Osho is recognised as Maitreya Buddha, and changes his name

From 7 December 1988, for three weeks, Osho is very sick and nearly dies. During this time he becomes a vehicle for Gautam Buddha.

This time has been of historical importance.

For seven weeks I was fighting with the poison day and night. One night, even my physician, Amrito, became suspicious that perhaps I cannot survive. He was taking my pulse rate and heartbeats on his cardiogram. Seven times I missed one heartbeat.

The seventh time I missed a heartbeat, it was natural for his scientific mind to think, "Now we are fighting a battle that is almost lost." But I said to him, "Don't be worried. Your cardiogram can go wrong; it is just a mechanical device. Trust in my witnessing. Don't bother about my heartbeats."

On the last day of the seven weeks' struggle when all the pain from my body disappeared, Amrito could not believe it. It was happening almost like a miracle. Where has all the pain disappeared?

That last night, in the middle of the night I heard somebody knocking on the door. It is rare; nobody knocks on my door. I had to open my eyes. There was absolute darkness in the room, but I saw suddenly, with the door closed, a human being made of pure light entering. For a moment there was silence, and I heard from nowhere, "Can I come in?" The guest was so pure, so fragrant. I had simply to take him into the silences of my heart.

This body of pure light was nobody but Gautam the Buddha.

You can still see in my eyes the flame that I have absorbed into myself, a flame that has been for twenty-five centuries wandering around the earth to find a shelter. I am immensely blessed that Gautam the Buddha knocked on my doors.

You can see in my eyes the flame, the fire. Your inner being is made of the same cool fire. You have to carry this fire around the earth, sharing, from eyes to eyes, from heart to heart.

We are not here to create a new religion; our every effort is to destroy all religions....

I will be continuing to create so much fire in you that it will burn your ego and your slavery simultaneously and make you a freedom, a light unto yourself. In your very eyes is the hope of the world. nomind04

On 26 December, Osho resumes discourses and says the poisoning has finally left his body. Katue Ishida, the Japanese seeress, recognizes him as the vehicle for Maitreya Buddha. He drops the name "Bhagwan", takes the name Gautama the Buddha. This is the first of four new names.

My Beloved Ones, I have been too long away from you. But this "awayness" was just like the glasses I'm wearing. Although you cannot see me, I can see you.

I used to hear your "Yaa-Hoo." And each time I heard it stars showered over my small hut.

These few days and nights have been days and nights of a certain purification. The poison that has been delivered to me by President Ronald Reagan and his staff...from all over the world experts in poison said that amongst all the poisons this is the one which cannot be detected in any way. And it has been the practice of the CIA in America to give this poison, because there is no way to find it out. And if you cannot find it you cannot give any antidotes. Death has been almost certain.

These long days and nights I have taken the challenge of the poison, just witnessing. The poison was a constant torture on every joint of the bones, but a miracle has happened. Slowly slowly, from all joints it has disappeared. The last were the two arms. Today I am free from that too.

I have a strong feeling that although I was not physically present here, you have felt me in the air. You have felt me more closely than ever before. And in your songs, I was present. In your meditations, remember, I was more present than physical presence allows.

I had to come out today for a special reason.

A few months ago in Bombay, Govind Siddharth had a vision that Gautam Buddha's soul has been searching for a body. And he saw in his vision that my body has become a vehicle for Gautam Buddha.

He was right. But this is the misfortune of man: that you can go wrong even though you had touched upon a point of rightness. Because I declared him to be enlightened, he has disappeared. Since then I have not seen him. Perhaps he thinks, "Now, what is the use? I was searching for enlightenment and I have found it."

Enlightenment is only the beginning, not the end. He came very close and has gone very far away.

But I was waiting for the recognition from a Zen source that Gautam the Buddha is trying to use my words and my silences, my heartbeats and my inner sky to create a few more rainbows, to spread a few more flowers in the world. That recognition has come from a very famous seeress and prophetess from Japan.

One of our sannyasins was there. He could see the sincerity of the woman. She never praises anyone; her insight is clear. He was afraid to ask about me, but finally he decided to ask and without any hesitation she said, "I was waiting for a messenger. You have come at the right time. Gautam Buddha is using Bhagwan's body.

"Right now take these twenty-one very precious real pearls as a present to Bhagwan with my congratulations that a soul that has been wandering around in search of a vehicle has found it."

The sannyasin was a little doubtful, because he said, "Bhagwan's body has been poisoned in America. Will Gautam Buddha accept a vehicle which has been poisoned?"

The sincerity of the woman reminds me of Almitra of Kahlil Gibran's Prophet. She said, "Have you ever heard that a Satan or a devil has been poisoned? It has been the destiny of the Buddhas. Don't think that the body has become impure by poisoning. This has been a fire test, and Bhagwan has come out of it. You take these pearls and my message, and I will be coming myself to pay my respects."

By the way, I have been calling myself "Bhagwan" just as a challenge to this country, to the Christians, to the Mohammedans, to the Hindus. They have condemned me, but none has been courageous enough to explain the condemnation. From faraway sources there have been articles and letters sent to me saying, "Why do you call yourself Bhagwan?" And I have laughed, because why does Ram call himself Bhagwan? Is he appointed by a committee? And a Bhagwan appointed by a committee will not be much of a Bhagwan, because the committee does not consist of Bhagwans. What right have they?

Is Krishna elected by the people as Bhagwan? Is it an election matter? Who has appointed these people? No Hindu has the answer. And a man like Krishna has stolen sixteen thousand women from different people--they were mothers, they were married, unmarried--with no discrimination, and yet no Hindu has the courage to object that a man with such a character has no right to be called Bhagwan.

They can call Kalki, a white horse, "Bhagwan." Strange people! And they ask me why I call myself Bhagwan. I don't have any respect for the word. In fact I have every condemnation of it. It is not a beautiful word--although I have tried in my own way to transform the word, but the stupid Hindus won't allow it. I have tried to give it a new name, a new meaning, a new significance. I have said that it means the Blessed One, a man with a blessed being, although it was my invention.

The word `bhagwan' is a very ugly word. But the Hindus are not even aware of it. They think that it is something very special. Its root meaning--bhag means a woman's genital organs. And wan means a man's genital organs. The meaning of the word `bhagwan' is symbolically that he brings about in the feminine energy of existence, through his male chauvinistic energy, the creation.

I hate the word! I have been waiting for some Hindu idiot to come forward, but they think that it is something very dignified and I have no right to call myself Bhagwan. Today I say absolutely, "Yes, but I have every right to denounce the word." Nobody can prevent me. I don't want to be called Bhagwan again. Enough is enough! The joke is over!

But I accept the Japanese Zen prophetess. And from now onwards I am Gautam the Buddha. You can call me "The Beloved Friend." Drop the word `Bhagwan' completely. Even very intelligent people, people who respect me and love me...

Just the other day I received an appreciation of my book Zarathustra by an internationally famous journalist. He has praised it, and he has said that after Adi Shankara--the most famous Hindu philosopher--I am the second as far as intellectual, rational, spiritual authenticity is concerned.

But still he could not forget the word `bhagwan', why I called myself Bhagwan. But does he know that he is comparing me with Adi Shankara who has been called for over a thousand years "Bhagwan Adi Shankara." And nobody asks the question why.

Anybody would be happy to be compared with Adi Shankara, but I am not. It is not a compliment to me, because Shankara is the reason that Buddhism, which was a higher flowering, was destroyed--by Shankara and the Hindu priesthood. I cannot accept that Shankara has any genius. He is orthodox, just trying to protect the investment of the Hindu priesthood, which is the world's worst, the ancientmost rotten priesthood.

I refuse to be compared with this man, particularly because he was the reason the roses were destroyed that Gautam Buddha had managed to grow in the soil of this land. In my eyes he is a criminal of the worst kind.

But as far as Gautam the Buddha is concerned, I welcome him in my very heart. I will give him my words, my silences, my meditations, my being, my wings. From today onwards you can look at me as Gautama the Buddha.

I will tell you about the Japanese Buddhist seeress--she has sent her picture:

"Katue Ishida, mystic of one of the biggest and most famous Shinto shrines in Japan, stated recently after seeing Bhagwan's picture, that: `This is the person that Maitreya the Buddha has entered. He is trying to create a utopia in the twenty-first century. Lots of destructive power is against Him, and some people call Him Satan. But I have never known Satan to be poisoned. He is usually the poisoner, not the poisoned. We must protect this man, Bhagwan. Buddha has entered Him.'"

With great love and respect I accept Ishida's prophecy. She will be welcome here as one of my people, most loved. And by accepting Gautam the Buddha as my very soul, I go out of the Hindu fold completely; I go against the Jaina fold completely. nomind01

On 28 December 1988, Osho changes his name to Maitreya the Buddha.

I am feeling so light, just by dropping a single word. I feel I can fly like a swan to the eternal snows of the Himalayas. That small word I had chosen as a challenge to this country's whole past. For thirty years I carried that word....

By dropping the word `Bhagwan' I have disconnected myself absolutely from an ugly tradition--inhuman, barbarious. It has created a mind for slavery, uncreative in every sense, and in the name of spirituality every kind of nonsense goes. nomind02

Yesterday you witnessed a historical moment.

I have accepted Gautam Buddha's soul as a guest, reminding him that I am a non-compromising person, and if any argument arises between us, "I am the host, and you are the guest--you can pack your suitcases!" But lovingly and with great joy he has accepted a strange host--perhaps only a strange man like me could do justice to a guest like Gautam the Buddha. Twenty-five centuries ago he was the most liberated, but in twenty-five centuries so much water has flowed down the Ganges. It is a totally new world of which he knows nothing.

With great respect he will have to depend on me to encounter the contemporary situation.

He understood it immediately. His clarity of vision has remained pure all along these twenty-five centuries. I am blessed to be a host of the greatest man of history. And you are also fortunate to be a witness of a strange phenomenon....

Gautam Buddha fought like a lion. I am immensely happy that he has chosen me. His area of fight was very small, just the state of Bihar in North India; my field of work is the whole world.

I have to fight not only against the Hindu superstitions, I have to fight with the Mohammedans, with the Christians--alone, but with great rejoicing, hoping that the courageous ones are going to join my caravan.

The fight is at the most crucial time. The world cannot be saved. These coming twelve years are going to be the last for this beautiful planet to breathe, to blossom into flowers. My work and yours is to find the chosen people before the idiotic politicians destroy the world. Let us create as many buddhas as possible because they will be the only ones whose bodies may be destroyed but whose souls will have wings to fly across the sun into the blue sky and dissolve into eternity with joy, with dance, with gratitude....

It is my great destiny that he has chosen me to be his host. I will do--in fact I have been doing already--the same kind of work of spreading awakening. Hence it is not a problem to me. An ancient buddha residing inside will certainly strengthen my work.

You are asking about poisoning, "Is there any connection (between the poisoning of Gautam Buddha,* and yourself)?" Certainly, seeing that I have overcome the poisoning, which was far more dangerous than the poisoning that Buddha suffered. The poisoning has been a great purification for me. This purification makes me receptive to the wandering soul of Gautam Buddha.

He is not a weight. He is rather more like wings. He is not the man to dictate anything--the pure agnostic, the greatest individualist, the utter rebel. I have been, without knowing, preparing a home, a shelter, for a wandering Buddha. It is my fortune that he has accepted me to be his home for a few days at least.

You are also fortunate to be the assembly of two Buddhas, a bridge stretched between twenty-five centuries, so rich that if you miss, nobody except yourself will be responsible for it.

It is time for Sardar Gurudayal Singh. Gautam the Buddha may not be aware...because I don't find in his scriptures any sense of humor. But now in this assembly even a dead man will start laughing. nomind02

*Note: Gautam Buddha died after eating contaminated food. 

Beloved Buddha, Is it not a paradox that you--who must be the most truly individualistic of beings--have proved also to be the purest medium for another?

I am not the medium for anyone. Gautam Buddha is just my guest. It does not in any way interfere with my individuality. He knows it, there is no need to say it. He is not the man to interfere. He himself is one of the greatest individualists. That's why meeting with him is almost like meeting with oneself.

I am not anybody's medium. I have just found another companion, a tremendous force to help you. Now the caravan is not only to depend on my insights. Now my insights will also be supported by the greatest human being, Gautam Buddha.

And his choice to be my guest is simply because what he has known I have known, what he has become I have become. There is such a deep synchronicity that it is only in language I can say there is a division between the host and the guest. But in existential terms, the host and guest have become one. When two unbounded souls meet, it is a merger. It is just a merger like a river descending deep into the ocean and disappearing. nomind04

On 30 December, Osho announces that Gautama was unable to adjust to the 20th century, and has left. Osho is now to be called Shree Rajneesh Zorba the Buddha

My Beloved Ones,

These four days have been of immense difficulty to me. I had thought that Gautam Buddha would be understanding of the change of times, but it was impossible. I tried my hardest, but he is so much disciplined in his own way--twenty-five centuries back--he has become a hard bone.

Small things became difficult.

He used to sleep only on the right side. He did not use a pillow; he used his hand as a pillow. The pillow was, for him, a luxury.

I told him, "The poor pillow is not a luxury, and it is sheer torture to keep your hand the whole night under your head. And do you think to lie down on the right side is right, and the left is wrong? As far as I am concerned, this is my basic fundamental, that I synthesize both the sides."

He was eating only one time per day and he wanted, without saying a word, that I should do it also. He used to beg his food. He asked me, "Where is my begging bowl?"

This evening exactly at six o'clock when I was taking my jacuzzi, he became very much disturbed--"Jacuzzi?" Taking a bath twice a day was again a luxury.

I said, "You have fulfilled your prophecy that you will be coming back. Four days are enough--I say goodbye to you! And now you need not wander around the earth; you just disappear in the ultimate blue sky.

"You have seen for four days that I am doing the work that you wanted to do, and I am doing it according to the times and the needs. I am not in any way ready to be dictated to. I am a free individual. Out of my freedom and love I have received you as a guest, but don't try to become a host."

These four days I have been having a headache. I had not known it for thirty years, I had completely forgotten what it means to have a headache. Everything was impossible. He is so accustomed to his way, and that way is no longer relevant.

So now I make a far greater historical statement, that I am just myself.

You can continue to call me The Buddha, but it has nothing to do with Gautam the Buddha or Maitreya the Buddha. I am a buddha in my own right. The word `buddha' simply means the awakened one.

It will be a great difficulty for poor Anando, because now I declare that my name should be Shree Rajneesh Zorba The Buddha.

I have to offer an apology to Katue Ishida, the seeress in an ancient Shinto shrine in Japan. I tried my hardest to accommodate a twenty-five centuries old, out-of-date individuality, but I am not ready to be in a self torture.

And Anando has to see me afterwards, to release the second story...because that makes me absolutely free from any kind of tradition. I used to think that Gautam Buddha is an individual--and that is true, he is. But even against his desire a tradition has arisen in Tibet, in China, in Japan, in Sri Lanka, and I don't want to struggle with these idiots. I want to work with my own people on my own authority. nomind05

Today, it is not only to come and sit silently for a few minutes, but also to dance because I have declared myself Zorba The Buddha, which has been my basic approach to all human problems. This evening is far more significant than the evening four days before. nomind05

My Beloved Ones,

Geeta had to inform Katue Ishida, the seeress and the prophetess of one of the most ancient shrines of the Shinto religion in Japan. Geeta was a little concerned that she would be disturbed and shocked, but on the contrary, Ishida was immensely happy.

She said, "I have not only prophesied that Gautam Buddha would be entering your master's being; I have also prophesied that, just as Buddha himself changed his name four times, your master would also do the same."

She said, "My only concern is your master's health and his work. It does not matter whether Buddha remains in his being or not."

I am immensely grateful to Ishida for understanding the situation with clarity.

Yes, it is true Gautam Buddha changed his name four times. And as I remember it, it was not worthy of him to do that. My change has taken me higher.

I found Buddha too old and too much fixed in his approach to life. Finally I dropped all concern with anyone. I have chosen my own name: Zorba the Buddha.

It has meaning, it is not just a name. It is my whole philosia; it is my whole vision, in which the lowest will meet with the highest, in which materialism and spiritualism will not be two separate and antagonistic things. That division has killed human spirit immensely. It has made man a battlefield, and I want man to be a dance, a harmony, a balance.

But Gautam Buddha's changing of names is a little unworthy of him.

I have no concern to protect anybody; now I am going to be simply stating the truth. Whether it hurts, wounds, or heals, depends on you....

Katue Ishida is neither Buddhist nor has she any connection with me. She seems to be a woman of immense understanding, love, and search for a man who has arrived home. She is poor, because she has lived along the lines of non-possessiveness. That's why she has been delayed; now she is collecting money to come here to pay her respects.

Geeta could not believe it. She was thinking that Ishida would be disturbed that her prophecy did not come true, or failed on the way. But an authentic seeker is not concerned with individuals. She told Geeta, "Don't feel worried and concerned. With every change your master has reached a higher stage."

This series of talks I would like to be dedicated with love and blessings to Katue Ishida.

Just because of her prophecy about me she has suddenly become a world-famous name. Now the news media are approaching to her to ask about the prophecy--on what grounds, and all kinds of questions. She has lived silently in a shrine deep in the forest, but just a single prophecy has brought her into the light. She needs to be brought into the light, she may be helpful in solving many problems that man is encountering. nomind06

These five days have been of immense significance. It can be said that almost never in the history of man has such a phenomenon happened....

I would have never told you, but due to Katue Ishida...a woman who has not known me, has just seen my picture and my eyes, and a woman who is a well-known seer and prophetess but rarely speaks. Very rarely people come to her ancient Shinto temple in the forest to ask questions, about their destinies, their future. And most of the time she remains silent; she speaks only when she feels, "Now existence is taking possession of me. I am not speaking, I am only allowing the existence to speak through me."

My Japanese translator, Geeta, has been informing her of everything that has happened in these five tremendously meaningful days. Because of her prophecy that Gautam Buddha has taken possession of my body as a vehicle, I had to admit the truth. But I had also expressed to her that my individuality and Gautam Buddha's individuality are twenty-five centuries apart. He was an individualist--I am a greater individualist. I can be the host, but the guest has to remember that he is not my master.

I have never accepted anybody as my master. It has taken me very long to find out myself, but I am immensely happy that I don't have even to say a `thank you' to anyone. The search has been absolutely alone, tremendously dangerous.

And there are opinions in which I am bound to differ from Gautam Buddha. Four days he stayed with me, and saw clearly that there is no possibility of any compromise.

Compromise always leads you away from the truth. Truth cannot be a compromise--either you know it or you don't.

Geeta informed Ishida, and she was very much afraid: how will the woman feel? But the woman proved to be of tremendous power. She said, "It does not matter. I love your master and I absolutely agree to whatsoever has happened." And then she suddenly started crying.

Geeta asked her, "Why are you crying?"

She said, "There are no words. For the first time...continuously, for five days, I have been speaking about your master, and I know nothing of him. I have not read his books, I have just seen his eyes, and a door within me has opened and almost like a flood I have been speaking. This is for the first time in my whole life..." She is in a hurry to come.

But the seven weeks' fire, the long night of the soul proved to be a blessing in disguise. It has purified me completely. And these five days of Gautam Buddha as Maitreya Buddha--that was his prophecy, that "My name after twenty-five centuries when I come back again, will be Maitreya the Buddha."

The Friend--Maitreya means "the friend."

It was significant on his part. He was saying, the world of the gurus has ended. The world of the masters and disciples will not be relevant anymore. The master can function only in the capacity of a loving friend. And the disciple has not to be a disciple, has not to surrender to anybody, he has just to listen to the Friend. It is up to him to decide what to do or not. No discipline can be given, no dictation can be given.

In the world of religion this is the beginning of democracy; otherwise, all religions have been dictatorial, fascist, fundamentalist.

I would like you to remember because you have been the witness of all these seven weeks and five days--seven weeks of a constantly deepening darkness, and these five days of the rising sun, of the morning glories, of the birds singing. Again a new beginning, not only in my individuality but also in the individualities of those who have taken the risk to be fellow-travelers with me. nomind07

At the end of January 1989, Katue Ishida visits:

Ishida is here, sitting. She has come from Japan, from a Shinto temple. I will make her my ambassador in Japan--I have my ambassadors all over the world. Soon I will appoint an ambassador to the Soviet Union. fire01


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