For readers of this journal the Indian mystic and professor Osho (1931-1990) will be a familiar figure. His merits and the reaction from society on his understandings are well documented in the Indian press since the early 1960s (1). The following presentation of Osho's reading, his private library, and the media publishing is mainly explorative and will hopefully point out areas for future research. Osho Lao Tzu library in Pune may actually be the largest private library worldwide, and with the publishing of his words in print, audio, video and on www we are on a scale bound to be taken into consideration when mapping the Indian contribution to the actual scene of libraries and publishing on a global level.
The paper is based on taped qualitative interviews with Osho's librarians in Lao Tzu library supplemented by information collected from other resource persons worldwide. A major source of information on his book collecting has been the large number of biographies and documentaries on Osho, written by scholars and critics as well as followers. Scientific journals, magazines and newspapers have been retrieved for articles from 1970 onwards, and some information on the subject in Hindi press has been translated into English. Not unexpectedly each of these written acounts has their limitations and advantages, to a vast extent depending on the internalist vs. externalist origin of the source.
Field survey took place in Pune during the rainy season 1989 when the author was volunteering in Osho Research library, and further investigations have been made during seven recent visits to India and Lao Tzu library 1998-2005. The research experience reinforces cautions to be considered about the researcher's social relationship to the group and the topics being studied (2). As for the Hindi part of Osho's production, interviews were conducted in Pune, Bombay, Delhi and Jabalpur with Indians who have been collecting Osho's books since the 1950s. His library and early prints are documented on digital photos adjoining this article and presented on www (3). From my approach Osho will be dealt with as the greatest bookman of India and the most voracious reader woldwide in the 20th century. As for the message and ideology of his mystery school, including its religiopolitical connotations, this knowledge has to be found in his publications and elsewhere.
2.0 Reading, bookcollecting and early publications. The eldest of eleven children of a Jaina cloth merchant, Osho was born December 11th 1931 in Kuchwada, a small village in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Stories of his early years describe him as independent and rebellious as a child, questioning all social, religious and philosophical beliefs. His early interest for reading and story telling is solid anchored in the family's Jain culture, where daily reading was seen as a religious duty.
He had a late start at school, nine years old in 1940. From start of grade one he could read Hindi, and from grade five, when the teaching of English started, he could also here read the language right away, while others were still on ABC-level. In the fifth grade 1944 Rajneesh edited his first publication at the age of fourteen, a handwritten magazine Prayas [Effort], with titles and some pages printed in toy press with rubber letters. All articles were written by him, some in his own name (Rajneesh Mohan Chandra/RMC), some under pseudonym. The coloured magazine contained drawings, jokes, poetry, e.g. the folk song on the sixteenth-century warrior queen Rani Durgawati.
Gadarwara became his native town were he moved after the death of his grandfather. It was a town of 20.000 inhabitants about sixty miles from Jabalpur, offering a primary school, a high school and a public library. He was the youngest member to join the public library, and all 3000 books in Gadarwara Public Library [Sarvajanik Pustkalya] had been read by Osho when he was a teenager. Part of his own student book collection in Gadarwara, mostly books in Hindi, were donated to the public library when in 1951 he left for college in Jabalpur. His English books were moved with him to Jabalpur, where his reading of non-fiction in English was increasing over time.
During his years at high school in Gadarwara his room was full of books covering all walls. The floor too was packed, just leaving enough space for the bed which was standing in his library. In the beginning second hand books were bought due to his economy, and in Gadarwara second hand booksellers collected books for Osho at his request. A unique handwritten inventory from Osho's first library shows 1106 entries from the period 1943-1950. All books are entered according to number / title / author / price / subject.
"His passionate search made him explore books on every possible subject. Often he read all night, which occasionally gave him a headache, but he would apply a pain-killing balm to his forehead and continue reading. Then at dawn he would go to the river and take a swim. Although as a young boy he played games such as field hockey, soccer and volleyball, he was more interested in reading. Many of the books at the Gadarvara Public Library still have cards that show only Rajneesh's signature. The books ranged from politics and philosophy to science, religion to detective novels. Not only did he himself read widely, but he insisted that his friends also read something other than the usual textbooks. The Indian Nobel price winner in literature, Rabindranath Tagore, was one of his favorite authors. Because of his extraordinary reading habits, Osho rarely attended school. Not only that, he was branded a communist, for he read extensively in Marx and Engels and other communist literature, and was threatened with expulsion from school. With the help of his friends, he built a small library that contained mostly communist literature, and believing socialism to be the answer to the economic plight of India, Rajneesh leaned toward socialism and remained an atheist." (Joshi 1982, p.42).
The seven-year period from his fourteen to his twenty-one year was his search, during which period he experienced intense reading on all subjects and also experimented with meditation techniques, which finally lead to his enlightenment at 2 a.m. March 21th 1953. He was now at the age of twenty-one, while majoring in philosophy at D.N. Jain college in Jabalpur. His second magazine publication, the printed Mukul [Flower in Bud], was published in Jabalpur during 1953. From the content we find: On Kahlil Gibran, My Thoughts (on destroying the old to create the new), On Gandhiism, Life Death and Nature, jokes, poems and letters to the editor, all written and answered by the editor himself, including advertisements.
In the early fifties he wrote stories for Hindi newspapers, and to collect money during the student days in the 1950s he also worked as an assistant editor, writing and translating for the Jabalpur-based Hindi paper Nav-Bharat, and on Sundays in Jabalpur he went to Gurandi Market to buy secondhand books.
2.1 Teaching career and Bombay years With a B.A. in philosophy he graduates 1955 with honors from D.N. Jain College in Jabalpur and is soon invited by professor S.S. Roy to do his postgraduate study at Sagar University. Here he gets his master's degree in philosophy in 1957, and all the time he was immersing himself completely in the vast collection of the university library and enjoying the pleasant natural setting around Sagar. Rather than attending classes, he spent most of his time reading in the library, and even on holidays when the library was closed, he could be found reading on the library lawn or wandering alone into the nature.
Osho was enrolled as a lecturer of philosophy from September 1957 at Mahakoshal Mahavidyalaya [Arts College] in Jabalpur, a government college affiliated to Jabalpur University from where he later resigned as ass. professor in 1967, thus bringing his academic career to an end. When teaching he would sit cross legged on a table dressed in his lunghi, the traditional Indian dress he wore beautifully and naturally. The library most intensively used by Osho in Jabalpur was Rani Durgawati University Library, where he had 50-100 books passing over his still preserved reading desk on a weekly basis. Ram Chandra Naik, university librarian 1962-96, assisted him and also helped him organize his private library in Jabalpur.
Also he frequented Mahakoshal Mahavidyalaya Library, where the ledger kept record of the charging out of library books and thus provides a glimpse into the wide range of his reading these days. On the page from July/August 1958 Osho, with the signature Rajneesh, has taken out e.g. Studies in Dying Cultures, An Experiment in Time, In the House of Meditation, Confucius. The Man and the Mystery, and Attack upon Christendom by Soeren Kierkegaard, the Danish existentialist philosopher.
Small pamphlets - among them Taran-Vani [Sayings of Saint Taran] his first published discourse in Hindi - with Osho's studies and messages were published in Jabalpur 1955 onwards for the yearly cross-religious conferences Sarva Dharma Sammelan [All Religion Conferences], where he gave talks and occasionally presided.
Always travelling by train on second class, this mean of transportation provided at that time during the 1950s and 1960s a silent space for reading. On his travels he visited bookshops in other cities where ever he stayed to meet his listeners. In Jabalpur his favourite bookshop for Hindi books was Sushma Sahitya Mandir, on 1st floor in Jawaharganj Market, still with the same owner S.M.Jain and same interior as in the 1950s.
Rajneesh travelled far and wide conducting meditation camps all over India, following the first camp held 1964 in Ranakpur, Rajasthan. Lectures from this camp was to become his first book in Hindi: Sadhana Path Bombay 1966. [The Path of Self-Realization] (Rajneesh 1979). And the first booklet to be published with Osho's words in English was Philosophy of Non-Violence (Delhi 1968). A 33-page print dealing with fearlesness and courage as prerogatives for a spiritual life, all for a mere Rupia 3.00. To publish his books and organize his tours throughout India Jeevan Jagruti Kendra [Life Awakening Movement] was founded in 1965, later to be renamed Rajneesh Foundation in 1975 following the move to Pune.
Throughout his travels, Rajneesh spoke to vast audiences consisting of fifty thousand people and to small groups huddled in smoke filled rooms. He begins to address these gatherings in the open-air maidans of India's major cities, and four times a year he conducts intense ten-days meditation camps. Periodicals are from now on distributing the essence of his teachings: The quarterly Youti Shikka [Lamplight] in Bombay (June 1966-June 1974) and Yukrand [Youth Revolution], a monthly published in Jabalpur (June 1969-May 1975). During this period he was known as Acharya Rajneesh.
Almost four years after his resignation in 1967 from Jabalpur University, Osho decided to leave Jabalpur and find his own space in Bombay. He arrived at Woodlands to his appartment on 1st floor which had a huge drawing-cum-library room, all walls now to be furnished with glass-fronted shelves for books. On the end walls with windows towards the street and the backside, top shelves up to the very ceiling also gave room for his collection. This living room was sometimes used for lectures and celebrations, and he soon began regular evening discourses with fifty odd people about spiritual matters. The first intense and powerful dialogue in Woodlands, with questions and answers to seekers on deeply esoteric matters like kundalini, shaktipat and levels of consciousness, has been compiled and tranlated from Hindi in The Mystic Experience (Rajneesh 1977), and first discourse series in English to be held at Woodlands in 1971 was I am the Gate (Rajneesh 1975).
Lecturing in his mother tongue he was speaking the most flowing Hindi, ranging from Veda-like poetry and songs to the slang of the village dialogue. For early western disciples to be in his presence and listen to the flow of sounds in Hindi was reportedly enough, but as more and more overseas visitors and disciples came by, lectures were now alternating in Hindi and English. Discourses from this time taught Westeners to treasure the holy texts of India, e.g. the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali in ten volumes and Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, a five volume commentary on 112 meditation aphorisms published in The Book of Secrets (1974-75). The library and its range of literature is remembered by Khushwant Singh in his foreword to Life's Mysteries:
"I arrived at Woodlands at the appointed time and was shown into a large, airy room lined with books. I was told to wait a few minutes for the Acharya. I went round the bookshelves. Most of the collection was in English; a few in Sanskrit and Hindi. I was baffled by the range of subjects: religion, theology, philosophy, history, literature, biographies, autobiographies down to books on humour and crime. It occurred to me that I had not seen books in ashrams I had visited. Some had libraries meant for the use of disciples but most consisted of books on religious subjects or tracts summarizing sermons of their gurus. Other gurus read very little beyond Hindu scriptures, the Vedas, the Upanishads and the epics, and rarely bothered to read books on Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity or Islam. Rajneesh had. Consequently while others had only their religions or what they vaguely learnt at second hand, Rajneesh had studied them from original sources and evolved an eclectic faith of his own." (Osho 1995, p.vii).
Whenever changing his residence the opportunity was taken to weed and minimize his growing collection. During his years in Jabalpur the public library in Gadarwara was supplied with English non-fiction, and leaving for Bombay as his library was packed in boxes by his brothers to be sent to Woodlands, all English books were taken with him while spare copies and some old material in Hindi were donated to the university library in Jabalpur.
Reading in Woodlands took place in his study, a small private room also holding his bed. Here his favorite chair was found in a corner and also a small bookcase with the books and magazines he was working at. During his years in Bombay, July 1970 to March 1974, he had close encounters with individual seekers, and in the small study individuals were received for darshan with their master, and here also people were initiated into sannyas. Seekers from the West now came in scores with their different background in culture and family life, and for the development of Osho's method and understanding of the western mind, his reading had to be comprehensive. He was these days mostly studying philosophy and psychology to widen his understanding of this conditioning as an essential background for his new dialogue with westeners.
He might order books from catalogues but more often he went to bookshops himself purchasing books for his collection. Among his favorite bookshops in Bombay were Strand Book Stall and the smaller and more intimate New & Secondhand Bookshop. He also went to Chor Bazar, Thieves Market, for second hand books, and he is said to have bought home whole libraries from Thieves Market. Still he was buying secondhand books when needed, that is in case the book was sold out and in case of rare books. Later in Pune his favourite bookshop was Manneys Booksellers at Moledina Road, Punes's largest bookstore until Crossword was opened near the railway station.
When reading he had a pencil in his hand, holding the pencil paralel with two fingers. His marginal notes were in Hindi until his fifth grade at school, from then on notes were in English. He was reading at high speed and still being able to make notes and collect quotations while reading. Many of the marked books in Lao Tzu library have small red and blue dots that Osho placed in the margin to note significant passages, while others have comments at the end. The dottting was also used in the margin of the sutras he was to lecture on: The upward pointing triangle, the downward pointing triangle, the circle, the circle (solid) within the circle, the square, solid and empty, an upward and a downwards triangle together etc.
In Woodlands his librarian Karuna replaced the former registration in ledgers by two drawers with cards, the shelving of the labelled books being alphabetically according to title. Together with his entire library, card catalogue and ledgers were all taken to Pune in March 1974.
The Indian Nobel price winner in literature, Rabindranath Tagore, was one of his favorite authors, and in Books I have loved (Rajneesh 1985) he dictates the story of his lifelong bookloving affair. The book itself is dedicated to the memory of Alan Watts and his effort to bridge the gap between eastern and western thinking and spirituality. Books mentioned here by Osho include a number of principal religious texts alternating with western and eastern authors. Among the authors and titles are: Walt Whitman, Lewis Carrol, Friedrich Nietzsche, Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Book of Mirdad, Lao Tzu, Kahil Gibran, D.T.Suzuki, Herman Hesse, Jean Paul Sartre, Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Samuel Beckett, Karl Marx, Turgenev, Herbert Marcuse and Aristotle.
3.0 Osho Lao Tzu library In the pleasant greenery of Koregaon Park, with its wide and tree-lined roads designed as park residence in Pune by the British in 1922 and close to the Mutha river, Osho's former commune has had its expanding premises since 1974. And here Osho Lao Tzu library houses Osho's impressive book collection.
The house used to belong to a Maharaja, but now it has turned more into a shell around the growing library, as the whole interior is dominated by library matters with fully packed shelves along all corridors. To the outside jungle garden visual contact is overlooking waterfalls and marble rocks in the wild scenery. In a corner a door is still leading to Osho´s privacy, and in the former Chuang Tzu auditorium now a Samadhi has been constructed for the ashes of Osho.
The collection dates back to the time when Osho was still a student. Living in his father's house he was destined to start his own collection to supplement his extensive use of public libraries. From his early years he wanted the whole house full of books, and a similar process later seems to have taken place in Lao Tzu house. Also here the library has taken over the whole house and 'corridor library' may be the proper term to identify the physical layout of Lao Tzu library. Each section of the library has been given a name: Ramakrishna, Kabir Balcony, Sanai Corridor, Rabia Corridor, Vimalkirti Wing, Devateertha Wing and Maitreya Wing.
According to official statistics for Lao Tzu library it contains about 100.000 volumes, on my closer to 80.000. Earlier figures for the growth of the book stock are: 1974:20.000 volumes, 1977:33.000 volumes and by 1981:50.000 volumes. His tastes were eclectic, ranging from philosophy and religion to psychology, literature, history, the arts, politics and poetry. Acordingly the collection is mostly English non-fiction, but also books in Hindi has remained, all adding up to two kilometers of shelves. Valuable parts are the four copies of all Osho's published discourses in Hindi as well as in English, translations hereof, darshan diaries published and unpublished, theses and full sets of Rajneesh/Osho magazines internationally. Also biographies and secondary literature on Osho or mentioning Osho.
All books have been read and often signed and dated by Osho, except about 10.000 titles which have been accessioned 1987 onwards. From early Pune phase (1974-81) it is still remembered how whole trolleys with books were taken into his room:
"Bhagwan was said to read ten to fifteen books a day in those early Pune years; the library in his house was certainly immense. It was a large, marbletiled room which was lined with glass-fronted bookshelves and opened out onto a beautiful balcony. When the library had first been set up, it was with the books that Bhagwan had collected as a student and later as a professor - in the region of twenty thousand." (Forman 1987).
Some 3.500 books contain various styles of his signature in colour or as part of a painting, and a full-page painting by Osho inside the cover is found in 900 books. These special books with amazing paintings and colored signatures are kept in the library's best protected central hall Ramakrishna and are definitely the highlights of the library (Photo).
Special library codes (Attributes):
OS - OLD SIGNATURE
'Rajneesh' or 'Rajneesh Chandra Mohan' etc, or three-part hieroglyphic style with color inside
NS - NEW SIGNATURE
Regular signature with color inside (many of these are exhibited around the commune as silkscreen prints from Gatasansa (Japan))
PA - PAINTING
Signature with color outside the signature. (Often is a full page painting done on the end page(s) of the book).
LS - LATEST SIGNATURES
Signatures from 1988 onwards (after the World Tour). New books only.
LP - LATEST PAINTING
Airbrush paintings done in 1988 (after The World Tour).
As of 9 May 1994 this is the count of:
Old Signatures(OS) 844BM - Bookmarked
New Signatures(NS) 1487BS - By Sannyasin
Paintings(PA) 645BO - Books On Osho
Latest Signatures (LS) 180BZ - Osho Mentioned
Latest Paintings(LP) 13SA - Signed by Author
Fig.1. Special books in Ramakrishna with signatures and paintings are identified with these library codes (attributes) in the database of Osho Lao Tzu library.
End of Fig. 1.
So in Lao Tzu House each day new books were brought from the library to his private room where also a cupboard was found. Following Eastern tradition his reading never took place in the library itself, but in his privacy in Lao Tzu. It constituted the major part of his daily schedule in Bombay and Pune until 1981 where his eyes were so weak that he had to stop reading.
Figures for his total reading over the years are not unexpectedly inconsistent, but it will be in the region of 150-200.000 books, based on 5-10.000 books each year over a period from the 1950s to 1981. A kind of speedreading had been developed which allowed him not only with a photographic memory to remember what he read, but also to underline and add special coloured dots in the margin in his dialogue with the text.
3.1 Interior design and library technology.
As a book connaisseur his whole life Osho was giving specific instructions for the style and character of the library's interior design and for various techniques to be used. Among other features the books are arranged on the shelves according to size and colour. Two books of the same size or colour are not to be placed next to each other, so the effect is that of waves going up and down, adding a lighter impression of the packed shelves than usually seen in libraries. As this shelving system also separates individual volumes within series, for practical use certain modifications have been made to the basic principle.
His priorities for the library were aesthetics combined with cleanliness. This general aesthetic approach also influenced his choice of materials and colours to create a lightness that is rare for a library. In early days Ramakrishna was arranged more like a study, with all wooden shelves and cupboard doors in cream colouring, a colour used throughout the whole corridor library. Following the redesigning of Lao Tzu House in 1987 the library expanded, and Ramakrishna was rearranged into a more spacious main hall of the library; the colouring of all wooden shelves and cupboards now changing to a metallic silver paint or replaced by aluminium and glass. In order to create reflections and a more spacy interior, mirrors were placed behind the books on shelves now made of glass throughout the library. Of all libraries I've observed worldwide, including China and Japan, public as well as academic, no one comes close to the beauty and lightness of Osho Lao Tzu library in India.
During the 1970s the book drying procedure following the rainy season continued the old tradition from his father's house, now taking place on the flat roof of Lao Tzu House. This was of importance as no smell was to be in the books due to his allergy. On the roof we now find equipment for disinfection of library books, and the whole Lao Tzu House, including all library facilities, has been air conditioned and humidity control provided for all rooms containing books.
Registration of library books started from scratch in 1987 as handwritten files and card catalogue from Bombay and early Pune phase, made by his first librarian Lalita, were no longer existing. Two databases were designed and information retrieval made possible using as search terms either title, author, year of publication or subject category. The books are entered in the database under 400 subject main- and subcategories in a thesaurus made up to suit the specific needs of the library, the classification system being modified and improved over time. Books in Hindi are presently in the classification system, but not included in the databases.
In the database the location of a specific book is identified by name of room, shelf section clockwise from corners and a ABCD identification of the shelves within a section. Supplemented by the librarian's general IR-feeling the system is working fine, but as most books were read by Osho right upon their arrival to the library, the daily retrieval have been quite limited over the years.
The acquisition of new books was based on requiries from Osho supplemented by the librarians. From 1967 he was going through Books in Print and his marginal notes are found in the volumes. Books were ordered in hundreds in one order from Bowker, later using cd-rom for book selection. After he stopped reading in 1981, the acquisition of books continued until 1989 only, whereas the accession of new editions and translations of his own books is still ongoing, with the rate of one new translated title being added per day.
Solid works of reference are lined up on the airy glassshelves: Two full editions of Encyclopedia Britannica (14th ed.1968 & 15th ed.1974ff), The Oxford English Dictionary (12 vol.), Encyclopedia of Religion (16 vol.) and for selection as mentioned: Books in Print (1967-89). Also The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (30 vol.) are included. According to some interviewees, even encyclopedias were read by Osho. At least they were signed and referred to.
Having read a book Osho signed it with a colour signature, sometimes adding a painting or some comments or drawing at the end. He used 'Old signatures' in three parts and 'New signatures' in one flow. The shift from old to new signatures was a continous process, and we see a gradually change of his signature from a more simple in the beginning to elaborated calligraphic signatures coloured with felt pen. Also old signatures are occasionally coloured. One of the latest signatures is from 20.12.1987 over four pages in a Japanese book.
Old signatures had dates in Hindi, changing from the front to the back of the book. Most books in the library are signed with dates in Hindi in Hindi books and in English in English books respectively. In the second half of 1998 all Osho's paintings in books have been removed from their books of origin to be digitized and sent to London for scanning. Three sets of slides of the paintings were already done earlier, so the books did not have to be opened for watching his paintings.
Timely before his passing away in January 1990 he sent a message 27.11.1989 to the librarian on the future use of the library's treasures: When he is gone, everything should be locked away; only people writing on Osho should be allowed in; permissions should be rarely granted with only three books off the shelves at a time.
Today Lao Tzu library is basically a protected archive of Osho's production being used for copyright-, publication- and research purposes with complete sets of publications in English and Hindi available for research. By no means this is a library open to the general public, as its use is strictly limited to disciples for their publication and research work. Only one or two non-disciples, in casu American scholars, have been allowed to perform research for their books within Osho Lao Tzu library.
Present research projects in the collections of the library are the history of signatures, missing acquisition dates and also a need remains to register thoroughly all dot-books in the collection. Also the older Hindi part of the collection is apt for further research, containing sutras, the Ghita, the Upanishad, Tagore, poetry and even yearbooks from Science Academy Award.
The co-dependency of access to a physical library and spiritual development is of intriguing nature. In Norbulinka in Lhasa, a physical combination of library and meditation room is found in the private quarters of the 13th and 14th Dalai Lamas. The meditation room of the 13th Dalai Lama is placed on second floor above his library floor in Tuzin Palace, and the meditation room of the 14th Dalai Lama adjoining his library room on the secluded top of the New Summer Palace. In Lao Tzu House no specific meditation room was needed as the resident's enlightenment made this arrangement unnecessary. An enlightened state of consciousness no longer requires a specific setting for meditation, and the library compasses, as we have seen, most of the interior space in the mansion.
His ashes are now kept in the new Samadhi entered through Vimalkirti wing and the Dentist's Room. Here several daily meditations are attended by disciples, passing silently through the outer parts of Lao Tzu library on their way to the Samadhi; an inner sanctuary located within the proper sanctuary of the library with its distinguished books filled with his presence and energy on every inch of the corridors.
4.0 The media publishing. Next to Osho's own experience, his extensive reading was a cornerstone in his lifelong transmission of ancient spiritual traditions. For years he would give a 90 minutes discourse every morning, in the 1970s Pune alternating between Hindi and English. These discourses offered insights into all major spiritual paths, including Yoga, Zen, Taoism, Tantra and Sufism. He also spoke on Gautam Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tzu and other mystics.
So Osho is by no means an author in the usual sense, as he never wrote a book himself. All published books (some 600 titles to his name) are verbatim transcriptions of his talks - 7.000 of his discourses also being available on digital audio tape and 1.700 on digital video tape. The discourses in Hindi from meditation camps in the 1960s, and from Bombay 1970-1974 in English or Hindi, are published in a number of early and rare booklets, which are by now collectors' items. These early publications also include intimate handwritten letters between master and diciples.
In Hindi, Osho has in his early Pune phase 1974-81 devoted fourteen volumes to the Bhagavad Gita (he has spoken on all eighteen chapters of the Gita), ten volumes to Mahavir and another forty volumes to other Indian mystics. In English, he has devoted eighteen volumes to Gautam Buddha, seven to Jesus, eleven to Taoism and twenty-one volumes to Zen masters and their stories. During his seven years in Pune he spoke over 33 million words in daily discourses and evening darshans, averaging 13.000 words per day, seven days a week. Not using any notes for his lectures they were always spontaneous, with only sutras, jokes and questions written down on his clip-board. And during discourses he answers more than 10.000 questions from disciples and visitors.
Discourses in Hindi on the Bhagavad Gita were the first to be held upon his arrival to Pune in March 1974, and in May he launched his first series of English discourses, later to be published and entitled My Way: The Way of the White Clouds, (Rajneesh 1975). In the evening darshans he answered more intimate questions on personal matters such as love, jealousy and meditation. These darshans are compiled in 64 darshan diaries, of which 46 are published. The first series to be recorded and later published in English was Hammer on the Rock (Rajneesh 1976).
In Pune the discourses were first set in Lao Tzu House, then in the new constructed Chuang Tzu Auditorium (also part of his residence in Lao Tzu House, now Samadhi), and still later in the first Buddha Hall to be erected as people came to the ashram in growing numbers during the 1970s. They came for discourses, meditations and a variety of therapy groups offered by leading therapists originating from Quaesitor and Tavistock Institute in London and from Esalen in Big Sur. With many psychotherapists of the New Age movement going to Pune, Osho was uniting eastern meditation with the modern theraphy which had grown out of the Human Potential movement from the 1960s, making Pune the world's largest center for theraphy and human growth (Amitabh 1982).
Soon documentaries describing these events were in the press: Lord of the Full Moon (Divya 1980) offers an intimate insight in the life around a spiritual master and in The Sound of Running Water (Asha 1980) we have the authoritative lavishly illustrated photo biography of the first Pune phase, but to be found only in few academic libraries worldwide. If a biography can be made of Osho, The Awakened One. The Life and Work of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Joshi 1982) is the most informative source, later supplemented by his life story compiled from own lectures Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic (Sarito 2000). The virgin biographical print from early Bombay is Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh - a Glimpse, a four-page introduction by Swami Yoga Chinmaya included in early publications by Jeevan Jagruti Kendra in Bombay, and first comprehensive study is The Mystic of Feeling (Prasad 1978) supplemented by Rajneesh. A Glimpse (Vora 1970).
In 1981 he develops a degenerative back condition, and in March, after giving daily discourses for nearly 15 years, Osho begins a period of silence. In view of the possible need for emergency surgery, and on the recommendation of his doctors, he travels to the United States and settles in the desertlike highlands of Oregon. On October 30th, 1984, Osho ends his three and a half years of self-imposed silence, and starts speaking to small groups of people who gather at his residence. The Rajneesh Bible paperback series (1985) from Oregon are publishing questions from disciples and answers from Osho, but it's thought-provoking that during his stay in the United States and the following World Tour, no sutras were ever commented upon by Osho.
Max Brecher in his Passage to America (Brecher 1993) has produced an in-depth account of the treatment of Osho during his imprisonment for immigration fraud in the United States. No wonder Osho's challenging of the American way of life made him an unwelcome visitor, and in the autumn of 1985 he was forced to leave and embark on a World Tour. The White House during Reagan's office had an obvious Roman Catholic inclination and keen interest in the expulsion of Osho, and the underlying strategic alliance of the 1980s with the Vatican is thoroughly documented in Carl Bernstein's His Holiness. John Paul II and the Hidden History of Our Time (Bernstein 1996)(4). During the subsequent world tour Osho was deported or denied entry in twenty-one democratic countries in Europe and on other continents due to diplomatic pressure from the United States, and discourse series were these turbulent days held in Manali, Kathmandu, Crete and Uruguay, the latter series resuming esoteric issues not being dealt with since early seventies in Bombay.
The move to Pune in early January 1987 describes the latest phase of his work, the creation of a mystery school. In this second phase in Pune (1987-90) the first year was very intense with both morning and evening discourses each day up to Om Shanti Shanti Shanti (1988) in March 1988. From now on only evening discourses were held in Buddha Hall on a daily basis, until this continuity was partly interrupted due to the decline in Osho's health from October 1988 until the last discourse in April 1989. He was in these periods resting to recover from the severe effects of his mistreatment while in U.S. custody, which by now were strongly influencing his health. The last discourse by Osho was delivered on 10.04.1989 p.m., finishing the series The Zen Manifesto (Osho 1989). Early in 1990 his body becomes noticeably weaker, and on January 19th he leaves his body.
4.1 Editing and publishing As we have seen, Osho had loved books since he was a student. Later especially his own were in focus, and he took an intimate personal interest in each one, involving himself in every phase of the production right from choosing the subject. He made title selection and design up to his very last days, and was still giving instructions for revamps of some of his older works on the day he left his body. 'How does this sound?' he would ask when choosing a title. Each night he would check how many more talks were left to the end of the series so he could round the book off.
He was not fond of paperbacks, so much effort was put in the production of exquisite hard-bound editions, himself proposing a cost price policy for the sale of his books. Jacketdesign and cover photo were made from his suggestions, and also the logo for Rebel Publishing House was designed by him. The time formerly used for reading in early Pune was from 1981 after the weakening of his eyesight spent on his love affair in the design of his books, and he now spent more time with his secretaries working on his books than on anything else.
Quite an amount of human resources has been invested in the recording, transcribing and editing of Osho's discourses, darshans and press conferences and the process of transforming and editing the spoken words to the printed text has turned out to be a delicate matter. The editing has in recent years seen a questionable loosening up of the guidelines laid out by Osho. He was always very concerned that his words were preserved as they were spoken, and often he talked about the misfortunes that befell people like Jesus, whose teachings have been recorded and filtered through the misunderstandings of his followers so many times that we really have very little way of knowing what he actually said. For years the job of the editors has been to work with verbatim transcriptions of tapes from discourse recordings to create books. Osho's instructions were to "make it good English, but don't change anything." What he meant was that the editors should fix the English grammar and in doing so be careful not to change the meaning.
Keeping up with bibliographic control on this flow of compilations and abridged new editions is quite a challenge, supplemented by other features like frequent change of title to promote sales, and the lack of publishing year in books and/or lack of dates on lectures. They were, according to Osho, not old but timeless. Being a booklover himself, Osho was definitely not sparing future bibliographers with these changes, and in retrieving his publishing also a change of author names have to be taken into consideration as search terms. Editions published from 1998 onwards are with the name Osho in all questions if mentioned, and the former address to Bhagwan is now omitted (5).
The media- and political upheaval following Osho's arrest and deportation from the United States in 1985 had made it evident for Osho's followers that they were to translate and publish books and other media all by themselves, as the doors to the publishing houses had effectively been slammed.
Today the Osho International Foundation is primarily involved with mainstream publishers who have broad access to distributors and booksellers in nearly every country of the world. Osho now appears in the catalogues of the biggest publisher in Italy (Mondadori, Rizzoli), the biggest in Spanish language (Grupao Planeta, Editorial Norma, Random House), the top publishers in Brazil (Ediouro), the largest in Germany (Ullstein) and two of the top ten publishers in America (St. Martin's Press & Random House). In Japan the publishing of books especially on Zen has been booming ever since the Zen Institute in 1989 published their first series by Osho, thus bringing these new interpretations of Zen back to its country of origin (6).
Osho assigned during his lifetime the copyrights to his work to a foundation in the United States while resident there, and the rights were later transferred to a Swiss-based trust and he directed that they remain there. Copyright and trade marking has in fact recently become a hot issue between Osho International Foundation in New York - with registrations in the Library of Congress and a 1999-award from Business Week for best office interior design and Zen ambience - and an Indian wing of the movement centered around Osho World in New Delhi, claiming that the words of Osho cannot be copyrighted and should by no means be managed from an off-India headquarter profiting from what belongs to all mankind. These are really delicate matters and not to be dealt with in depths in this article.
4.2 Audio/video production and IT In essence, Osho is not an author but a speaker, and he described how in the future people would not be reading books but watch him on TV, video or www and listen to audio tapes. In addition to published books, video has the unique feature of bringing also his plastic gestures, movements and whole expressiveness which can now be accessed via the internet. It is surprising that during the short time he was speaking, recording technology advanced quite tremendously on audio, video and later www, and he was often pointing to the new possibilities for dissemination provided by the technological development.
From early meditation camps audiotapes with his discourses are preserved dating back to the mid-sixties, but not until Woodlands in Bombay 1972 do we find some regularity in audiorecording. Also from Bombay celebration music with drumming for Kirtan meditation are recorded, and as many people were constantly recording Osho on spool tape in various quality these were later to be remixed from different sources. Celebration and meditation music by the German composer Chaitanya Deuter is a central field for audio publishing, alongside with classical Indian music recorded live in Pune and elsewhere.
A complete archive of Osho's discourses in English includes 3.050 discourses recorded on nearly 7000 audiotapes (8000 hours), and 1.700 videotaped discourses (2500 hours) from 1977 onwards. The earliest known video footage of Osho was taken in Bombay in 1972.
Audio discourses in English and Hindi were the first to be preserved onto Digital Audio Tape (DAT). As for the video archives the first aim was to convert all 1.700 original recordings in seven different standards and formats onto Betacam SP broadcast quality tape, using a studio facility in London. During this process the old videotapes from Pune received noise reduction, image enhancement and colour correction. Once the original videos of the discourses had been converted to Betacam SP, the new master tapes were used to create sets of video discourses on Super VHS or other formats.
Since the early 1990s the digital conversion of audio and video tapes has been carried out to prevent decay and loss of the original analogue recordings. There are now 35 copies of the complete digital video archive, as well as 12 full archive audio sets in English and 14 in Hindi. The source is still the original recordings of Osho's words, the socalled 'masters of the Master' now kept in a high security environmentally-controlled facility in North America, also used by Hollywood companies like MGM to store their video and film originals.
What can be done technically in converting formats is quite remarkable. For example the video produced in 1991 about his early years as a spiritual master The Rising Moon (Osho 1991) was compiled entirely from old film footage and converted to video in a Dutch studio. More old film footage has been collected in England to be converted in the same way.
Attentively Osho followed the development in new communication technologies and until his final days he was stressing that his people should have the latest technology. A place has been created on world wide web at www.osho.com (renamed June 1999 from osho.org opened in December 1995) and naturally Osho's books are a vital part of the site. Included are a general resource library for all his books, a book catalogue a book ordering facility for virtual shoppers. The site now offers links to full length discourses in audio and video format in near cd quality sound, aiming at eventual availability of the complete archive. Presently 227 titles in Hindi and in English are available in The Complete Archive of Osho Library, making it the web's biggest library of a single author (7). 2500 downloadable audio talks are available on-line, 150 audiobooks with discourses are available in mp3 format, and 65 e-books in Microsoft Reader format from Barnes & Noble are also offered, starting with four first titles in 2000. The first edition of Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic (Sarito 2000) was sold out and during the reprint of the hardcover version, St. Martin's Press also prepared the title for current e-book formats, and accordingly the book was moved to an early release and experimental sales in electronic version in mid-August 2000 on the Barnes & Noble website (8).
Outside the gates it cannot be denied that Osho's books with their unorthodox views have been widely banned by e.g. the Theosophical Society and not unexpectedly also by the Vatican. As a result of inconsistency in library selection policies and intellectual freedom, some of the primary sources mentioned in this article may be difficult to locate in national and academic libraries worldwide. The largest public collection of Osho's books resides at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek in the Netherlands, followed by the Library of Congress in the United States and the Deutsche Bibliothek in Germany.
A few remarks will be needed also on the representation of Osho in Indian libraries.
In Lok Sabha, two of the nation's great sons have been honoured in a unique way. Not unexpectedly a complete set of Mahatma Ghandi's books is placed in the library of the parliament (relocated 2001), but we also find Osho enrolled in the special collections of the library with more than 200 titles in Hindi and English, as well as audio/visual material. Naturally, this collection is for MP's only.
In Mumbai a brief survey July 2005 in the holdings of University Library (Fort Campus), Jawaharlal Nehru Library (Kalina Campus), State Central Library and Asiatic Society Library revealed a total of 31 titles by Osho. The titles were in Hindi (2 titles), Marathi (1 title) and English (28 titles), the Fort Campus library in Rajabai Tower having the most comprehensive collection. In the libraries' card catalogues some misleading references were offered, like Sharma (Govind) "Rajneesh" and Rajnish, and not unexpectedly Osho's books could be found alternating under Osho, Rajneesh, Osho Rajneesh and Acharya Rajneesh. This small survey indicates that the research into Osho as a bookman and/or mystic is by no means an easy walkover in his beloved India itself.
The author of this paper is most grateful for any documentation or bibliographic information that might be provided by library professionals in India with insight in this intriguing field of the merits of the Indian bookman par excellence.
5.0 Perspectives Considering the vast space for interpretation and distortion during the collection of sayings and anecdotes from other founders, the case of Osho's is quite a different one. It may be the first time ever that the entire literature and spoken words of a mystic and master have been recorded and preserved for everyone to refer. On paper, on audio- and videotapes and in electronic form, as we have seen.
His achievements make him an intellectual Indian giant of the 20th century on a global level, although this view is at present not shared in the West. This may partly be due to the silencing in the media following the religio-political upheaval in the United States in the 1980s. In his own words, Osho in 1989 said that he wanted us to read his books to understand his philosophy. These were his last words and to read them we would gain a greater understanding of what is happening to us. Keeping the books and reading them again from time to time, we would find new insights every time we read, and we would understand more and more according to his directions, as the books were far from novels to be read once and then thrown away (9).
The work on editing and publishing also the remaining parts of his discourses in Hindi is presently centered in Multimedia in Pune and in New York. Some major issues to be addressed in the future are the policy on copyright versus Osho World in Delhi, and the present management's tendency to take a stand with somewhat low priority of the early phases of Osho's work before 'cap-time', phases where Hindi was the language and Indians the devotees before the influx of westeners.
So these years the control of Osho's work and interpretation of his intentions - also regarding the future use of his library - are highly charged items, not unlike the story of other religious written traditions. Osho has made it clear, that his teachings speak for themselves and that whatever interpretation is needed, they are to be made by the individual, and not by any intermediary or priest. The importance of keeping Osho's words inviolate to ensure a reliable record in the future is what seems to be at stake in this debate.
This explorative paper has been focusing on the reader, his library and the media publishing and not on his ideology. Whether we have been talking about the work of an enlightened master or not, it is up to each and everyone to decide from the best of his abilities. On this delicate point it can be assuring to refer to keypersons within the lineage of ancient spiritual traditions who certainly do bring their homage to Osho:
He "is an enlightened master who is working with all possibilities to help humanity overcome a difficult phase in developing consciousness," (The 14th Dalai Lama (1935-). Dharamsala, India).
The stepping stones for further personal and/or scholarly discovery have by now been laid out, and they may indeed lead deep into the vast spiritual heritage of India.
6.0 Notes: 1. Osho was formerly known as Acharya Rajneesh (1966-1971) and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (1971-1988). In 1988 he played with a number of name changes until he finally fell at ease with Osho. The name has been used historically in the Far East, meaning The Blessed One on Whom the Sky Showers Flowers, and Osho also recognized the other connotation deriving from William James' word oceanic, dissolving into the ocean. The name Osho is used throughout this paper.
2. For evaluation of validity and reliability, the writer has since 1975 been doing research in library science as ass. professor at The Royal School of Library and Information Science, Denmark (www.pierreevald.dk). He has been committed as a devotee of Osho since 1981. Without this connection to the movement the insight and observations presented in this paper would not have been possible. The potential disadvantages associated with this perspective, naturally has to be kept in mind throughout the paper, as the identity of the participant-observer influences what is available to be seen as well as how that may be interpreted.
3. 10 photos for this article are presented on www.pierreevald.dk All photos are from: Osho. Early prints and manuscripts / Pierre Evald. Version 3.0. Denmark, Aalborg, January 2005. 66 photos + text. Unpublished.
4. Brecher (1993) and Bernstein (1996) are reviewed by this author in: Two tales - one story. A review of strategic alliances and spirituality. In: Allah to Zen / Unmani & Keerti (editors). Delhi, Diamond Pocket Books, 2000. Page 165-75. Also on www: www2.db.dk/pe/twotales.htm 5. Reference lists in the research library include: First Editions (2p), Early Editions + Miscellaneous (2p), Early Compilations (5p), Inventory List Books: Discourse Series (8p), Inventory List of Translated Books of/on Osho (8p), Listing of Title Changes (1p), Topics: Book Title and Chapter (23p), Highly Recommended Discourses (27p), Listing of Discourse Series in Chronological Order (4p), Darshan Diary Names Restored (21p), Listing of Darshan Diaries in Chronological Order (2p).
6. Statistics: Including compilations about 300 English and 300 Hindi titles have been published. Sales figures for 2004 show that Osho International Foundation sold more than 6 million books in more than 120 countries with translations in 46 languages, and they signed 390 new publishing agreements. Currently Korean, Chinese, Russian and Spanish are fast expanding languages. Over the years app. 25 million copies have been sold. In India Osho's books are published in 12 languages by 36 publishers, and 400 audiotitles are currently published by 6 leading audio publishers. About 60 titles with discourses in Hindi are by now translated into English with more in process.
7. Other websites with bibliographical information and full text include: www.oshoworld.com (240 titles in full text), and www.sannyas.org (with 2900+ editions in 22 languages). In Multimedia in Pune, the database English Osho Books is the most complete bibliographical source of all international editions in English.
8. In 2000 a biography of Osho with a selection of texts somewhat more in accordance with the 'Hindi Canon' was published on www free to download in Zip format (approximately 2MB): Osho's Life. An Anthology of Osho's Life From His Own Books, 1500 pages of Osho's own words in chronological order including many quotations and references on his library, books and reading (located October 2005 on www.oshoworld.com).
9. Indirect quotations from: Distribution advice. Pune, 20.08.1990.
7.0 References (Amitabh 1982) Shree Rajneesh ashram: a provocative community / Prem Amitabh, Sw. in: Journal of Humanistic Psychology. Vol.22, No.1, Winter 1982. Page 19-42.
(Asha 1980) The Sound of Running Water. A Photo biography of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his Work 1974-1978 / Prem Asha, Ma (editor). Pune, Rajneesh Foundation, 1980. 529 pages. 30x35 cm. [First edition 1.000 numbered copies].
(Bernstein 1996) His Holiness. John Paul II and the Hidden History of Our Time / Carl Bernstein & Marco Politi. New York, Doubleday, 1996. 582 pages.
(Brecher 1993) A Passage to America / Max Brecher. Bombay, Book Quest Publications, 1993. 407 pages.
(Divya 1980) Lord of the Full Moon. Life with Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh / Prem Divya, Ma. Pune, Rajneesh Foundation, 1980. 488 pages. [First edition December 1980 1000 copies].
(Evald 2001) India's greatest bookman / Pierre Evald. in: LOGOS. The journal of the world book community. Vol. 12, No. 1. Page 49-51.
(Evald 2005) Osho Lao Tzu library: The Library, Reading and Publishing of an Indian Bookman and Mystic / Pierre Evald. in: The Private Library. Summer 2005. Page 73-96.
(Forman 1987) Bhagwan. The Buddha for the Future / Juliet Forman. Cologne, Rebel Publishing House, 1987. 541 pages.
(Gussner 1993) The work of Osho Rajneesh: a thematic overview. in: The Rajneesh Papers. Studies in a New Religious Movement / Susan J. Palmer & Arvind Sharma (editors). Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, 1993. 188 pages.
(Joshi 1982) The Awakened One. The Life and Work of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh / Vasant Joshi. New York, Harper & Row, 1982. 210 pages.
(Osho 1991) The Rising Moon 1968-1975 / Osho. Cologne, Rebel Distribution, 1991. Videogram. All formats. 34 min.
(Osho 1995) Life's Mysteries: an Introduction to the Teachings of Osho / Osho. London, Penguin Books, 1995. 250 pages.
(Osho Rajneesh 1989) The Zen Manifesto. Freedom from Oneself / Osho Rajneesh. Cologne, Rebel Publishing House, 1989. 296 pages.
(Osho Times) Make Me Available: The Story of Osho Publishing. in: Osho Times, January 2004. Page 20-22.
(Prasad 1978) Rajneesh. The Mystic of Feeling: a study in Rajneesh's Religion of Experience / Ram Chandra Prasad. Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, 1978. 239 pages. [First edition; Delhi, 1970].
(Rajneesh 1975) I am the Gate / Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Pune, Rajneesh Foundation, 1975. 230 pages. [Second edition 1990].
(Rajneesh 1975) My Way. The Way of the White Clouds / Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Pune, Rajneesh Foundation, 1975. 494 pages.
(Rajneesh 1976) Hammer on the Rock. A Darshan Diary / Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Pune, Rajneesh Foundation, 1976. 451 pages.
(Rajneesh 1979) The Perfect Way / Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, 1979. 226 pages. [First edition in English with alt.t.: The Path of Self-Realization. Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, 1966. First edition in Hindi: Sadhana Path. Bombay, 1965. 154 pages].
(Rajneesh 1985) Books I have loved / Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Rajneesh Foundation International, Oregon, 1985. 281 pages. [Second edition 1998].
(Sarito 2000) Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic / Sarito Carol Neiman (editor). New York, St. Martin's Press, 2000. 302 pages, ill.