I think I will be forced to withdraw my suggestion about Osho for leftists. It was inevitable. A quick inspection was all that was indicated. His very slight leftist sympathies were not enough to stay the greed of this faux-ashram, which became a very lucrative business for a neoliberal age, and the result is a kind of toxic ghost dharma that couldn’t quite figure itself out. The bad habits of the ashram are beyond repair. It remains true that he momentarily changed gears, and in Communism, Zen Fire, Zen Wind, showed his suppressed sympathies. But note that not a single sannyasin will even comment, it is ‘go to hell’ for outsiders. You can’t do anything there. I get the message, bye. They have no interest in people who can’t pay the harsh fees of the ‘business’. I am surprised that after all the fine words, Osho’s end result was so mediocre. But at least it is a start, as point of study. I fear he is vengeful spirit now, and will trash western seekers who cross his mysterious nothing on the astral plane.
I think that his work nonetheless indicates something leftists will be forced to do themselves, and it is a large and complex terrain.The problem is that buddhism is kaput, sufism is a hopeless case, Xtianity is going going gone… There aren’t any paths for a real ‘new ager’ on the left.
There the Osho initiative raises some hopes for a new future for a real new age. But it won’t really work. The world of spiritual surrender is a complete hypocrisy: the successes here, like Osho himself, never surrender and then make passive objects of the new found disciples. A leftist should never enter the guru game that way.
In general, westerners only rarely gain access to India’s spiritual riches. The carnival of teachings of the Osho sphere were perhaps cynically presented. Who knows.
In a way leftists were better off with historical materialism: it slams the door on spiritual hocuspocus, and spiritual entanglement. But it was too naive and constrictive. The spiritual realm is very real, and almost impossible to grasp. The left must master the realm of monotheism and ‘buddhoid’/Jain paths of enlightenment.
The way forward must start with human autonomy, in the sense of Kant.
I think here that Osho was fully traditional and super-authoritarian when the chips are down.
Surrender of ‘ego’ veiling surrender of autonomy is black magic, and evil. And worse when the guru has died and the ‘path’ is led by a ghost, no way,,,
The autonomous person can then enquire into the path beyond ego, even where that equates with autonomy, but in a way that is intelligent, and non-fascist.
It is completely dangerous: you may surrender your will as you will, and then the tragedy can become very real.
The aspirant is NEVER food for a guru demon, after the fashion of Gurdjieff and the ‘sufi hyenas’ who treat the humble seeker/sucker as ‘food’.
It has gone on long enough, but the wretched business is still the esoteric idiocy that won’t go away. I think, and I fear that the whole new age movement will collapse into nothing.
Looking at the path of the buddha Gautama, we see that his encounters with teachers was almost evanescent. With Osho, almost nothing.
There should any number of spiritual encounters, or meetings, but the path of groupie disciples is probably over.
Nothing in the ‘new age’ model ever got straight on the question of modernity. The whole postmodern phantom of the gurus was a fetish. A new age spirituality must grow from modernity and from the rubble of collapsing Xtianity. The basic information about the ‘path to enlightenment’ is a universal canon, and can easily be universalized. The path of Gautama is starting to fade away.
The entire charade of Tibetan buddhist meditations is pure junk at this point. And the path of the bodhissatwas should be scrapped, various exceptions known only to themselves, not doubt: it is a black hole for people who should pursue their path to the end, and then if they choose take up the path of the boddhisattwa, the way Gautama did it. But Mahayana has reversed the signs on the Way, and it is confusing for beginners, destroying their path at the start. It is a cruel politics. I think Tibetan buddhism should be scrapped. I don’t care how many esoteric teachings they offer. They are all useless.
But there is a very useful trick with ‘Oshoism’: sequences can begin 1,2… or they can start with the zeroth element, 0, 1, 2… The zeroth step is crucial, and Oshoism was really the zeroth step for a new era of spirituality. But the first step has yet to be taken.
Any the predatory spirits of dead gurus are unknowable, and they are not guides in any practical sense. But Osho at least let it be so known. The deceptive organization men running the other outfits will deceive you even worse.
The left, in a way, is poised to deal with this question as a question of exploitation. Consider the Gurdjieff ‘work’, which does for sufism what neoliberal ideology did to economy. Entangle the seeker it a web of frozen hypnosis, and then ‘extract’ his energies in a spiritual ‘factory’ for ‘slaves of god’. The references to god will make the fool submit. It is lucrative business already in effect, and a leftist way should be about the business of exposing it.
We have had a lot of commentary on Danielou’s work here, and I recently looked at his book on yoga, and it suggests a job for someone like Doniger, an expert in the Puranas.
I am intrigued by Danielou’s analysis of Indian religion, and, among other things, his comments on the Puranas, suggesting they had been translated into Sanskrit from an older tradition and language would now be anathema, but a respectable thesis of a generation ago. I wish I had the Sanskrit to research this, I will ‘betcha’ that there are traces or clues to this historical alternate universe.
Here is my original review of Wendy Doniger’s book on Hinduism, now the object of so much controversy. I am deleting the review. It wasn’t much of a review and after about review 6oo since 2000 my Amazon reviews began to go downhill, recently reduced to a paragraph or so.
This is a most fascinating work on the question of Hinduism, despite a number of problems which all books on this subject seem to inherit. One problem with a book solely on Hinduism lies in the neglect of the question of Buddhism and Jainism, and the phenomenon of the Axial Age in which their resurgent action appears. Focusing only on the Hindu stream can be misleading if it omits those parallel histories. The history of Indian religion, in one narrative, is about the symmetric parallel worlds of emerging Hinduism, an upstart Aryan concotion later than the primordial tradition, and Buddhism, the grandchild of the ancient Jainism that is resurgent in the Axial period.
Beyond the endless fascinating detail lies the basic question of the status of Hinduism itself, in the light of the realization that Vedism is an impostor grafted on an older tradition. The current debates over the Aryan migration thesis have made most authors of histories of Hinduism paranoid, and it can help to get one’s bearings with older histories from a generation ago, viz. Alain Danielou’s A Brief History Of History, which shows, from a convert’s point of view, a critique of Hinduism that is implicit in the sense of exposing its artificial character, as a creation of the Aryan invaders/immigrants that distorted the prior tradition and imposed the law of caste on the earlier primordial tradition which must surely have been Dravidian. Perhaps the key to Hinduism is to see the ancient traditon that sources before the Aryan entry era. It is not western bias to see the subject that way, and it is important to see that the phantom of Hinduism is a hybrid that is not hard to dismantle and understand given the basic keys.
There is no end of reading histories of Hinduism; despite its limits this one should join the list.
Someone in a huff suggested this post was a barb directed against Jews. Absolutely untrue. In fact, fyi, Gentile ‘schlemiels’ far outnumber the Jewish.
The point was to indicate the mysterious inner core a set of ‘doctrines’ in monotheistic religions, surrounding the concepts of ‘willed action’, the lack of real will, helplessness vis a vis ‘god’, evil wills, repentence, self-transcendence. This corpus emerges from Judaism (plus apocrypha), thus with inveterate ‘sumerian’ orgins, and becomes very strong in Xtianity.
Once that is clear we can consider ‘born-again schlemiles’, ‘schlemiels form outer space’, etc…
A Review of Alison Weir’s “Against Our Better Judgment”
How the United States Was Used to Create Israel
by JAMES ABOUREZK
Having studied enough American Indian Tribes over the years, I have grown accustomed to creation myths that each Tribe assigns itself as its reason for being. And the definition of “chutzpah” that I’ve been taught is that of a young man on trial for murdering his parents, who throws himself on the mercy of the Court on grounds that he is an orphan.
Read the rest of this entry »
The Osho recommendation is not a sentimental new age exercise. I have spent just as much time trying to disentanble from these gurus worlds as anything else.
The point here is to enter the wilderness of gurus, sufi sharks, hypnosis operators, black magicians (inclucing those in the CIA), and the deepest level whence by appalling rumer Buddhists, reread that, began occult mind control politics in some involvement with the rise of modern fascism.
A future communist can’t proceed through this universe oblivious. It is safer to enter the woods and learn the hard some form of self-defense.
Osho is a good entry point to the universe, highly complex, of a set of lineages in the Indian tradition. Since he is dead it is not an injunction to spiritual surrender, discipleship, or conversion to a belief system.
The overall tradition of Indian religion from the Neolithic to the present has to be an object of study for a future communist movement. And such a movement has a set of options surrounding two such universes, the world we have called the ‘religions of the will’, and the ‘religions of being’.
The left may have to carry a lot of kids with their spiritual candy piggyback across the line into a future society post-capitalist. Some understanding of the way religions operate is thus essential.
The simplest approach is basic study of the larger library of Inidan spiritual histories.
Paul, before calling me paranoid, let me remind you that it was Osho, not me, who first laid the charge of fascism against buddhists. That stunning revelation has left me completely wary of buddhism as an historical movement, Tibetan buddhists especially.
It would be nice to know if there is anything left of the buddhist path. And for that matter restarts like Oshoism.
We are at the point of trying to see how occultism interacted with the corruption of the left into fascism in the era of Mussolini up to the entry of figures like Hitler and his early milieu of brown shirts. The called themselves ‘socialists’! etc…
To commenter Paul: Your stance is frustrating because you can’t get the point, and in the process I am getting an answer to my question about Osho as a leftist resource.
I may be a ‘paranoid twit trying to get a life’ but I doubt it. I fear that if you can’t distinguish Osho and Gurdjieff you have no spiritual path whatsoever.
I have read virtually every Osho book in print and I am well aware of his few references to Gurdjieff, and of the ISOM reference you speak of. Osho read ISOM, and found it of great interest. And he must have read the ending where Ouspensky suddenly realizes he can’t follow Gurdjieff. He is beginning to realize he is a criminal. So what’s your point?
Nonetheless, the reactions of people like this Paul suggest the danger of taking Osho as an off the shelf source of spiritual information for a future left. The Osho circle is vulnerable to takeover by sufi trojan horse artists who wouldn’t mind screwing naive leftists. But this is just the kind of issue that needs to be considered.