India: A Way of Life

India Independence Day

15th August commemorates India’s Independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, after nearly 100 years of domination. The day is celebrated with myriad activities emphasizing Nationalism such as flag hoisting ceremonies, cultural events with patriotic fervor and kite flying! 

Several of Osho’s discourses are dedicated to India, where He discusses threadbare the perennial problems confronting India and gives ideas on how to solve those problems to achieve Independence in the truest sense. Osho does not place the responsibility of India’s awakening only on the politicians and bureaucracy.

Osho explains the essence of Freedom and how work has to start at level of an individual to achieve Freedom in the realest sense. Osho says there is no point in repeatedly changing the powerful into the powerless and the powerless into the powerful… it’s an unending game. I don’t preach revolution. I am utterly against revolution. My word for the future is rebellion. What is the difference? Rebellion is individual action; it has nothing to do with the crowd. Rebellion has nothing to do with politics, power, violence. Rebellion has something to do with changing your consciousness, your silence, your being. It is a spiritual metamorphosis.

His discourses attempt to stimulate constructive thinking in all levels of the polity because it is only when we all strive together as a nation; will we regain the lost glory of the great civilization that is India.

Osho has spoken on India in His discourses. Osho says India has always been a metaphor, a philosophical concept, a spiritual unity. This allowed different languages to evolve, different cultures to evolve, different individualities to evolve, and the country was not monotonous; it was a beautiful garden of different flowers, different colors, different perfumes. And we allowed it, because the variety is its richness. There was an inner current that joined people, but it was not political; it was spiritual. It was unfortunate that India was enslaved by invaders viz. the Mughals and the British who tried to destroy the very spirit of India. But India has remained always a spiritual feeling, a spiritual colorfulness; not the monotonous boring one language, one culture, one religion nation. India is not a nation in that sense, it is an entire continent.

Osho say…



India, to me, is not only a country, but a concept… not just a land, but a way of life, a tremendously significant philosophy.

So when I talk about India, it does not matter at all that they have treated me badly, that they would like me to be killed. They have made efforts — unfortunately they failed. These are small things, and I don’t take them into consideration.

My consideration is for the India as a concept.

It is the only part of the world which has gone deep into the interiority of man, which has discovered for the first time the ultimate in consciousness, the universality of individual beings.

Science has discovered much, but no discovery of science can be compared to the discovery that India has made in the past. For ten thousand years continuously it has devoted its whole energy to finding out the meaning of life, the very essence of existence — and it has found it. So when I talk about India, I do not talk about the India that you see on the map, I do not talk about the India that exists today. I am talking about a concept that has come out of centuries’ work of discovery. Nowhere has religion ever reached such heights. No community has ever given all her geniuses to the discovery of man’s inner world. And that is the most precious thing in life.

You can have everything, all, but if you don’t have yourself… you can know everything around you, but if you don’t know what is within you, all your knowledge, all your wealth, all your power is futile — and sooner or later you will be drowned in your own wealth, in your own power. It will destroy you because it will go on increasing, becoming bigger and bigger, and you will be shrinking, becoming smaller and smaller. The scientist is denying that he is, and asserting truths about things and objects. It is a very strange phenomenon. Then who is discovering all these things and objects? Every genuine scientific genius feels embarrassed — anybody like Albert Einstein — because he cannot say anything about himself… and he knows about the farthest star in the world, its whole history millions of years before it was created, and he knows how many more million years it will remain, and then it will dissolve. His knowledge is vast, but he knows nothing about the knower.

And what use is this knowledge? Not only is it useless, it is going to be harmful. And we know now that the whole of science is in the service of the war machine: that is, in the service of death. The objective experimentation, the enquiry into the outside world, has reached a stage which can only be called a global suicide; while in India the search was inner, and it culminated in the universal experience of life, of joy, of blissfulness, of nirvana. I am not concerned with India as a geographical unit, but as a spiritual search. I can condemn the present-day situation. It is ugly; it is against all human values.

The country is becoming poorer every day, and the politicians cannot prevent it, for the simple reason that if they try to prevent it… And the only way to prevent it is to spread birth-control methods. That goes against the orthodox Indian mind, and to annoy the orthodox Indian mind means you lose your power; next election you will be gone. So you know that if you do something to prevent it, you are finished; if you want to keep yourself in power, then you know the country is going to die and starve.

Already India has nine-hundred million people. When I started speaking there were only four hundred million people. If they had listened to me, it would never have got into such a bad situation. But they threw stones at me.

Now countries are trying to prevent me even from landing at their airports; the question of entry into the country does not arise. Even countries about which I have never thought…

Just today Anando informed me that Venezuela — I have never thought about it! — has passed a resolution that I am banned, I cannot enter into the country. Even in Ireland, where we were for two weeks, the government is now denying it. They are not even courageous enough to say, “Yes, they were here and they are gone.” They are denying, saying, “They have not been here. How could they enter into the country? — because they are banned.” Just as we left they must have passed some resolution in the parliament to ban us. The European parliament has a resolution now to ban me collectively, rather than separately, so all European countries who are members of the parliament automatically become closed.

The same situation was happening in India. At the stations my train would be delayed for two hours because there were people who did not want me to get down at their city, and were forcing the train to take me back. I would be speaking in an Indian city, and the electricity would be cut off. And this was happening so often, again and again, that it could not be just accidental. The fifty thousand people would be sitting in darkness for half an hour, one hour, and the electricity wouldn’t come on. And finally I would have to inform them, “Now it is pointless — you please go home. I will stay a little longer in the city so you will not miss any lecture of the series.” And as the people were leaving, as I was leaving, the electricity would come on.

Just now the Indian government wanted me to stay in India, but with conditions. One: no foreign disciple should be allowed to come to see me. Two: no news media should be allowed to interview me. Three: I will not go out of the country. If I fulfilled these three conditions then I could stay in the country.

I said, “Why don’t you simply shoot me? These conditions are just to kill me!” And I had to leave the country because… there are many sannyasins in high posts in the government who informed me that I should leave immediately because they were going to confiscate my passport so I could not get out of the country.

I had not enough time, they said, to get a visa, to go to another country. Moreover they had informed all the embassies in Delhi that nobody should give me a visa to their country. So the only country that was available was Nepal, because no visa is needed — that is a treaty between India and Nepal. But then the American government was pressurizing Nepal, the German government was pressurizing Nepal, the Indian government was pressurizing Nepal that I should not be allowed there. And when it became absolutely certain that they were going to take some steps — they could have arrested me there, they could have sent me back to India — as I was informed, I had immediately to leave.

Whenever I am saying something about India, I am not talking about this India — this India, which is absolutely corrupted, and politically in the worst shape. Every day hundreds of people are being killed — and it goes on declaring that it is a democracy. But newspapers are not allowed to publish how many people are killed; it seems to the outside world that everything is peaceful. But the reality is that India has never been one country; it was always many countries. In Gautam Buddha’s time there were two thousand kingdoms in India. Mohammedans tried to make it one whole; they could not succeed fully, but still they managed that half of India become one nation. Britain, with more brutality, managed to force the whole of India into one nation; otherwise “nation” and “nationality” are not Indian concepts. This unity of India was forced.

Winston Churchill, before he retired, said, “The day India becomes free, it will fall apart, into pieces.” And he was right. Politically he had the insight, because he knew that they had somehow put all the pieces together, and it needs immense power to keep them together. If that power is removed, those pieces will start falling apart — and that’s what is happening now. First Pakistan and Bangladesh became separated from India, now Punjab wants to be separate from India. Assam has been fighting for forty years to be separate from India, Bengal wants to be separate from India, Tamil Nadu wants to separate from India.

There are thirty languages in India. For forty years they have been trying to make one language — Hindi — the national language, but they have not been able. If you cannot even make a national language, how can you manage to have a nation? And all these entities are not small. India is almost a continent. All these states — Punjab or Maharashtra or Tamil Nadu — are as big as France or England or Germany, and each has its own culture, its own language, its own dress, it’s own way of doing everything. Now, to prevent separation they have made a law that nobody can speak in favor of dividing any part. Anybody who speaks of dividing any part from India will be immediately arrested, and there will be no legal way, no court trial for it. And this is democracy!

In Punjab they have killed thousands of Sikhs, Sikhs have killed thousands of Hindus; and it continues every day. And it is going to happen all over India. And it can be solved very easily.

India is facing today the question of separation. There is no need to kill people. India should remain one. My solution is simple — one just needs a little understanding. Freedom is everybody’s birthright. So I am not in favor of this India, which is absolutely corrupted. But to me, in my vision, there is a totally different, glorious India, which consists of men like Gautam Buddha, Nagarjuna, Vasubundhu, Shankara… a whole line of thousands of enlightened people.

That’s my India.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series: Beyond Psychology
Chapter #23
Chapter title: Trees grow without being taught
23 April 1986 pm in


Osho has spoken on ‘India and related issues’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. Beyond Psychology
  2. The Book of Wisdom
  3. Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen: The Antidote to All Poisons
  4. From Death to Deathlessness
  5. From Personality to Individuality
  6. From Ignorance to Innocence
  7. The Last Testament, Vol 1, 2, 4
  8. The Path of the Mystic
  9. Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries
  10. The Transmission of the Lamp
  11. Zen: Zest, Zip, Zap and Zing
  12. Zarathustra: A God That Can Dance
  13. Beware of Socialism
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