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Bondage to Freedom – Osho on Sannyas, Red Robes and Malas

During the month that followed Sheela’s exit flight Osho talked three times a day (about seven to eight hours) to disciple and journalists. For such a self-acclaimed lazy man He was doing a tremendous amount of “work,” and was obviously getting tired.

When asked by a journalist how was it possible that He did not know everything that was going on if He was enlightened, Osho replied:

“To be enlightened means I know myself, it does not mean that I know my room is bugged.”

September 26th, 1985. It takes a diamond to cut a diamond, and I recognized that what was coming was going to hurt when in discourse Osho said:

“And today I would like to declare something immensely important – because I feel perhaps this helped Sheela and her people to exploit you, I don’t know whether tomorrow I will be here or not, so it is better to do it while I am here, and make you free from any other possibility of such a fascist regime.”

“That is, from today, you are free to use any color of clothes. If you feel like using red clothes, that is up to you. And this message has to be sent all over the world to all the communes. It will be more beautiful to have all the colors. I had always dreamed of seeing you in all the colors of the rainbow.

Today we claim the rainbow to be our colors.

The second thing: you return your malas – unless you wish otherwise. That is your choice, but it is not a necessity anymore. You return your malas to President Hasya. But if you want to keep it, it is up to you.

The third thing: from now onwasrds, anybody who wants initiation into sannyas will not be given a mala and will not be told to change to red clothes. 

So, we can take over the world more easily!” (From Bondage to Freedom)

These words from Osho had an ominous feel to them, but it was the clapping and cheering that frightened me. It was like a stupid mob; like the clapping that had accompanied Sheela’s meetings. Many people left Rajneesh Mandir very happy and went to buy new color clothes in the boutique. I saw Vivek, we were both wary of the change, and she said to me, “He may disband the commune next.”

Ocotober 8th, 1985, Osho said in discourse:

“…You have been clapping because I have dropped red clothes, malas. And when you clap, you don’t know how it hurts me. That means you have been a hypocrite!”

“Why have you been wearing red clothes if dropping them brings you so much joy? Why have you been wearing the mala? The moment I say, ‘Drop,’ you rejoice. And people rushed to the boutique to change their clothes, they have dropped their malas.

“But you don’t know how much you have wounded me by your clapping and by your changing.”

“Now, I have to say one thing more, and I would like to see whether you have guts to clap or not; that is, now there is no Buddhafield. So if you want enlightenment, you have to work for it individually, the Buddhafield exists no more. You cannot depend on the energy of the Buddhafield to become enlightened.

Now clap as loudly as you can. CLAP!…”

“Now you are completely free: even for enlightenment only you are responsible. And I am completely free from you.”

“You have been behaving like idiots!…”

“And this has given a good chance to see how many people are really intimate with me. If you can drop your malas so easily… Even in my own house there is one sannyasin who immediately changed to blue clothes, with great joy. What does it show? It shows that those red clothes were a burden. She was somehow managing to be in red clothes against her will.

But I don’t want you to do anything against your will. 

Now I don’t want even to help you towards your enlightenment against your will. You are absolutely free and responsible for yourself.” (From Bondage to Freedom)

When He shouted “Clap!” it was as though a bomb had exploded and we were all sitting in its fallout, frozen.

My Diamond Days with Osho, ma prem shunyo

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