Osho declares twenty-one people enlightened

In June 1984, Osho meets with 21 disciples and declares their enlightenment. He lists sannyasins who will continue his work after his death, and sannyasins who will become enlightened before or at death. Later, Osho says this was a joke. Osho explains that disciples dying within the Buddhafield radius of 24 miles will die enlightened.

Sometime in 1984 Maitreya became enlightened, but he had chosen to remain silent, so he remained silent. He did not even tell me what had happened to him. But the day it happened I called a small meeting of a few sannyasins in Rancho Rajneesh in America. I declared that there were going to be three special committees: one of mahasattvas, the great beings who are destined to become enlightened in this very life; the second of sambuddhas, who have already become enlightened; and the third of bodhisattvas, who will also become enlightened...but perhaps they will take a little longer than the other two categories, but certainly before their death.

Because I had included Maitreya's name, he was shocked. He wanted to keep it completely to himself, not to say anything about enlightenment to anybody. As he left the meeting, he told a few people outside, "It is very strange, I have not said--I have been trying to hide it--but somehow he has seen it. And not only has he seen it, he has declared me enlightened."

And his response was truly a response of great love. He said, "Osho is really a rascal."

All these years before his enlightenment and after his enlightenment, he just remained absolutely ordinary, with no ego, with no desire, with no greed. tahui06

You declared a long list of sannyasins enlightened, and had set up three committees to continue Rajneeshism after You leave Your body....

This was just a joke. We enjoy everything, even we can make a joke of enlightenment....

It was nothing but once in a while the commune needs some entertainment. press01

You ask me: I was one of those who was taken for a ride when the list of enlightened people was announced, because I thought, "If Osho says I'm enlightened, why not try it out?"... I tried to use what I saw as a really potential situation. The main thing I saw was that I really am okay. Am I kidding myself about that experience?

No, if you can understand it you cannot be kidding.

First let me explain a few other things.

After I declared a few people enlightened--Santosh* was also one of them. He wrote me a letter saying, "Your declaration of my enlightenment gives me no excitement, but my being accepted as a member of the committee of the enlightened ones makes me feel very great."

I sent him the message, "Why does your being enlightened not make you feel excited? The reason is that you think that you are already enlightened--and that is not true. That's why your becoming a member of the committee of the enlightened ones makes you feel great--at last your enlightenment has been recognized. It is not a declaration for you but a recognition that you have been enlightened long before.

"But if enlightenment is not an excitement, then how can it be a great thing to be a member of the party, or the committee, of enlightened people? If enlightenment itself makes no sense to you, then being the member of the committee cannot make any sense, except this: that it fulfills your ego.

"You were enlightened, and nobody was taking note of it. Finally I have recognized it, and now you are part of the committee of enlightened people, so it is sealed. But you are wrong--because it was all a joke! The committee was a joke, the declaration was a joke. And it was a device."

Somendra* immediately sent a telegram to Teertha*, saying, "I have got it--what about you?" He was continuously in competition--that was his problem, that he should be higher than Teertha. And this was a good chance.

He has dropped sannyas, he has not been in any contact with us, but my declaration of his enlightenment--that he accepts. Sannyas he has dropped--he is no longer part of my family--but enlightenment...immediately a telegram: "I have got it--what about you?"

It was a device to see how people would react.

Your response to it was perfectly beautiful.

Your response was, "If Osho says I am enlightened, I must be."

It simply shows trust, love. It has nothing to do with ego. And your throwing a party and rejoicing the moment with your friends was perfectly right.

And when I said it was a joke, you were not angry. You simply took it again the same way: "If Osho says I am not enlightened, and it was a joke, perhaps I am not enlightened and it was really a joke." And the six months that you lived as enlightened, the joy and the peace and the serenity that you felt was not of enlightenment--it was of trust and love.

It was a good experience for you.

But different experiences happen to different people.

There were only two Indians in the group who were declared enlightened, and they understand traditionally what enlightenment means. One was Vinod Bharti.

He became very nervous, was crying, came to Vivek to give me the message, "Osho, I am not enlightened. And you have created a trouble for me: I cannot say you are wrong, and I know perfectly well myself that I am not enlightened. So what am I supposed to do? I am just torn apart. You just tell me the truth!"

He knows about enlightenment. He knows that for centuries in India enlightenment has been the ultimate peak of spiritual search. In the West the very idea has never existed. So he cannot conceive of himself as Gautam Buddha, and he cannot deny me because he loves me and trusts me. So I can see his trouble. So I sent him the message, "Don't be worried, it was just a joke. You are not enlightened, relax!"

Until he heard that he was not enlightened, he could not sleep for two days. Then he relaxed--he is not enlightened; there is no problem.

The other man was Swami Anand Maitreya, who was the only one who understood the joke immediately, because as he left the room he said, "Osho is really a rascal! Saying to me that I am enlightened, proves it!" But he was also an Indian and particularly comes from Bihar where most of the enlightened people happened in India--Gautam Buddha, Mahavira, Parshvanatha, Naminatha, Adinatha...a long series of enlightened people. All twenty-four enlightened masters of the Jainas...Gautam Buddha--they all happened in Bihar. Bihar has the deepest understanding and experience of enlightenment. So naturally he said, "Osho is a rascal." But it was also his love.

He was not disturbed, because once you know that it is a joke, there is no question of any difficulty about it.

A few people simply remained silent: they neither reacted this way or that. That too is good. They were not affected by it; they simply remained themselves, as they were. "If Osho says it is enlightenment, it may be; if he says it is not, it may not be." But it did not make any difference to them; they remained aloof and detached.

And it was a good experience to see how people react to a single idea, with their different minds. Those who were not included in the committee were angry. I received a few letters saying, "If these people have become enlightened, then why have I not become enlightened?" As if it were something..."You have given it to these people. Why have you not given it to me?"

Somebody wrote, "I have been with you longer than these people, and I am not enlightened yet. Have you forgotten me or what?" But it was good to know how people react.

Your reaction was perfectly beautiful on both ends. "If Osho says it is enlightenment, it must be"--that is a simple trust. "And if He says it is not...." Then you don't feel any contradiction or inconsistency, you simply accept it: "If he says it is not, then it must not be." You have transcended the world of consistencies, inconsistencies.

Love knows no contradiction.

It knows no comparison.

Each moment it is available. psycho10 

*Note: Santosh, Somendra and Teertha are therapists

You say: one would think that in all that time that perhaps at least one or two sannyasins might have achieved enlightenment?

Yes, few sannyasins have achieved.

Their names cannot be told for the simple reason that will create unnecessary seriousness in them, jealousy in others. And I don't want that. It is perfectly good that they are enlightened and they are enjoying it. To make them serious is to make them sick. And to make them others' objects of jealousy is also not good.

So I am not going to declare anybody to be enlightened unless I am just joking about some idiot. That's another thing. last308

Would You be prepared to name any of them?

They will remain anonymous, because it is dangerous. Others will start feeling jealous. Others will start feeling that, "They are superior and we are inferior." And I don't want to create any classes in sannyasins.

Somebody is enlightened, it is perfectly good. He should help others to be enlightened. But there is no need to declare your enlightenment. Let others feel that you are far advanced, and help them to advance farther and farther towards the goal--without declaring yourself.

So I declare somebody is enlightened only when he is dead, because with dead people it is good. Nobody feels jealous. last315

Those who can gather that much courage can become enlightened any moment. But when a sannyasin is dying it is easy for him. Now he knows that he is dying: what use is ambition? What use is hatred? What use is jealousy? What use is greed? What use is the ego?

Death standing in front of his eyes makes it clear that now he can drop all that unnecessary luggage: anyway, death is going to take all that away. It happens in a single moment--the whole idea, the revelation that now there is nothing to be lost--so why not try? "Osho has been saying, `Drop this, drop that.' I could not do it while I was alive, but now there is no problem. Take a chance--see whether he was right or wrong."

And this is not a long process of thinking. It is a simple experience in a single moment before death. And the person simply slips out of the old, rotten bag in which he has been living; now he can feel the stink and everything. Death immediately becomes enlightenment.

Then death is no longer ordinary death, then death is a door to the divine. You can do it while you are living, there is no problem. In fact, to do it when you are dying is not of much use: you never got to enjoy it. While you are alive, if you can do what I say, you will have time to enjoy enlightenment....

The enlightened man is always in the moment; hence, every experience becomes intense, enjoyed to the fullest.

It is better to die enlightened than to die unenlightened. At least there is one thing left for you to experience as an enlightened man: that is death. But much more you have missed.

So I will not suggest to you to wait for death. Certainly those who are with me are going to become enlightened at the moment of death, but why wait for it when you are young and alive and full of juice? Becoming enlightened at the time of death, you are just a dry bone, there is no juice left; otherwise why should you die? When you are full of juice, full of life, with all the dimensions available, become enlightened.

And the process is so simple that even a dying man can manage it. It is really a shame that you are alive and you cannot manage it. Perhaps you only think you are alive. Perhaps you only dream you are alive, and death is such a shock that you wake up.

But I am here to give you any kind of shock you need. I am giving you them already without asking your permission, because the moment you become a sannyasin I take it for granted that now I do not need any permission to give this man a shock--any kind of shock.

Drop all that nonsense which is holding you back from experiencing life in its totality. Drop all that which is keeping you in a narcotic sleep. And what I am asking you to drop is worthless, perhaps worse than worthless. false34

You said that everybody who will die in a twenty-four-mile radius of Rajneeshpuram will automatically become enlightened.

Not everybody--there you are wrong. Only a sannyasin, not Oregonians. (laughter) Only a sannyasin dying within a twenty-five-mile radius will become enlightened. This is not something new, it has been known in the East for thousands of years. Gautam Buddha said exactly the same thing. He said that within twelve cosas radius, any bhikkhu who dies and who is his sannyasin will become enlightened.

I was puzzled myself, that how--what is the mechanism? Twelve cosas are approximately twenty-five miles. But then I saw a few sannyasins dying around me and becoming enlightened. Their death was not death; I could see it. When Vimalkirti died, we celebrated his death as it is celebrated for an enlightened man. On his face you could have seen the joy, the marks of that orgasmic experience through which he had gone. He was still radiant. The body was still somehow carrying the stamp of the experience. And now, many sannyasins have died in these fifteen years.

Then slowly, slowly I became aware why it happens. I am continuously in contact with my people. They love me so immensely that it is not a question of believing in me--it is a simple unconditional love. So whenever a sannyasin is dying, these twenty-five miles are something like an existential law, like the law of gravitation or the law of water evaporating at a hundred degrees. Nobody asks why. And the scientist has no answer; he can say only that that's how it is. Never at ninety-nine degrees, never at a hundred and one degrees--exactly at a hundred degrees the water evaporates. But why has the water chosen a hundred degrees? It is simply a law.

Buddha has recorded these twenty-five miles, Mahavira has recorded these twenty-five miles--another founder of a great religion, Jainism, and a contemporary of Buddha. I have experienced it, and now I can feel that the energy of a commune...if it is a single enlightened person, then the radius will be only five miles at the most. But if it is a commune of thousands of sannyasins, the radius becomes twenty-five miles. Why? Nothing can be said about it. That's how it happens.

And I don't know.... If the commune becomes bigger and still bigger, perhaps the radius will become greater. I hope one day you will see here a hundred thousand sannyasins, and then I want to see how big the radius can be. Can we cover the whole of America? Our effort will be to cover the whole world. We have communes all over the world which will soon have the same effect. They just need one enlightened person amongst them, and then all the other sannyasins become kind of radiations, reflections of the energy field further and further away.

And when a sannyasin dies in this loving energy field, it is easier for him to be awake than otherwise. It is just as if you are sitting amongst a few people who are yawning and dozing: soon you will find yourself yawning and dozing. And you will be surprised--why are you doing it? Those people are creating a certain vibe. If you sit with people who are bored to death, soon you will feel a certain boredom entering you. You may sometimes have experienced being with someone and you feel as if you are nourished, and with someone else you find as if you have been sucked. These are very simple experiences. Everybody knows that with a certain person you gain energy, with a certain person you lose energy. People avoid these people because they are parasites.

The enlightened person alone has an energy field of five miles; but if he has a commune around him then there is at least a twenty-five-mile radius ready to wake any sannyasin dying within it. Why it works there is no way to say. It is just the same as other scientific laws--it is also a scientific law. last125


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