From Sex To Superconsciousness
Author : Osho (Rajneesh)
Genre : Philosophy
Rajneesh was born as Chandra Mohan Jain on 11 December (my birthday!) 1931 and later got to be known as Osho. Perhaps one of the most controversial gurus coming out of India, he is both celebrated and vilified. Some like Khushwant Singh say he was “the most original thinker that India has produced, the most erudite, the most innovative and the most clear-headed”. While others pointed to the “gross contradictions and inconsistencies in his teaching that exploit the ignorance and gullibility of his listeners”.
Osho believed in meditation, mindfulness, love and celebration. His famous quote is “Live, Love, Laugh, Light”. But he believes these qualities are being suppressed by adherence to static belief systems, religious traditions, and social norms. All his books therefore challenge this status quo and talk of free will. [Refer also to his book Zorba The Buddha reviewed on this blog. His conception of an ideal man has the playfulness of a Zorba and the higher purpose of a Buddha]
This book is the epitome of controversy. I read the hindi version (Sambhog se Samadhi ki Or). Osho enjoyed causing offence and, through this book, he celebrates the big taboo of sex and hits hard at almost everything the society holds dear – religion, family values, monogamus relationships.
Like all his books, this is actually a narration of Osho’s discourses. In his first talk, where he was called to speak on Love, he was thrown out of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan auditorium. After that he continued his talks at Gwalia Tank Madan with over 50,000 people attending every time. His discourses are divided in various chapters where he tries to answer questions related to Sex, Super-consciousness, Religion, Ego, Meditation etc. There is an initial monologue and then a lot of Q&A.
Osho stresses on how religion and society have repressed sex and made it a deviant act. Sex should not be shameful, but rather celebrated as a beautiful act of love and nature in a bonded committed relationship. He supports what he says with examples and stories. The book also talks about ‘I’, the ego of a person and how it stops a man from reaching super- consciousness.
Osho explains the treasures of life that we all have but lose because of ego and anger. We treat our life like a person in a waiting room of a railway station, who is there only for a little while and hence dirties the place and always eager to go. When we try desperately to move away from something, our thoughts pull us towards the same thing again and again. Repression leads to an unnatural obsession and hence to perversion and mental sickness. Society can be free from the ghost of sex only after we start talking about it in a rational and healthy manner. Osho says that an atom can take hundreds of thousands of peoples’ lives like in Hiroshima whereas an atom from a man’s energy can create a new life. But we don’t even try to understand sex and run away from talking about it. For thousands of years, every sage and priest has talked about banishing it in the name of freedom from maya but still man has not been able to do it.
Osho then talks about man’s journey from heaven to hell – we as a child are full of purity and innocence but later become corrupted and tired. But the right journey should be from sorrow to joy, from darkness to light, from mortality to immortality. He says that there are only 2 ways to attain super-consciousness: sex and meditation. He asks us to remember how all the sages have described the moment of attaining nirvana (or super consciousness). The state has been described as a state of pure bliss, of timelessness, of thoughtlessness, where nothing else matters and we feel one with the world. Now Osho asks when is the closest we have come to experiencing this state. He explains that the act of sex and orgasm is when ordinary humans attain this absolute bliss. However, he continues that this feeling is very temporary, very ephemeral because sex is still a ‘low” way to achieve it. And hence the title of the book: we have to move from sex to super-consciousness. From physical to psychological to spiritual. Love and meditation together can lead man towards the door to God. Osho says: “Sex is man’s most vibrant energy, but it should not be an end unto itself. Sex should lead man to his soul.”
Through a funny story of a teacher and school students, Osho explains that man doesn’t know anything about soul or God. It is imperative to know kama if one wants to reach Rama. He ends his discourse by saying: “I desire that the lust inside each of us may become ladder with which to reach to the temple of love, that the sex inside each of us may become a vehicle to reach super-consciousness.”
There are parts of the book that are extremely controversial. In advocating a more open attitude to human sexuality, he caused controversy in India during the late 1960s and became known as “the sex guru”. He fled to United States but was soon deported even from there. Critics argue that the book talks largely from a man’s perspective and not from a woman’s and that Osho starts manipulating around the central idea. Osho advocates that men biologically cannot be expected to sleep with only one woman for their entire life. He proposes open marriage – that couples should allow their spouses to sleep with others so they will remain sexually satisfied, therefore improving other areas of the relationship! [Read Sir Richard Branson’s experience of trying this – his wife left him. What he took as fun and exploration, his wife interpreted as lack of commitment].
As a transcript of oral lectures, the book often gets repetitive. Better editing could have made it crisper.
Why Should You Read The Book: Osho is not for the faint-hearted. He is willfully provocative and often espouses the extreme. We may not agree with all his arguments. But the core of his philosophy, of not being ashamed of natural instincts, of not letting social norms decide our destiny, is solid. He explains his point through beautiful stories and the narration is very easy to understand and keeps the reader engaged.
Goodreads Link: From Sex to Superconsciousness by Osho (goodreads.com)