To celebrate the entrance of the Sun into Sagittarius here is a riff on Osho, [formerly known as Bhagwan or Rajneesh] as an inspiring exemplar of Sagittarius. This piece is excerpted from the Sagittarius Chapter of my book Signs of the Zodiac: Clothing of the Self
Osho as a Sagittarian
Take these classic traits for example – insistence on personal freedom, passion for truth and honesty, directness of speech, love of humour, and a propensity to argue and debate.
On the freedom theme, consider that even as a young child he demanded and was given total freedom, because as his hapless father soon realized, any attempt to exert paternal control that was not grounded in truthful example was to risk immediate exposure as a hypocrite. It was safer and wiser to simply let the outrageously precocious boy have his way. In his later teaching too, Osho, [like Maharaji, another contemporary Sagittarian guru, the spiritual head of what was initially known as Divine Light Mission,] laid down no commandments of belief or behaviour. Quite the contrary, because freedom for him was the highest value, higher even than love, for as he saw it, love without freedom is not love at all.
In word and action he practised ruthless honesty, perhaps to a fault, in that he refused to lie to spare the feelings of others, even when it would have been expedient or arguably kinder to do so, and in fact, he went out of his way to expose cant and hypocrisy wherever he perceived them.
His sense of humour was of the wicked kind, and the telling of ribald jokes became a distinctive aspect of darshan with him. Definitely not your conventionally pious holy man, he delighted in offending traditional religious sensibilities, because for him, the greatest sin was to be serious. Consequently, laughter and celebration became his preferred forms of ‘religious’ worship.
As for directness in speech, Osho could be provocative in the extreme. Listen to his discourse on the uses of the word ‘fuck’ for an hilarious example of ‘over the top’ Sagittarian humour. As we say in Australia, ‘if you can’t laugh you’re fucked.’
He was also an exceptional debater whose mastery was such that when his opponent failed to show up for the final of the All India Debating Championship he argued both sides himself and the result was declared a draw!
Sagittarius is a high-spirited fire sign, noted for a love of energetic physical adventure, and here again Osho was true to type. As a youth he delighted in diving off a high bridge into a river in flood for example, whilst later in life he inspired devotees to heights of ecstatic abandon by leading them in exuberant dancing. Also, his signature active meditations, Dynamic and Kundalini, are both highly energetic expressive processes that are as different in kind to formal sitting meditation as the element of fire is to that of earth. And consider too in this regard, his incantatory exhortations to participants in his early Meditation Camps for a wonderful example of inspirational fire energy expressing through word and speech.
Winston Churchill’s wartime oratory is a good example of a different kind, whilst closer to home would be pre-match addresses in the arena of competitive sport, or motivational speeches by high achieving business and political leaders on the international lecture circuit. Some of these no doubt would have been inspired by the original proponent of the power of positive thinking, Dale Carnegie, author of How To Win Friends And Influence People. This stuff comes easy to Sagittarians, for they are the natural optimists of the zodiac.
In true Sagittarian style, Osho was also a great traveller. On the physical plane, he repeatedly criss-crossed India to conduct meditation camps and later embarked on a world tour after being deported from America in Nov 1985. More significantly, as a one time professor of philosophy and prodigious reader, [check out Books I Have Loved for his personal favourites], and in keeping too, with Sagittarius’ association with publishing and higher education, Osho traversed the highest reaches of the mind in his extemporized discourses on the major wisdom traditions of East and West, currently published in over 600 volumes. These discourses display a breadth and depth of erudition that would surely impress even the most learned scholar or well travelled pilgrim.
Osho was classically Sagittarian too in being a great story-teller. A familiar refrain in his discourses is “I am reminded of a story ..” followed by a long tale that takes off in an apparently unrelated direction but which unfailingly returns to the original theme to sagely illuminate the subject under discussion.
Osho was often derisively critical of astrology, though he didn’t dismiss it entirely. For instance, on p 31 of his autobiography, Glimpses of a Golden Childhood he says: “I don’t believe in astrology; 99% of it is nonsense, but1% is pure truth. The I% I need not believe in, it is true. I have seen it function.” And even more positively he says on pp 413/414: “I myself have seen my birth chart only once. That was in 1970. It described my whole past exactly and also my future .. I was amazed because everything it said had either happened or was happening. Now, things that were in the future then have also become the past. They have happened. I can say without hesitation that life is predetermined by past lives.”
Further, for those who accept his genuine Buddhahood, Osho fulfilled the prediction of the Indian astrologer who drew up his chart: “I am sorry, I can only make this birth chart after seven years. If the child survives then I will make his chart without any charge, but I don’t think he will survive. If he does it will be a miracle, because then there is a possibility for him to become a Buddha.”