EVEN OSHO HAD TO COMPLY WITH THE BELIEFS AND LIMITATIONS OF HIS TIME
Osho had a clear stance on this subject, he was neither for nor against the use of substances but never denying their value. He was a great revolutionary master who suffered the limitations of his time. Thankfully some things have changed in the 27 years since his untimely death and new resources are now available to committed seekers.
On 16 October 1976 as part of the public talks included in the book “The Art of Dying”, Osho (back then called Bhagavan Shree Rajneesh) answered a question about why women were not allowed to participate in Hasidic ecstatic dances and practices. This is an excerpt of his response to that question:
“Many people start their journey towards God, truth, samadhi, because they have had a certain glimpse somewhere. Maybe through drugs, maybe through sexual orgasm, maybe through music, or sometimes accidentally. Sometimes a person falls from a train, is hit on the head and he has a glimpse. I’m not saying make a method of that! But I know this has happened. A certain centre in the head is hit by accident and the person has a glimpse, an explosion of light. Never again will he be the same; now he will start searching for it. This is possible. The probable is no longer probable, it has become possible. Now he has some inkling, some contact. He cannot rest now.
I AM NOT FOR DRUGS, I AM NOT AGAINST DRUGS. BUT STILL, IN THIS COMMUNITY, IN MY COMMUNE, DRUGS CANNOT BE ALLOWED. Politicians have never been very intelligent and one should not expect too much from them. In fact, only stupid people become interested in politics. If they were intelligent they would not be in politics at all.
So just for some ordinary, small thing the whole movement cannot be destroyed. That would be foolish. AFTER A HUNDRED YEARS MY ATTITUDE THAT DRUGS CANNOT BE ALLOWED IN THE ASHRAM WILL BE THOUGHT ANTI-REVOLUTIONARY. NATURALLY, I KNOW IT IS ANTI-REVOLUTIONARY. SO LET IT BE HERE ON THE RECORD”
An extraordinary statement from an extraordinary master, admitting the ways in which he could not be as revolutionary as he would have liked to be.
The word drug has two different meanings. According to the Oxford dictionary it means “medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body” and it can also mean “a substance taken for its narcotic or stimulant effects, often illegally”. The way Osho uses it seems to imply the first meaning while acknowledging that not many people differentiate it from the second.
I took sannyas long ago and I frequently visited the Osho Commune where I participated in numerous meditations, therapies and other activities. I attended groups such as Mystic Rose, Born Again, No Mind, Fresh Beginnings, Pulsation and many others, and I also regularly practised meditations such as Dynamic, Kundalini, Nadabrahma, No Dimensions, Nataraj, etc. Those were wonderful years and I feel grateful for them, sannyas became the meaning of my life.
Drugs didn’t have any place in it, neither had they at previous stages in my life and my spiritual seeking. They were a kind of an anathema, everyone who was seriously engaged in spiritual progress would plainly reject any value in their use, they were supposed to be for potheads and for those who just wanted to escape reality and find an easy shortcut. There was and there still is quite a bit of unquestioned judgements about drugs.
I used to subscribe to those views myself, not even questioning them despite having heard this Osho discourse more than once, in which he clearly stated that he didn’t judge drugs and even considered that they could have a value for spiritual seekers. I no longer cling to those judgements. I know now by my own experience that the proper use of some substances (or drugs, depending of the chosen term) can reach much deeper than meditation or therapy can do on their own, and the result of skillfully combining all of them is vastly more powerful and profound.
I am not advocating that everyone should take drugs. In the same way in which Osho offered a wide range of therapies and meditations for everyone to find what was more appropriate for them, the time is ripe for some substances to be added as a very valuable resource. This is a far cry from propitiating the development of an addiction, in fact these substances are of immense help for addicts to give up their addictions.
It seems only natural that I would eventually join Inner Mastery International, an organisation that holds Inner Evolution Retreats with the psychotherapeutic use of Ayahuasca, Bufo Alvarius, Kambo and Iboga. Ayahuasca in my view is the most significant substance though the others are of tremendous value too. It induces a temporary expansion of consciousness, which is the opposite of what narcotics do. The correct way to classify these substances is as entheogens that enhance perception, which is the exact opposite of hallucinogens that simply distort perception.
My work as a facilitator in the Inner Evolution Retreats is supported and enriched by the groups and meditations that I have done in the Osho Commune and in other Osho centers. It is a joy to see my life expanding and evolving and to be able to share it with many other seekers. I am even kind of jealous that their path is made smoother and easier than it was for me in the past.
This organisation is revolutionary in the way Osho meant it. We still have to comply with some restrictions that may look “anti-revolutionary” but we are certainly willing to break free of them as soon as we can. We surely didn’t wait for 100 years to give drugs their rightful place. Drugs won’t make us enlightened but some of them are surely precious resources that provide a very potent aid for our paths.
Hugo Oklander (aka Satyam Khoji)
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