“I have found my people. I have found my world. I have found a small planet of my own, where love is the only law, where laughter is prayer, where dancing is divine, where every moment is sacred, and where to be natural is the only spirituality.

Because I could manage to find my people, I am alive. Otherwise, I would have managed long ago to be crucified by all kinds of idiots, who are always willing…. They would have been very happy and I would have been very happy, because this world does not seem to be worth living in. And it is very difficult. What I have done is almost unprecedented: to find my own kind of people, who can understand me, who can have a rapport with my innermost being. Otherwise there is nothing but misunderstanding in the world.”
Osho, Sat Chit Anand, Ch 6, Q 6 (24 November 1987)

Today, more than three decades after Osho made this statement, we find that many seekers feel drawn to Osho; they read His books; listen to or watch His discourses; practice meditation; visit Osho Centres that have been established worldwide and have become sannyasins. Many are eager to find out more about the beginnings of sannyas at a time when they hadn’t been born yet.

They express huge interest in the Seventies, when suddenly thousands of young and not-so-young people packed their bags and travelled to India, to an ashram on the outskirts of the industrial city of Poona, as it was then called. They flocked there to see a man of whom not much had been heard about outside of India, an enlightened being who already had a following of thousands of Indian devotees, or neo-sannyasins, as He called them.

It was a phenomenon that went beyond the hippies, beyond flower power, beyond free love, beyond women’s liberation, beyond the student’s revolutions in Europe, beyond the Beatles and Rolling Stones and Easy Rider, beyond Woodstock and the Summer of Love.

It was the call of the Master.

This call made so many people leave their security and families to live in often quite primitive circumstances in the ashram’s vicinity, in a rather simple environment. Many came just for a look and decided to stay on ‘forever’; others returned again and again, and stayed as long as they could or until their funds ran out. Those who returned for brief visits to their home countries brought with them stories about this guru, books and tapes of His discourses, shared them with their friends, established meditation centres – and all of them were dressed in orange-coloured garments and wearing a beaded necklace with a locket of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh around their neck. And they all had a new name.

The individual stories published here contain the recollections of friends who became disciples of Osho. They talk openly about the time they first learned about Him, what motivated them to travel far to see Him, and how they first interacted with Him. For many of them, English is not their mother tongue, but they nonetheless penned their narrative in it.  Even if their narrative might not seem to be in “perfect English,” the way of expression  highlights the individuality of each one of them.

Some believed that the path was over once we became Osho’s disciples; yet the inner work and journey had only just started, and today, decades later, it continues, reaching deeper and deeper within.

“Man has always lived in unconsciousness, but the darkness was never as much as it is today. There have been nights, but always the dawn has come. This time it seems to be doubtful whether the dawn will come or not.

I am not a pessimist, but I am no longer an optimist either. I used to be – now, I am simply a realist. And the reality is: perhaps we are very close to the end of this beautiful planet, with all its beauty, all its life, and all its great achievements. There seems to be no ray of hope from anywhere. And perhaps when I am saying this, it is not me who is saying it; perhaps it is existence itself who has lost hope about humanity and its future.

The only thing that I still go on dreaming for is my people. Perhaps the planet will not be saved, but those who have come to me, if they make a little effort to become conscious, to create a longing for enlightenment, at least they can be saved.

Immense responsibility rests on you because nowhere else in the whole world are people trying, even in small groups, to achieve enlightenment, to be meditative, to be loving, to be rejoicing. We are a very small island in the ocean of the world, but it does not matter. If these few people can be saved, the whole heritage of humanity, the heritage of all the mystics, of all the awakened people, can be saved through you.”
Osho, The Hidden Splendor, Ch 11, Q 3 (18 March 1987)

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