Osho was from India and passed away in 1990. Just to give you an idea of Osho's influence - the Sunday Times in London listed him as one of the "1000 Makers of the 20th Century". Osho has also been described as one of the 10 people - along with Gandhi, Nehru and Buddha - who have changed the destiny of India.
I discovered Osho while browsing in Kinokuniya. Osho books occupy quite a number of bookshelves there. I flipped through a few of the books and found them to be a captivating read. I bought two titles, "Sermons in Stone" and "The Book of Man", and shall be reading them this week.
Right now, I am not very familiar with Osho yet. From my brief browsing, it seems that Osho has an opinion on just about everything. He is simultaneously profound and irreverent (his autobiography is entitled "Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic"). He regularly intersperses his musings on meditation and spirituality with funny jokes (some dirty too, but all quite funny).
Osho's grand vision was the birth of a new kind of human being, which he called "Zorba the Buddha". Zorba is a rebel, representing the ultimate that any of us can aspire to be, and this is Osho's rebel:
"... a man who is in search of his original self, of his original face. A man who is ready to drop all masks, all pretensions, all hypocrisies and show to the world what he, in reality, is. Whether he is loved or condemned, respected, honoured or dishonoured, crowned or crucified, does not matter; because to be yourself is the greatest blessing in existence. Even if you are crucified, you will be crucified fulfilled and immensely contented.In case you're wondering what Osho's personal influences were, well, I don't know. Flipping through his books, I find references to Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Sufism, Lao Tzu. At the same time, as I said, Osho seems to have an opinion about everything - from pornography to psychoanalysis to Hiroshima to homosexuality to sociology to Socrates to American business entrepreneurship.
A man of truth, a man of sincerity, a man who knows love and who knows compassion, and who understands that people are blind, unconscious, asleep, spiritually asleep ..."
Well, I won't say any more about Osho (at least, not until I get to know him better). So I'll just end here with one of his little jokes:
A man asked a rabbi, "Why didn't Jesus choose to be born in twentieth-century America?
The rabbi shrugged his shoulders and said, "In America? It would have been impossible. Where can you find a virgin? And secondly, where can you find three wise men?"