June 21, 2010

Osho on Islam

My 27 year-old son was just visiting. He was here for a week. Of course, I talked about Islamic supremacism quite a bit, and being 27 (and from Southern California), my son was trying to find every way he could to not believe it. I could tell from his responses that he was thinking, "This can't be true; Dad must be exaggerating or reading only a small fringe source of information or something."

One night as we were talking, he got on my laptop and asked me, "How do you spell Mohammad?" And then, "How do you spell Qur'an?" I didn't know what he was doing, but then he said, "I'll be damned."

He was looking on Osho's web site. He is a big fan of Osho, a spiritual teacher from India who writes on every religion, revealing the shared, universal, spiritual nature at the core of every religion (or as we found out, almost every religion).

My son assumed that since Osho has written a book on every religion (and praised the core teachings of every one of them), Osho must have written one on Islam, and my son was going to read it and get "the other side of the story." But what he found was that Osho has not written about Islam, and not only that, he explained why he hasn't. Here is what Osho said:

Mohammed was an absolutely illiterate man, and the Koran, in which his sayings are collected, is ninety-nine percent rubbish. You can just open the book anywhere and read it, and you will be convinced of what I am saying. I am not saying on a certain page — anywhere. You just open the book accidentally, read the page and you will be convinced of what I am saying.

Whatsoever one percent truth there is here and there in the Koran is not Mohammed's. It is just ordinary, ancient wisdom that uneducated people collect easily — more easily than the educated people, because educated people have far better sources of information — books, libraries, universities, scholars. The uneducated, simply by hearing the old people, collect a few words of wisdom here and there. And those words are significant, because for thousands of years they have been tested and found somehow true. So it is the wisdom of the ages that is scattered here and there; otherwise, it is the most ordinary book possible in the world.

Muslims have been asking me, "Why don't you speak on the Koran? You have spoken on The Bible, on the Gita, this and that." I could not say to them that it is all rubbish; I simply went on postponing. Even just before I went into silence, a Muslim scholar sent the latest English version of the Koran, praying me to speak on it. But now I have to say that it is all rubbish, that is why I have not spoken on it — because why unnecessarily waste time?

- From Unconciousness to Consciousness
Chapter 5 by Osho

To those of us who study Islam, this is very mild criticism, but coming from Osho, it is severe and harsh, and made an impression on my son.

1 comment:

  1. if, u're a reader of Osho, i may take the liberty of assuming that u have an open mind ready for discussions based on reason and argument. Beloved Osho has counted the beloved Prophet amongst the great Enlightened Masters on several occassions (plz. see- his talk on vegetarianism available on youtube). Whatever he said was never out of bitterness or ill-will (it can be seen and understood from the manner of his speaking). He only wanted to emphasize that is truth is to be realized, one should be ready for enquiry and should not believe in anything, unless it is supported by thier own experience. He has reiterated several times that language always remains inadequate to express the ultimate truth. We cannot understand even ordinary things in absence of actual experience, what to say of the ultimate truth? can we ever explain to a child what red, blue or green mean until he himself sees those colors? This is the problem with even the most modern and sophisticated languages. Nevertheless, different masters have different ways of explaining things. Beloved Prophet may have been talking in terms understandable to his contemporary people. But perhaps, Sufi Masters understood him better and beloved Osho has spoken at length on the beauty of sufism.