Osho, better known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, became infamous for his posh lifestyle and outrageous teachings. A prolific author of some respectable and even insightful books, he refused to pen an autobiography for his myriad disciples. Nonetheless, two of these, Sarito Carol Neiman and Ma Yoga Bhakti, have pieced together an autobiography of sorts from the many of volumes of his writings and published talks. We find in Osho a vibrant mind, a sharp wit, and a feigned unpretentiousness that is both disarming and seductive. Following his story, we learn Osho was raised on a loose tether by his businessman grandfather and atheist grandmother, rebelliously questioning religious authority by the age of 5. By the age of 7, he was uncontrollable, and at 21, he had a prolonged enlightenment experience. A Ph.D. in philosophy brought him to the role of professor, but he outgrew it with his talks on meditation that gradually became more radical, until he was known in India as the sex guru. Ousted from India, he sought to create the perfect and most free community, choosing a remote corner of the U.S. Controversy erupted, and the man who called himself Zorba the Buddha became persona non grata the world over. To read about this unorthodox teacher in his own words is certainly entertaining, and although not without internal contradictions, the book is valuable for its relentless challenge to the sacred tenets of established religious thought. Like the best Zen master, Osho forces us to reconsider our conventions. --Brian Bruya
From Publishers Weekly
"Autobiography" is a misnomer, as the Indian mystic Osho (1931-1990) never wrote his memoirs; this book is an arrangement of reminiscences harvested from thousands of tape-recorded talks. However, the titular phrase "spiritually incorrect" is apt for a man who called himself "Zorba the Buddha." Born Rajneesh Chandra Mohan, Osho became a philosophy professor and began attracting followers in the 1960s. In 1968, he shocked Indian society by publishing a series of talks under the title From Sex to Superconsciousness. In the 1980s, he came to America and founded a commune in Oregon, called Rajneeshpuram. He was deported a few years later following the discovery that his personal assistant had firebombed a county planning office, among other crimes. In 1988, he said that the Buddha had "taken shelter" in him for four days, but departed because of disapproval of Osho's luxurious lifestyle, which included ownership of 90 Rolls-Royces. Osho's thought (or no-thought) clearly arises from India's Buddhist tradition, but his discourses refer to sources as diverse as Muhammad and Jung. Mixing Western therapy and Eastern meditation, Osho introduced such innovative practices as "dynamic meditation," which involved dancing, leaping and shouting instead of sitting in silence. Readers may be amused by Osho's humor, taken aback by his boastfulness, bemused by his pronouncements and shocked by his irreverence, but occasionally they will also be struck by his insight. (May)
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