Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pratiksha Exhibits at ‘Soul of Asia’ in Goa

Pratisksha’s paintings to be shown at the much acclaimed “Soul of Asi”* exhibition during the 44th International Film Festival of India in Goa, from November 20 to 30, 2013 Many of Pratiksha’s striking and complex paintings, which are always linked with meditation and spirituality, have been published in the media, as well as her articles about particular paintings with a spiritual background. She has exhibited 10 solo shows across the country including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmadabad, Chandigarh and Baroda. The use of vibrant colors, intricate designs, and the subtle concepts of mysticism behind each of her paintings is the outcome of her being a meditator. Osho’s vision is beautifully and pictorially presented on canvas through the myriad strokes of her brush, seamlessly creating a stunning visual impact. When Pratiksha’s paintings were selected for the prestigious international film festival, IFFI Director Mr. Shankar Mohan said her paintings are a subtle vehicle that can transport the sensitive eye to the inner meanings of Osho’s great teachings. He said, “Her total devotion to the vision of her Master Osho is reflected in each of her vibrant canvas, as though seeking completion and fulfilment through her on the lofty and intricate concepts of life, living and redemption - so simply and clearly enunciated by the great master himself. Her paintings, I am sure, will find an immediate and spontaneous response of connectivity, from the various film lovers who will be attending IFFI 2013.” Famous Indian film actress Rekha will be inaugurating Pratiksha’s show, which no doubt will also be visited by many friends who are staying in Goa over winter! Pratiksha Apurv is Osho’s niece, daughter of Vijay Bharti. Born in Gadarwara, Madhya Pradesh, she took sannyas at age 11 in Pune and also lived in Rajneeshpuram. At the peak of her career as a famous fashion designer (she launched her acclaimed label Oshonik in 1990) she suddenly felt a calling to paint, to give expression to her inner growth. She lives in New Delhi. Email: Website:
Previously published in Osho News

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Viha Connection is looking for writers!

We are inviting the community to share your stories, experiences, and insights about your sannyas name. Osho gave many reasons why He chose to give us new names, and when He gave sannyas in person, He gave each new sannyasin a unique meaning for the name. When Osho was ill for many years, the names were chosen by volunteers in the “front office,” and sent out under a printed Osho signature. After Osho left the body, center and group leaders around the world have chosen names for new people if they want them. However they came to us, the names seemed to have an impact.
The experience of taking a new name can be powerful, funny, playful, or serious. We’d like to hear about yours. What is in a name, after all?
These are very short pieces, so you’ll need to choose one aspect or issue to share. Here are some possible questions:
·      Did you take a completely new name or choose to keep part of the old? Why?
·      How did you feel about the experience of the name change?
·      Did you use the sannyas name in your workplace, with your family, etc.? What was the reaction/response?
·      Do you still use it? In what circumstances?
·      Did the name have any impact on your life?
·      Did you get a personal message from Osho about the meaning of your name, or did you get a message about that on a different level?
·      Did the meaning of your name change for you over time?
·      Did you want a different name that was e.g. more exotic, less common, you didn’t want Prem or Deva...
·      Did you believe that prefixes had set meanings, like Prems are unloving or Devas are crazy? If so, how did that affect you?
·      Were you ever embarrassed about using your sannyas name?
·      Do you have an entertaining story about your sannyas name or your experience with it?
We’ve provided a few quotes from Osho about sannyas names at the end of the invitation for your inspiration, but there are many more. This is an open invitation, so feel free to pass it on.
Firm copy deadline:
October 20
Please let Avinasho know by September 1 if you are planning to participate in this Special Section:
Not more than 450 words, though less is fine.
Other submission info:
Electronic submissions in Microsoft Word are best to
Please send a photo of yourself (deadline November 10) to go along with your article. It’s best to send it electronically to Please be sure it is high-resolution, 300 dpi jpeg or TIF. You can also mail us a printed photo at Viha Meditation Center, PO Box 352, Mill Valley, CA 94942.
A note about the writing process:
We recommend that you read through this invitation with care before you start to write, and also refer to it during the writing process. We ask you to stick to the subject as outlined in this invitation, as the Special Section is designed to be a look at a particular subject from a variety of viewpoints. 
Love from the Editorial Board of the Viha Connection
Osho Quotes
Veera, all holy cow dung. Don't be deceived by the names. You are always hankering to catch hold of something, to make something big out of nothings. The names I give you are just like lovers' sweet nothings. Don't make much fuss about them.
In fact, once I have given you the name, never come and ask me about its meaning again because I forget. It is in that moment that I create the meaning around it. Then how am I supposed to remember? I must have given thirty thousand names or more.
A name is just a name. You are nameless. No name confines you, no name can confine you. They are just labels to be used -- utilitarian, nothing spiritual in it. But because I pay so much attention to your name and I explain it to you, you get hooked with it. That is just my way of showering my attention on you, nothing else; just my way of showing my love to you, nothing else.
The Diamond Sutra, Chapter 10
This uniqueness is a gift of god, and this uniqueness can only be known in deep love because only in love do you relax, only in love do you put your armor aside. Only in love do you allow yourself to be indefensible. Only in love can you trust that the other will not harm you, so you can allow the other into the deepest and the most delicate part of your being.
And the relationship between a disciple and a master is a love relationship. That's why I give you a new name, that's why to every sannyasin I give a new name. That's my perception of you, that's my vision of you, that's my penetration into your uniqueness.
Zorba The Buddha, Chapter 4
Sannyas is a disidentification with the past... a new beginning, a new being, a fresh breeze, a rebirth. All that is implied in giving you a new name. [...]
God will also need a name so that He can call you, so He can provoke you, so that whenever He wants to say something it can be addressed to you. The sannyas name is simply a new address -- a new address fundamentally meant for God, for the whole existence. So this is a turning point.
The Shadow of the Whip, Chapter 2
I give you a new name only to make you feel that names are not important. Your old name can simply disappear because it was only a label, it can be changed. You are not the name. To insist this fact, to emphasize this fact upon your consciousness, that the name is not your reality... [...]
But ordinarily you grow with your name; in fact, you become conscious only later on. Your name is deeper than your consciousness, hence there arises an identity with the name. You start feeling, "This is my name; this is me."
When you become a sannyasin I want to destroy that identity, because this is the beginning of destruction of all identities. First I destroy the identity with the name, then I will destroy the identity with the body, then the identity with the mind, then the identity with the heart. When all these identities have been destroyed you will be able to know who you are: the unidentified, the nameless, the formless, the indefinable. And that is only a pure witness in you; nothing can be said about it, no word is adequate to explain it.
I Am That, Chapter 6

Friday, August 2, 2013

Facebook Discrimination: Osho Demoted from Personhood

Osho International Foundation, Zurich (OIF) has claimed “Osho” as its own exclusive trademark in several countries around the world. In 2008 the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruled that “Osho” cannot be a trademark in the US. In India, Osho International Foundation Pune, a completely separate Indian legal entity, claimed ownership of “Osho” as a trademark, but the claim was opposed and no registration or ruling has ever taken place. In 2010 Osho Lotus Commune in Cologne filed a case in the EU to invalidate a trademark for “Osho” that OIF registered in 1999.
Nonetheless, OIF continues to claim that no one can use the name Osho to indicate an association with Osho the person in work that is related to Osho’s spiritual teachings unless OIF gives them permission. At some point after losing the US case, OIF went out and registered trademarks in new jurisdictions like China and Venezuela, where there are not enough sannyasins to oppose the registrations. Based on these filings they claim to own an “international” trademark for Osho.
OIF now argues that no one can use Osho’s name descriptively in a business name on the Internet, because the Internet goes to the whole world, and OIF has Osho registered as a trademark in some jurisdictions.
In the EU case over 30 center leaders, therapists, and others involved with Osho’s work testified that they had used Osho’s name to describe His connection to their work, programs, and processes since 1989 or soon after. OIF did not register a trademark for those services till 1999 and did not begin attempting to license that mark until 2009, after losing in the US.
In retaliation, Klaus Steeg (Pramod) has filed complaints with Facebook on behalf of OIF against every person with a page containing the name Osho who testified in the EU case, and Facebook has taken down those pages. In one case Facebook even took down the personal page of a center’s web person.
Facebook’s terms, which appear on its website, state that Facebook will not adjudicate between parties in an intellectual property dispute. US law requires Facebook to allow people accused of copyright violations to object to the copyright claim, and if the accused responds and the claimant does not file an enforcement lawsuit within a specified time, the page must be put back up.
In contrast, if a claimant to trademark ownership fills out a scanty online form that could not possibly give enough information to actually determine the sufficiency of a trademark claim, Facebook will take down the page, will not allow the accused to respond, and will not put the page back up unless the claimant agrees to it.
In doing this, Facebook is deciding that the trademark claimant has a valid claim to a trademark, though there are many possible defenses to a trademark claim, such as that the mark is invalid (as the US has decided with “Osho”), that the registration was fraudulent, that there is no trademark where the accused is based, that the accused has priority in using the alleged mark, and that the word is the name of the historical person and being used as a name, not as a trademark (which is the case with all the pages that have been taken down).
All jurisdictions have a process for trademark claimants to bring actions for infringement, and the accused is always allowed to present a defense. None require the accused to bring an action to prove non-infringement, but Facebook has now created that situation. Rather than requiring the trademark claimant to file the infringement action in the appropriate legal jurisdiction, as a copyright claimant must do, the accused in a trademark case is excluded from Facebook until it files a legal action against the claimant in the jurisdiction where it is incorporated or against Facebook in the US. In this case, people accused of infringement by OIF may need to go to Switzerland to bring an action against OIF.
The result of this Facebook policy is discrimination against people connected to Osho as a spiritual teacher, who want to use His name to describe their work or to talk about His work on a Facebook page. Osho the person can be mentioned in page content, but people may not mention Osho in the page title – in the place that will attract people interested in Osho – or Facebook may take down the page. In other words, people associated with Osho cannot use Facebook to discuss or spread the teachings of their spiritual leader in the way all other religious groups can. Both “Jesus” and “Buddha” are trademarks in the US for specific products, but Facebook would not take down all pages with these names in the title. For example, Facebook would not take down a page for the First Church of Jesus Christ, because they would acknowledge that “Jesus” in the church name is a reference to the historical person, not a trademark use. They would not take down a page titled Buddha Sanctuary, as they would recognize this as a reference to the historical Buddha.
Yet Facebook treats Osho differently. For Facebook Osho is not a person with a name, and people associated with Osho are not allowed to refer to Him in their page names. For Facebook, Osho is only a trademark. Facebook is aware of this situation and the effect of its practices on lovers of Osho but has refused to comment on its policy or to change it.
The result has been remarkable. One of the pages Facebook took down was Osho Pulsation, which is located in California, where the law is clear that there is no Osho trademark. Other pages taken down were for Osho Uta Institut, Osho Times, and Osho Diamond Breath. All of these used the name Osho in connection to their businesses before OIF filed for relevant marks. Under EU law OIF cannot enforce a later mark against them, even if a mark for “Osho” should turn out to be valid. Over the last year or so other pages have been taken down, including those of Swami Rajneesh, now known as Ozen Rajneesh, whose activities have taken place in India and Mexico, where OIF, Zurich, has never had a trademark claim.
Those who testified in the EU trademark case are not the only one’s affected. Ursula Hoess (Vatayana) has written to other owners of Facebook pages that contain Osho’s name, telling them they must “acknowledge” OIF’s ownership of trademarks for “Osho” or their pages will be taken down. (Of course, no one can “acknowledge” ownership of a trademark. That is always up to the relevant legal jurisdiction to decide.) Phillip Toelkes (Niren) has written letters threatening legal action against Osho Uta Institut and Osho Diamond Breath and to a long-time therapist to tell her she may no longer describe herself as an “Osho therapist.” That was a blast from the past, since few, if any, therapists refer to themselves that way these days anyway. Interestingly, most of Niren’s letters have been written to people in Europe, and he has ignored the fact that he is not licensed to practice law there.
Klaus Steeg has written threatening letters to, and when they did not agree to comply with his demands, OIF had the Osho News Facebook page taken down (and he is not licensed to practice law at all). This activity is expected to continue unless legal action is once again taken against OIF. If a legal action is brought against Facebook, the terms of use may require OIF to pay their legal fees as well.
Sourced from Viha Connection magazine

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Vatican and Osho: A Study in Hypocrisy

by Ma Prem Sangeet
The recent resignation of Pope Benedict XVI has inspired many claims about the relationship between the Vatican and Osho, many of them unsupported. Osho apparently thought that John Paul II had met with Reagan in 1985, shortly before Osho was arrested, but this was an error. According to online records Reagan met with John Paul II in 1982 and 1987.
Reagan, a fundamentalist Christian, would ordinarily have been the natural enemy of the pope in the politics of American Christianity, but the two men shared a common passion: a hatred of communism. Carl Bernstein reported in the June 24, 2001 issue of Time that the two men met for 50 minutes in 1982, supposedly to discuss Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. In fact, they spent most of their time talking about two other topics dear to their hearts. The first was the recent suppression of the Solidarity labor movement in Poland, and the second was the assassination attempts they had both experienced in 1981. They agreed they had both been divinely spared for missions from God.
The Reagan administration believed Poland was key to the downfall of the Soviet Union and that John Paul II, as a highly influential Pole, could be tremendously useful. Bernstein revealed that the US provided clandestine aid to Solidarity, supplied the pope with top-secret information on a regular basis, and William Casey, head of the CIA and a conservative Catholic, made regular secret visits to the Vatican. The Nation reported on April 17, 1989 that in his turn John Paul II ordered all priests to resign posts in the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, which the Regan administration opposed.
This was definitely a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” relationship. They were willing to do each other favors to get to their shared goal. John Paul II seems to have been obsessed with the idea of freeing Poland from communism and is reported to have talked of little else with US officials, even when they had a different purpose, like discussing disarmament. He had appointed someone else to deal with “religious threats,” while he focused on the political. His “enforcer of the faith” was German Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI.
Joseph Ratzinger was the Archbishop of Munich and Freiling from 1977 to 1982, during a time when Stern and Der Spiegel were publishing articles with lots of pictures of naked people in groups in Pune and when centers in Munich, Cologne, and other areas of Germany were booming. Ratzinger was apparently worried that the appeal of Eastern mysticism would lure people away from the Church.
Ratzinger was appointed head of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Catholic Church’s modern version of the Inquisition, in 1981. He soon became the second most powerful man in the Vatican and was elevated to cardinal in 1993. In Rome he focused much of his efforts on stopping what he called pluralism, or the seeking of truth and grace in religions other than Christianity. He claimed pluralism or “relativism” was a threat to true faith from the Third World. In a 1997 interview published in the March 21 issue of the French L’Express, Ratzinger called Buddhism an “auto-erotic spirituality” and said: “In the 1950s someone said that the undoing of the Catholic Church in the twentieth century wouldn’t come from Marxism, but from Buddhism. They were right.” Ratzinger spoke of the ”seductions” of Buddhism and other Eastern traditions. According to John L. Allen, Jr., author of Cardinal Ratzinger: The Vatican’s Enforcer of the Faith,1 Ratzinger’s statements were so offensive that a group of American priests issued an apology to Buddhists.
***Footnote: 1This and some other references are quoted in the new, revised version of Max Brecher’s A Passage to America, soon to be available as an ebook on his website,
Ratzinger used his inquisition to censure Catholics who supported pluralism; Allen reports that Ratzinger went so far as to excommunicate a priest in Sri Lanka. In 2000 Ratzinger’s office created a statement of doctrine later signed by John Paul II called Dominus Iesus.2 It held that non-Catholic Christian traditions were “defective,” but non-Christian were “gravely deficient” in terms of salvation.
So, what was Ratzinger’s relationship with Osho and sannyasins? Though he was often suspected of working behind the scenes in things like German legal disputes and Italian visa applications, nothing could be proved. The October 11, 1985 National Catholic Reporter stated: “The cardinal, who ‘daily receives top secret information from every continent,’ does his best to take daily top-secret action on the basis of this information.”
The only assertion of a direct connection came from Ashok Row Kavi, former columnist for the Bombay Sunday Mail. On December 24, 1989 he reported that someone “very close” to Ratzinger had revealed that Ratzinger “is known to have operated behind the scenes in the expulsion of Rajneesh from America.” In early February 1990, Kavi reported in a column that Ratzinger had said in 1981: “All sorts of Satanic cults by oriental godmen are out to seduce the faithful away from Christ.” Kavi claimed that Osho was the “object of these controversial statements.”
Considering the quid-pro-quo relationship between the Reagan administration and the Vatican, the belief that Ratzinger was instrumental in having Osho thrown out of the US is plausible, but given the Reagan administration’s longstanding opposition to Osho, it’s unclear if they needed any encouragement. At the very least, there is evidence that Ratzinger felt justified in lobbying to have Osho removed from the US.
After becoming Benedict XVI in 2005, Ratzinger soon met with enormous scandal. Ongoing investigations of sexual abuse of children revealed Church cover-ups that led to Ratzinger’s door in the Vatican. As head of the Congregation he was directly responsible for investigating such misbehavior, and in 2000 he had ordered his office to take oversight control of all investigations. Yet virtually nothing was done to stop the abuse. Several Catholic dioceses, including the one in Portland, Oregon, have had to file bankruptcy to avoid millions of dollars of damages for abuse and cover-up. Ratzinger’s supporters have claimed that this inaction was the fault of John Paul II, but in the eight years of Ratzinger’s tenure as pope, he apologized profusely for the child abuse, while doing little to stop it. Two cardinals from the US and Ireland have been implicated in widespread abuse cover-ups, but the cardinals are still in office and joined the conclave to vote for Benedict’s successor.
Meanwhile, back in Rome, Benedict’s butler was among Vatican watchers who were appalled by the allegations of misbehavior against Benedict’s own second in command, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. The butler stole stacks of correspondence documenting sexual misbehavior and financial corruption in the Vatican and blew the whistle, allowing much of the correspondence to be published. Benedict had no choice but to order an investigation. The report of the investigation came in less than two months before Benedict announced his resignation.
The Italian press published information about the report, with screaming headlines about gay factions in the Vatican, which is hardly groundbreaking news, and downplayed the other issue mentioned: misuse of funds and a financial scandal that may involve the Vatican Bank. This brings to mind the story of John Paul I, who died suddenly after 33 days in office, when he, among other things, indicated a willingness to allow an investigation of a Vatican Bank scandal. Since Vatican protocol does not allow autopsies of popes, the dispute over the cause of his death continues. The case was written up in the book In God’s Name, which Osho spoke about (One Seed Makes the Whole Earth Green, Chapter 3; The Rebel, Chapter 13).
Benedict and/or his conservative supporters recognized that he lacked the courage, vitality, and credibility to deal with the latest Vatican corruption scandal, so he’s off to a quiet retirement, while the attempt to save face and save the necks of many influential people in Europe falls on his successor, Pope Francis. Francis, another conservative, was reportedly the second runner up in the last conclave. He was elected in a conclave where well over half of the members had been selected by Benedict.
The irony of Benedict’s belief that the very flawed institution of the Catholic Church (child abuse, sexual perversion, blackmail, theft, and possibly murder) is the only agency of God on Earth and that Benedict has been justified in his self-righteous attacks on “deficient” non-Christian traditions that threaten its supremacy – like Osho, Buddhism, Hinduism – is hard to miss. But Joseph Ratzinger has apparently missed it completely. The insight and integrity of Pope Francis remain to be seen.