Book excerpt: If Osho died a natural death...where was the need for the extreme secrecy? | books$excerpts | Hindustan Times
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Book excerpt: If Osho died a natural death...where was the need for the extreme secrecy?

In his book Who Killed Osho? journalist Abhay Vaidya throws new light on the circumstances of the spiritual guru’s mysterious death and makes a case for a fresh probe into the matter.

books Updated: May 23, 2017 09:21 IST
Abhay Vaidya
Abhay Vaidya

In his book Who Killed Osho? journalist Abhay Vaidya throws new light on the circumstances of the spiritual guru’s mysterious death and makes a case for a fresh probe into the matter.

If Osho did die a natural death as claimed by Amrito, where was the need for the extreme secrecy at the time of his death?

Why was Dr. Gokani who was hurriedly brought to the Commune on January 19, 1990 to issue Osho’s Death Certificate not allowed to see Osho in his last moments?

Why did Amrito wait for Osho to die before allowing Dr. Gokani to see the body?

Why was Osho cremated in a tearing hurry? There are three critical aspects to Osho’s death which demand close scrutiny. The first is the extraordinary secrecy around Osho at the time of his death. This was followed by his speedy cremation, and then came the elaborate, almost minute-to-minute official account of his death as presented by Amrito through a statement that he read out. When read carefully and dispassionately, this account appears theatrical and contrived, inspired, most likely, by the account of the final hours of the 4th century BC Greek philosopher Socrates whom Osho admired immensely. Since the Indian guru was hailed and worshipped as an ‘Enlightened Master’ and a mystic by his followers, it only seemed appropriate that he could not be allowed to die an ordinary death, without an element of mysticism.

When read carefully and dispassionately, the account of Osho’s death appears theatrical and contrived, writes Vaidya. (HT file photo)

Was the account of Osho’s death a factual account? Or was it drafted by a scriptwriter after careful thought and multiple revisions?

If Amrito’s account is to be believed, it would seem before dying, Osho said all the right things and pressed all the right buttons. He began by taking a shower and putting on a robe in the morning (Satya Vedant’s version). After that, Osho instructed that many of his personal effects be given as gifts to his sannyasins, including to the Indian doctor who issued his Death Certificate. Osho then asked for Jayesh and left him his dream to be fulfilled. He named Anando as his “medium” through whom he would communicate after death and issue guidance to the Commune. He gave elaborate instructions for his Samadhi to be beautified with marble. In addition to saying all this to Amrito in the last conversation of his life, Osho did not forget to accuse the American government and “Christian fundamentalists”— very precisely—of poisoning him during his incarceration in an Oklahoma jail. He turned down Amrito’s suggestion for emergency medical assistance and preferred natural death. Finally, he asked for a quick cremation, wanting his body not to be kept in the Buddha Hall for more than 10 minutes. When Amrito felt his pulse fading rapidly, he said to the Master, “Osho, I think this is it,” and Osho closed his eyes, and bravely embraced death.

If Amrito’s account is to be believed, one would have to accept that Osho did all this amidst rapidly deteriorating health parameters, physical and mental disorientation and intense pain.

According to the official account, Osho’s death was witnessed by just two persons: Jayesh and Amrito. Both were at the helm of affairs at the Commune and enjoyed the complete trust of all the sannyasins. They however, did not deem it fit to inform anyone that Osho was critical and could die (‘leave the body’ in the Commune’s parlance) within hours. They did not deem it fit to consult other senior sannyasins and seek their opinion on the best course to follow. Clearly, Jayesh and Amrito were not just controlling the show but also being extremely secretive about it. All that Amrito did after Osho’s death, was to make an announcement that Osho had handed over his dream to Jayesh for fulfillment! According to the testimonies of senior sannyasins inside the Commune on that day, Jayesh then issued orders for Osho’s speedy cremation, stating that was Osho’s last wish.

Even Anando who was otherwise closest to Jayesh and Amrito among all the other sannyasins, was kept in the dark. She was told later that Osho had remembered her in his dying moments, but, by her own admission, was not called to see him although she was in Lao Tzu House on that day.

Excerpted with permission from Who Killed Osho?, Abhay Vaidya, Om Books International.