Osho is amazing beyond words. Within the`New Way of Living' series, next to `Joy' this book on freedom is my favorite. Why do I say this? Because, in my experience, without joy and without freedom to be oneself, life would be a very dull, grinding affair.
Osho saw clearly how society can warp our sense of self and, in many way, how we must pull away from the influence of the mainstream if we are to gain self-understanding and true freedom. Curiously enough, I have been reading a great deal of the ancient philosopher Epicurus and I hear lots of echoes of the wisdom of Epicurus in the pages of Osho's book. As a way of example and to highlight the similarities between Epicurus and Osho, I would like to cite several Osho quotes with my own brief commentary. Since many others have posted reviews here, I thought this approach would bring an air of freshness.
"Forget all about society, don't fight with it. Have nothing to do with society, let society go on as it is." Likewise, Epicurus wants us to recognize in the grinding, competitive world of business, commerce, and politics, many other people will try to force us to run on their rat wheel. Epicurus urged his followers to move away from the city and live in a separate philosophical community, which, in many ways, was like Osho International in Pune, India.
"Freedom from something is not true freedom. The freedom to do anything you want to do is also not the freedom I am talking about. My vision of freedom is to be yourself." This hits squarely on why most people just don't get Osho. Most people are not satisfied with what life gives them. The pleasure of resting in the beauty of the moment completely eludes them. We can almost hear them bellow, `What is so damn beautiful about the present moment?!' Leisure time for them has become entertainment time. This is why Osho developed his dynamic meditations - so all the garbage we have been forced to swallow can be thrown out. And only then can we enjoy the freedom of simply being alive--resting in the fullness of the present moment.
"You are born as freedom. It is just that you have been conditioned to forget it." Likewise, Epicurus knew there is a type of possession even more valuable than possessing all the fine material goods, and that is possessing the ability to be in the world as a certain kind of artist. Not an artist whose artwork is a painted canvas or a marble sculpture, but instead an artist whose artwork is oneself, to transform our life in a way that we see beauty wherever we look; we have a sensitivity to the texture of things; we bring an element of creativity and artistry to our being in the world. What we taste, hear, feel, see and smell takes on a richness as we deepen our love of life. When I see photos of Osho out in nature, this for me is the very picture of freedom.
"Change your inner being. And the moment you are changed completely transformed, you will suddenly see you are out of the imprisonment, you are no longer a slave. You were a slave because of your chaos." Along the same line of thinking, Epicurus outlined what is natural and necessary - food and water for life, clothes and shelter for comfort, and wisdom and friendship for happiness. Those who came to his Garden to learn his philosophy received an education on the desires. As for myself, I appreciate the education I received as a boy, being taught how to read and write and the basics of mathematics and science, but beyond this, the emphasis on conformity and regimentation I found appalling. Following Osho's lead, I came to understand I couldn't look to society to find freedom; rather, I had to transformation myself internally.
Here are 2 Osho quotes: "God, fate, destiny--they are all in the same category: throwing your responsibility onto something that does not exist." And "You can have freedom. But the cost is to accept responsibility in its totality." Likewise, the first two Principal Doctrines of Epicurus are meant to have us experience freedom from fear of God and freedom from fear of death. As both Osho and Epicurus knew: we can't be free as long as we are caught in the grip of fear.
"He (God) does not hear prayers, otherwise you all will be in trouble." True! If God answered all prayers we would all be dead! For example: if one Christian on planet earth prays for the death of all non-Christians and one Muslim on planet earth prays for the death of all non-Muslims, then the entire human population is wiped out! And that is only the prayers of 2 people!
"What exactly is the innermost substance of freedom? - that you are free from the past, that you are free from the future." I love this little book. Please order a copy and walk with Osho in freedom.