Monday, September 20, 2010

Without Freedom Love Is Not Possible: An Interview of Ramateertha by Harideva


This past winter in Goa Harideva of the editorial board of the Viha Connection interviewed Ramateertha of the Osho Uta Institute in Cologne. A sannyasin for 34 years, Ramateerth has been an integral part of Osho Uta for all that time. We are happy to present to you here part of what Ramateertha shared.

HD: How and when did you decide to return to Germany to start a meditation center for Osho?

RT: When I was returning to Germany in ’76 I had a leaving darshan, and Osho asked me, “Where are you going?” I said, “Back to Cologne.” He said, “Go and help my people there.” I told Him there were no people there; I was the only one. [Laughter]

So He said, “Oh, you can open up a center there.” I said “No, no, no, I can’t do that.” He asked, “Why?” and I replied, “Well, I can’t do it, and I have no money.” He explained to me, and actually took some time to explain, why I should go back and open up a center. Even then it took four years before I started the Uta center in 1980. In the beginning I was the center leader, but I had no idea how the center should be. The only idea I had was that I wanted to live in the place where I worked, and out of that grew a center, which was always based simply on meditation and personal growth and on sharing love and energy.

HD: Do you have a position on the attempts to trademark the name Osho, and what are your insights about these controversies?

RT: It was a decisive point for me when I heard that the US Board ruled that the trademark in America had never existed. I was deeply touched and relieved, because I can see in how many places and in how many ways the fiction of a trademark was being used to try and control people. I have opposed the idea that “Osho” might be a trademark for a long time. In the very beginning, when the idea that “Osho” might be a trademark first came up, I think I was a bit na├»ve about this question. I didn’t know what a trademark was, and I didn’t see the implications of what this idea really meant.

I also think that the way Vatayana got the centers to sign a document called a Letter of Understanding was very, very misleading and manipulative. The paper was not presented as a legal document, but a year after some people had signed it Vatayana began to claim it was one. I was upset about this dishonesty, and I started seeing the strategy involved.

I knew that “Osho” had never been used as a trademark while Osho was in the body or in the years since then, but only to describe content that refers to Osho’s teachings. The reason is simply that it is, by its nature, not a trademark, but just a personal name of Osho that is also a description of the content of His teachings and vision. So when the idea that there was such a thing as an “Osho trademark” slowly, slowly started being put into the field, it was done in a very devious way, as I see it, very misleading. It was as if an outside enemy was being created that we needed a fictional trademark to defend against. Out of fear, people were encouraged to pretend that “Osho” could be, was, and had been used as a trademark. Eventually that kind of defense turns into a means to control those who are within the field. Every fascist regime has created outer enemies to control people inside. And when I started seeing the whole game and the lying and cheating that was connected to it, I saw how harmful to the community this pretense had become.

At a certain point Vatayana tried to take over center meetings in Germany and to become the one who organizes them. She made it clear that she wanted to invite only people who had signed the Letter of Understanding. At some point during a meeting she said, “This is not a democracy.” The person who was in charge of inviting for that meeting said, “Well, and it is not a dictatorship either.” And the whole room was silent. During the argument a young woman said, “I don’t understand what this argument is about. It’s just only about power, isn’t it?” A pin-drop silence occurred, and Vatayana dropped the project of taking control of that meeting.

Osho once said, “This is not a democracy,” but the Master makes certain decisions or confronts people in certain situations with certain ways of working; that’s one thing. When disciples are dealing with each other, you can’t adopt the same attitude that the Master had and then say, “That’s the way the Master works.” He comes from a completely different level of consciousness. As a disciple, to start imitating this way of working and pose as a successor is not only stupid but also harmful. I think in the world of sannyas we sometimes adopt attitudes that are not healthy. They don’t allow communication and respect to arise, and I saw a lot of that in Sheela’s time.

So in the 2009 German center meeting there was a confrontation about the trademark issue, and I made it a point that the reality of this situation is reflected in clear guidance from Osho that nobody disputes. Osho said the centers are all independent – not only by their legal structure but also in their use of Osho’s name as a reference to His teachings and vision. The centers are at the most “spiritually affiliated.” That has always been Osho’s relationship with individuals and centers, and the pretense of a trademark stands in direct opposition to the reality of this relationship. Vatayana argued that Osho wanted trademarks. She even went so far as to say that whenever someone received a center from Osho a license was given at that moment. This is bullshit and an appalling insult to the moments when Osho gave people the name for a center. Osho respected the centers’ complete freedom; there was no signature on a contract on any side. It was never a question of a legal relationship. And then Vatayana tried to say, “Well, maybe there is a way we can reconsider the whole thing, in the sense we will try to maintain the centers’ independence and still have a trademark.”

Of course, that is just deceptive. Independence means both that the centers have always been legally independent and that they’ve been independent in their use of Osho’s name as a reference to His teachings. “Osho” is not, and has never been, a trademark; it simply does not qualify to be a trademark, because, as I already said, it’s just the name of Osho as a person and is also a description of the content of His teachings and vision.

The cunning thing, though, was that while we were in that meeting in 2009 arguing about the trademark issue, Vatayana was sending “updated agreements” about this fictional trademark to all the centers that were not present in the meeting, without telling anyone at the meeting.

I also had a dispute with Yogendra about this in 2009, and he completely agreed that Osho had acknowledged that the centers were independent, but he said, “Well, you know, with certain situations, we asked the lawyers how we should handle them and what we should do, and they suggested to us that we should create a trademark.” How can they claim on the one hand that Osho wanted a trademark and on the other hand say something like this?

In December I wrote a letter to Global Connections that we would not sign any agreement with them and that we would do anything necessary to oppose any attempt to change legally independent centers into some kind of “franchise system.” If OIF insists that there is a trademark “Osho” in Europe, then we will bring a case to establish that there is no trademark in the European Union, just as it has been proven in the US. In this process I follow my heart, and I follow my own understanding. I know that without freedom love is not possible. It’s very simple. And it is not freedom if you force people or if you bind people with legal contracts. It’s just like marriage. It destroys freedom, and it destroys any possibility to really flower. This was Osho’s wisdom when He refused to create any kind of organization.

In my understanding nobody can give you the right to use the name Osho, as nobody can own Osho’s name, and, therefore, nobody needs to ask anybody for a “right” to use the Osho name. It describes content but does not mean that it originates from somebody who is entitled to or in the position to control content. Osho Himself asked everyone involved in His work to use His name, and we have all used it for 21 years. It’s just ridiculous to pretend it’s a trademark for anyone.

But I’m not a crusader; that much is certain. I don’t judge what others should do. For some person it may be right to say, “I don’t want to have anything to do with it.” I don’t know what their lives look like, but from my situation, from my own experience I can’t just stand by and do nothing. I am doing what I am doing because my heart tells me so. I don’t want to point my finger at anybody else and say, “You should do it also.”

For me this is exactly the same situation as we faced with Sheela. And I tell you I don’t know where I would be in all of this without the experience of the Ranch. Some say the Ranch was a failure, but to be honest, I don’t think it was a failure. I think it was the one of the most incredible experiences and teachings about organized religion that Osho has given. Without that experience – which was painful, very painful – I would not have the guts or the spine to say no. Osho was in silence, and Sheela was the only person seeing Him. That gave her an incredible influence over people who loved and respected Osho. I think Osho first kept quiet when the house was on fire, and He even put more fuel on it to make the house burn down completely – the house of organized religion and all that comes with it. But the basic message for me is that I have to trust and to risk everything within myself. I think of what happened on the Ranch as a vaccination against religion. The experience taught me about fascism in the name of religion and in the name of spirituality. He pulled the plug in time then. There is no one there to pull the plug now. It’s now the responsibility of each of us to speak up.

And, of course, it is a completely childish attitude to point the finger at Sheela. We are all Sheela; it is in every one of us. The same way she was or is blaming Osho for everything she has done, we give away responsibility to outer “authorities” and lose our freedom. This is especially strong for Germans who had the experience of Hitler in the last century to teach us that we all have this potential. Maybe it’s not by accident that opposition to the trademark registration in the EU is coming from Germany.
It’s so clear to me that the legal thing that’s happening is just a joke. The name Osho stands for this amazing Master and His teachings and His vision. It cannot be separated: here the person and there the teaching. And it is not possible to monopolize the name Osho. The ® some people would like to add to “Osho” is deceptive. For me, it really stands for “Religion” – a “Trademark Religion,” as that is what these people are trying to achieve. They want to establish a new authority and make a religion out of a vision. To pretend that Osho’s name is a trademark – the name of the man who has always been an advocate for total freedom without religion − is as intelligent as someone who does not want the death penalty saying, “I will shoot everybody who is for the death penalty!”

For me it is important not to get too serious about this. I’m German, you know; I can be very serious. Then I get almost righteous myself, and that is not the point.

People will certainly be confronted by the question, “Where do I stand in this?” as they are confronted with demands that they submit to outer control. And that will be beneficial, because they will have to look for themselves, or play the same game that has been played for millennia.

Sourced from our Osho magazine, the Viha Connection.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Osho Digital Audio Library



As everyone knows, audio tapes and CDs are old technology and have been replaced by MP3 CDs.

We have been selling many Osho discourses MP3s for $16 to $20 each MP3.

Now we are selling the Osho Digital Audio Library: a small, portable hard drive containing about 170 full Osho books; a total of approximately 4800 hours of Osho talks, from the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra lectures and the entire Yoga: The Alpha & the Omega series to his final discourse on April 10, 1989. The sound quality is very good.

The price is $890 (net) plus shipping.

The hard drive is compatible with both PCs and Macs. The files are in audio book format.

How this hard drive can be used:

1. You can attach this hard drive to a recent Mac or PC computer and listen to any of the Osho discourses on your computer, or through any speakers or stereo system attached to your computer.

2. You can also sync these discourses (not all at once, as many as will fit at a time) to an iPod or iPhone (or any iTunes-compatible MP3 player), which will allow you to take them with you and listen with headphones, earbuds, or connected to a home or car stereo.

3. You can burn CDs and listen to these discourses in any CD player that will play CDs created by a computer.

Please contact us at oshoviha@oshoviha.org if you are interested.

Sourced from the Viha Connection, the Osho magazine.

Special Sale! Osho's "After Middle Age"



This little jewel of a book is a must-read for everyone, not just those approaching middle age (or leaving that period behind).

Osho says: To me, maturity is another name for realization. You have come to the fulfillment of your potential.
It has become actual. The seed has come on the long journey, and it has blossomed. Maturity has a fragrance. It gives a tremendous beauty to the individual. It gives intelligence, the sharpest possible intelligence.

Old age has given the last touches to the painting of its own life. And when one has given the last touches,
one is ready to die joyously, dancingly. One is ready to welcome death.


The discourses collected in this book are compiled from different Osho books. Chapter titles include:

Time for Change • Love & Alchemy • Natural is Beautiful • A New Beginning • Nothing Ends • Gracefully Surrendering the Things of Youth • The Beauty of It! • Becoming Free • The Eternal Life Within You • Laughter Brings Strength • The Sheer Delight • Maturity: The Seed that Has Blossomed

For a limited time, we are offering this book for $6.95 (regularly $9.95). You can buy it online at http://www.oshoviha.org/index.php?show_category=133

Sourced from the Viha Connection, the Osho magazine.