Pierre Evald The Royal School of Library and Information Science. 2, Sohngaardsholmsvej, 9000 Aalborg. Abstract


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Chapter –53


Pierre Evald

The Royal School of Library and Information Science. 2, Sohngaardsholmsvej, 9000 Aalborg.


The present paper discuss about Osho , his life and Osho Lao Tzu Library. Osho’s words on print, audio ,vedio and www , publications are on global level.

Key words : Osho , Osho Lao Tzu Library .

It was years before Osho became known as a provocative speaker and controversial mystic that he began his lifelong obsession with book collecting and reading (1). He was to become the greatest bookman of India, the most voracious reader of the 20th century and the owner of Osho Lao Tzu library in Pune, which may actually be the largest private library worldwide. This bibliographic essay will present the publishing of his words in print, audio, video and on www, an act of publication bound to be taken into consideration when mapping the Indian contribution to the present publishing on a global level.

The paper is based on the author's own observations and audio-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 has been the large number of biographies and documentaries on Osho, written by scholars and critics as well as devotees. 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 accounts has their limitations and advantages, depending also on the internalist versus 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. This was during a rare and colourful phase of organizational changes, when Osho was preparing his sannyasins on his disappearing and setting up structures for the continuation of his work. Further investigations have been made during seven recent visits to India and Lao Tzu library 1998-2005. Still, the research process reinforces cautions to be considered by the reader 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 have been conducted in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi and Jabalpur with Indians who have been collecting Osho's writings since the 1950s. His library and early prints are documented on digital photos presented on www (3). So in this essay Osho will be dealt with as the greatest bookman of India, but as for the message and ideology of his mystery school, including its religio-political connotations, this knowledge has to be found in his publications and absorbed by each individual according to his disposition and capability.
Repeatedly Osho has claimed that anyone trying to make the attempt of writing his biography is bound to become insane. Still, let us give it a decent try in this bibliographic essay. And before we dive into the vast ocean of his publications we'll have to get acquainted with a brief outline of his library and his extensive reading.

Since 1974 Osho Lao Tzu library in Koregaon Park, Pune, has displayed Osho's impressive book collection. The house used to belong to a Maharaja, but since long 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.

The collection dates back to the time when Osho was still a student. From early childhood, when living in his father's house, he was destined to start his own collection to supplement his extensive use of public libraries. In 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.
During his years at high school in Gadarwara near Jabalpur his room was full of books covering all walls. The floor too was packed, just leaving enough space for the bed which was in fact standing in his library. Later on when studying and teaching in Jabalpur, the public library in Gadarwara was supplied with lots of his weeded English non-fiction, and when leaving for Mumbai in 1970 all English books were taken with him, while spare copies and some old material in Hindi were donated to the university library in Jabalpur.
In Mumbai at Woodlands his apartment on 1st floor had a huge drawing-cum-library room, all walls 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. 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 old ledgers were all taken to Pune in March 1974.

Here at his Pune residence in Lao Tzu House each day new books were brought from the library to his private room. 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 Pune until early 1981 where his eyes were so weak that he had to stop reading.

As a book connaiseur 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 much lighter impression of the packed shelves than usually seen in libraries. Generally spoken, his priorities for the library were aesthetics combined with cleanliness.
In official statistics for Lao Tzu library it contains about 100.000 volumes, yet on my estimate closer to 80.000. His tastes were eclectic, ranging from philosophy and religion to psychology, literature, history, the arts, politics and poetry. Accordingly the collection is mostly English non-fiction, but also some books in Hindi has remained, all adding up to two kilometers of shelves.
During the 1970s and later on the book drying procedure following the rainy season continued the old Jain tradition, Jnana or Shruta Pancami, from his father's house, now taking place on the flat roof of Lao Tzu House where books were spread in the sunshine to dry out and the shelves dusted down.
Timely before his passing away in January 1990 he sent a message 27.11.1989 to his secretary and librarian on the future use of the library's treasures: When I'm 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 an almost complete set of publications in English and a much less complete collection in 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. The last librarian left in 2002 and the present coordinator's insight in library matters reflects the low priority given to Osho's library by the present management. The situation of Osho Lao Tzu library seems frozen for the moment, and it's not possible to tell whether they are knowledgeable of Osho's last and clearly expressed wish concerning the library. At present [July 2005] it is hard to claim that his guidelines are being followed.

For centuries the Jains have been a highly literate community and Jains have long emphasized the importance of the written word. Manuscripts, books and miniatures belong to the most important forms of cultural heritage which Jainism has preserved in India to this day. It is with this tradition as his starting-point we have to understand Osho's lifelong obsession with book collecting. He was born December 11th 1931 in Kuchwada, a small village in the state of Madhya Pradesh, as the eldest of eleven children of a Jaina cloth merchant within the Jyanti sect. So his early interest in reading and story telling is solid anchored in the family's Jain culture, where daily reading was seen as a religious duty.
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.

"His passionate search made him explore books on every possible subject. Often he read all night [...] 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 favourite 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. In the early fifties he wrote stories for Hindi newspapers, and to collect money during his student days in the 1950s he also worked as an assistant editor, writing and translating for the Jabalpur Hindi paper Nav-Bharat. On Sundays in Jabalpur he went to Gurandi Market to buy second-hand books.
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 speed-reading 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. Having read a book Osho signed it with a colour signature, sometimes adding a painting or some comments or drawing at the end.

With a B.A. in philosophy he graduates 1955 with honours 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, a 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. His favorite bookshop in Jabalpur was for Hindi books Sushma Sahitya Mandir, on 1st floor at Jawaharganj Market, in 2000 still with the same owner S.M.Jain and same interior as in the 1950s.

Following his move to Woodlands, Mumbai, in 1970 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).
He might order books from catalogues, but more often he went to bookshops himself to purchase books for his collection. Among his favourite bookshops in Mumbai 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, Pune's largest bookstore.

When reading he had a pencil in his hand, holding the pencil parallel 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.

The Indian Nobel price winner in literature, Rabindranath Tagore, was one of his favourite authors, and in Books I have loved (Rajneesh 1985) he dictates the story of his lifelong book-loving 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.
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 offeres 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 being also available on digital audio tape and 1.700 on digital video tape. The discourses in Hindi from meditation camps in the 1960s, and from Mumbai 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 disciples.

The family's Jain culture, where bookish matters were seen as a religious duty, inspired him not only to reading, but also to the publishing of his words. 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.
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.
Small pamphlets - among them Taran Vani [Sayings of Saint Taran] with 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.

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. [The Path of Self-Realization. Bombay 1966] (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 preconditions 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 Mumbai (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.

Early discourses in Hindi from these meditation camps in the 1960s are said to contain all that was to follow later on: Kranti Beej (Rajneesh 1965), Sadhana Path and Sinhanad (Rajneesh 1965a). Discourses from Mumbai 1970-1974 in English or Hindi, are primary published in a number of early booklets and some of his earliest discourses are to be found in The Eternal Quest (1980, Orient Paperbacks, India), The Perfect Way (Rajneesh 1979) and The Mystic Experience (Rajneesh 1977).

Almost four years after his resignation in 1967 from Jabalpur University, Osho decided to leave Jabalpur and find his own space in Mumbai. Here in Woodlands his 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 translated from Hindi in The Mystic Experience mentioned above, and the 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 in Mumbai 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 from now on in Mumbai and later in Pune 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).
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 darshan series to be recorded and later published in English was Hammer on the Rock (Rajneesh 1976). On the eleventh of every month the discourses swapped languages with alternate months in Hindi and English, and the meditation camp began in the ashram.

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.

In Pune the discourses were first set in the porch of 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 therapy which had grown out of the Human Potential movement from the 1960s, making Pune the world's largest center for therapy and human growth (Amitabh 1982).




The Sound of Running Water / Asha 1980.

Lord of the Full Moon / Divya. 1980

Drunk on the Divine / Bharti. 1980.

The Awakened One / Vasant. 1982

Bhagwan / Forman. 1987ff. 3 vols.

Flowers of Emptiness / Belfrage. 1981

Bhagwan / Milne. 1986

The Ultimate Game / Strelley. 1987

Life of Osho / Sam. 1997

The Promise of Paradise / Franklin. 1992


Life as Laughter / Mullan. 1983

The Golden Guru / Gordon. 1987

The Way of the Heart / Heelas. 1988.

Charisma and Control / Carter. 1990

The Quest for Total Bliss / Mann. 1991.

Bhagwan / Floether. 1983.

Bhagwan / Tanner. 1986.

Cities on a Hill / Firtzgerald. 1986.

Orange & Lemmings/ Wright. 1985.

O is for Orange / van Leen. 1980.

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