Osho Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic by SupremeLord


									Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic
By Osho

St. Martin’s Griffin Press, 2001.

           This intriguing book takes the reader     defining his personality through his learned
on a whirlwind overview of the life of Osho,         defiance of any adult who attempted to
the (as the title so aptly states) “spiritually      shape his opinions. This quest for personal
incorrect” guru.        Not actually written in      freedom of choice defines his interactions,
complete form by Osho himself, this                  not only with his parents upon their reunion,
autobiography was compiled 10 years after            but with all adults and figures of authority as
his death by Sarito Carol Neiman as an               he encounters them throughout his
introduction to and overview of the man who          existence. As Osho aptly states, “[These
spent his life escaping definition and               chosen examples] are immensely significant
embracing polemic.           Neiman has used         in order to understand what happened
Osho’s own words brilliantly to create a work        during my whole life, because unless you
in which Osho addresses the many myths               understand the seed, you will miss the tree
and perceptions that have surrounded his             and the flowering, and perhaps the moon
legacy in both America and India. Osho’s             through the branches”.
autobiography could perhaps be more                           Autobiography presents a series of
appropriately titled the “Incorrect Myth”,           interviews in which Osho responds to critics
seeing that tales of sex cults, ninety-three         who refer to him as Con Man, Cult Leader, a
Rolls-Royces and egotistical pomposity               Rich Man’s Guru, and an inappropriately
usually precede any mention of his vaguely-          egotistical “self-appointed” Bhagwan (one
formed          religio-philosophical      ideals.   embodying godliness). His lucid and often
Autobiography takes the reader beyond the            painfully comical responses to these
sublime acts of anti-ascetic caliber that            perceptions set the stage for the third
Osho is most commonly recognized for, and            section of the book, where Osho speaks at
attempts to elucidate the man behind the             length against assumption, establishment,
mystery.                                             organizational religion, and even the
           Autobiography is compiled from a          coalescence of any one set of doctrines by
selection of archival accounts of Osho’s             which any person should strive to live their
recantations of his childhood growing up in a        life.      He overwhelmingly privileges
small village in Madhya Pradesh, India,              phenomenology and the right to freedom as
public speeches and talks with reporters and         the heart of every truth and the essence of
disciples, and interviews throughout his life.       the message- if any- that he endeavors to
The history covered in the first half of the         impart upon humanity.
book has a tenor of insolent fantasy that                     Although Osho studied philosophy
segues succinctly into the adult vision of           and taught as a professor in India before
Osho that has become renowned the world              opening his meditation centers in 1962,
over.       Drawing on memories retold in            Autobiography continually maintains the
dialogue form, a vision of Osho’s childhood          universality of his “anti-philosophy” and
is retrospectively pieced together, placing a        never commits to any one strain of thought
burden upon the reader to distinguish with           for the explicit purpose of proving that one
little certainty events occurring in reality from    path does not exist.           It emphatically
those that are the recollections fondly              contradicts itself, at times praising
colored by childhood imagination.                    enlightened beings such as Jesus and the
           A significant portion of Osho’s           Buddha for their vision, yet in the next
childhood memories lovingly focus upon the           breath      maintaining      their    inherent
lessons fostered through the freedom                 shortcomings and asserting Osho’s mental
obtained while living with his maternal              superiority; “[P]eople like Jesus, Moses,
grandparents from age one to seven. Osho             Mohommed, Krishna- [. . .] -don’t know
inadvertently psychoanalyses himself by              anything about enlightenment”. While Osho
possesses a particular talent for offending        the early 1980’s, propensity towards inter-
and alienating        every religious       and    religious dialogue, and a philosophical
philosophical doctrinal system and their           embracing of polarities, were radical notions
leaders, he maintains a peculiar aura of           in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but which deserve
jovialness and candor that emphasize the           reevaluation in light of where the world has
simplicity of his views on humanity. He            progressed in the years since Osho’s
adroitly combines empirical discourse on           passing in 1990.
psychology, economics, religion, philosophy,                Autobiography of a Spiritually
poetry, and even gambling and driving, into        Incorrect Mystic reinforces the notion that it
a compelling argument for the breaking             is impossible to ever know exactly who
down of barriers between East and West,            Osho was. Legend will always be larger
rich and poor, seekers and non-believers.          than life concerning a man with the charisma
         Autobiography       brings   to     the   and brilliance to develop a following and a
forefront many practical aspects of Osho’s         philosophy without any structure, tenants, or
life that get largely ignored due to the           dogma. While it is not easy to unilaterally
framework within which he existed. A truly         agree with Osho, it is even more difficult to
anachronistic thinker, Osho would perhaps          disagree with him. Any inquisitive mind will
be better suited to live in this day of internet   find Autobiography to be an exercise in
access and rapidly expanding globalization.        critical thinking that is cataclysmic in its
His     revolutionary     involvement       with   potential relevance to the world today.
promoting knowledge of the AIDS crisis in

Gretchen Badami                                                     The University of Chicago

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