Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, also known as Osho, Acharya Rajneesh, or simply Rajneesh, was a controversial Indian mystic, guru, and spiritual teacher.
Osho has been described as “the most original thinker that India has produced: the most erudite, the most clearheaded and the most innovative.”
He’s well regarded, and controversial, because he advocates that people act with courage in living a life full of risk. People need to take control of their own lives. Truth and enlightenment exist within the individual, and can’t be taught by organized religions.
Here’s some of his more powerful quotes encouraging you to live life in your own way. I’ve organized them in a way that tells a story, and builds to one of Osho’s most powerful insights.
Let me know what you think of the insights in the comments, or by joining us at Ideapod.
Don’t be the Buddha. Don’t be the Krishna. Be yourself.
“Buddha is a Buddha, a Krishna is a Krishna, and you are you. And you are not in any way less than anybody else. Respect yourself, respect your own inner voice and follow it.”
You have a choice. Choose the path of the rebel.
“You can either be a person who is a coward, afraid, ready to submit, surrender, a person who has himself no dignity, no respect for his own being—or you can be fearless. But then you are going to be a rebel, you cannot avoid that. Either you can be a man of faith or you are going to be a rebellious spirit.”
Don’t be a sheep. Be a lion.
“The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.”
Find your own way.
“It is not a question of money, power, and prestige; it is a question of what intrinsically you want to do. Do it, irrespective of the results, and your boredom will disappear.”
Don’t be ready-made with God, or anyone. Be spontaneous.
“Prayer is a spontaneous feeling. Remember this story when you pray. Let your prayer be a spontaneous phenomenon. If even your prayer cannot be spontaneous, then what will be? If even with God you have to be ready-made, then where will you be authentic and true and natural?”
There are no fixed formulas to finding God.
“Freedom creates fear. People talk about freedom, but they are afraid. And a man is not yet a man if he is afraid of freedom. I give you freedom; I don’t give you security. I give you understanding; I don’t give you knowledge. Knowledge will make you certain. If I can give you a formula, a set formula, that there is a God and there is a Holy Ghost and there is an only begotten son, Jesus; there is hell and heaven, and these are the good acts and these are the bad acts; do the sin and you will be in hell, do what I call the virtuous acts and you will be in heaven—finished!—then you are certain. That’s why so many people have chosen to be Christians, to be Hindus, to be Mohammedans, to be Jainas—they don’t want freedom, they want fixed formulas.”