which could not even hurt anyone let alone kill somebody. So nobody was hurt. Probably it was a symbolic threatening message that the fanatics wanted to convey.
Tupe had been visiting the lectures for many days and was trying to get to the front row. He was planning for the attack and looking for a better place from where he could maneuver it. I realized that it was the vibration of his thoughts that I had caught in the form of my recurring visions.
A great chaos filled the auditorium and sannyasins grabbed and apprehended Tupe who was still screaming. It was an overwhelmingly impulsive moment for me and I rushed to jump in front of Osho hoping to protect him from any further attacks but the ashram guards pinned me down to the ground. An Indian ma started screaming and wailing, followed by another western ma and a great commotion took over the previously silent atmosphere of the auditorium. Sw Vimal Keerti, the grandson of the emperor of Germany, also jumped to the podium in front to barricade Osho’s body from any further attacks. He was to later become Osho’s bodyguard.
After Vilas Tupe threw the knife everybody in the auditorium was disturbed except for Osho. He was speaking about the devil inside us when the knife was thrown. There was not even a trace of fear or worry on Osho’s face, not even a hair flickered on him and he remained as calm and poised like a Buddha statue. Osho gracefully said, “An agent of devil seems to be present amongst us today. Please escort him outside with respect.” If Osho had not spoken, the man would have probably been beaten by 2000 others who were there to listen to the master.
Strangely a group of uniformed policemen were already present outside the ashram as they had received prior information about the attack and some were also present at the back of the hall in civil dress. The uniformed policemen had been stopped by the ashram guards at the gate saying that Osho was in lecture and he could not be disturbed. It never became clear whether the policemen were there to protect Osho or to safely escort Vilas Tupe and save him from the angry mob of Osho sannyasins.
As soon as Vilas Tupe was escorted outside and the police took him into custody, Osho started his lecture from where he had left it as if nothing had happened. The whole auditorium was disturbed, nobody was in their senses and there was a great fear in us that there could be another attack on Osho’s life if there were more fanatics in the crowd but Osho seemed unruffled. Everybody wanted Osho to be taken into safety and nobody was listening to the discourse but Osho kept on going and finished it exactly in his usual time.
The Geeta characterizes such rare personality as “Sthitipragya,” one who holds unwavering state of mind under any turbulent circumstances of sentiments, emotion and passion. He remains steadfast and equanimous. We all knew that Osho was enlightened but that day we got to see how an enlightened person responds to a tensed situation with great presence of mind and awareness, even if it meant a threat to his own life.
Trials and release
As soon as the attack happened, the telex service informed this to the media and the news reached the Prime Minister’s office in no time. Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India and had come close to Osho since his support towards her and her progressive and modern methods during her bitter days. As soon as Indira received this message she herself called the Pune Police Commissioner and ordered him to go and check and he rushed to the Ashram with many high level police officers.
Indira Gandhi also personally called Laxmi and expressed her concern for Bhagwan, as he used to be known in those days, and that she was sorry that she was not able to provide security to a honorable citizen of her country. She committed to Laxmi that she would not allow such an event to occur again. Indira being the strong leader she informed all concerned officers of Pune that if anything as such happened in future then she would take the severest actions.
This shows the level of close ties that Osho and Indira Gandhi shared in those days. In the discourse of the next day Osho said that all the political and religious leaders of the country were very happy that an attempt had been made on his life. It was only Indira Gandhi who was concerned and called his office within 12 minutes of the incident and instructed the Pune police commissioner to provide security to the ashram. From that day there always used to be a few high ranking officers from Pune police outside the ashram gates and a few were also present in the discourse in civil dress for Osho’s security.
After a few months, the court gave the verdict and in a fine display of the corrupted system, all the cases against Vilas Tupe were dropped and he was released. Despite the presence of 2000 eye witnesses, the court gave the verdict that as Osho had continued with his discourse it proves that no attack on his life could have occurred. The same Vilas Tupe later formed the Hindu suicide militant squad Lashkar-e-Shivba and became its self proclaimed commander-in-chief. The organization is now in tatters due to lack of funds and political patronage.
Voice of truth
Osho was thousands of years ahead of his time and his only crime was that he spoke the truth and never compromised for it. Through all his efforts he tried to introduce life-affirmative, celebrative and joyous religion against the predominance of repressive, serious and life-negating religions. He tried to free us of our conditionings, from our attachment with our petty and personal egos and the pseudo boundaries of our private worlds. He wanted to give us the freedom to claim the entire universe.
Osho did not only expose our problems but gave wise, practical and conscious solutions, solutions that were based on meditation and love. But as it happens with all great men who try to do so, the mediocre world around him failed to understand his vast wisdom and treated him inhumanely. He was arrested and made to travel through different prisons, he had to face deportation and more than 21 countries denied him entry. He was not only poisoned but was eventually murdered by fundamentalists and the same people are still active trying to tarnish his image and destroy his spiritual movement. It is a great irony that today when all the ashrams and meditation centers all over the world are celebrating his birthday, there is no celebration at his own ashram in Pune.
Today on his 87th birthday I pay tribute to that great revolutionary and his vast wisdom and to many other great beings, who had to drink poison and face crucifixion just because our mediocre minds could not contain the greatness of their spirit.