cover image The Book of Understanding: Creating Your Own Path to Freedom

The Book of Understanding: Creating Your Own Path to Freedom

Osho, . . Harmony, $22 (278pp) ISBN 978-0-307-33694-1

Osho may have been the Howard Stern of spirituality. The late Indian guru, known for most of his life as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, was certainly interested in earthiness ("drop repressions," he advises). His idea of a "new human being" draws from the pleasure-loving attitudes of Zorba the Greek as well as the silent serenity of the Buddha. This teacher from the "crazy wisdom" school of spirituality was definitely into shock value: in teaching the importance of conscious awareness as the rule for experiencing life and becoming free, he maintained that God is bogus, Jesus and Krishna are hallucinations and religion is sheer stupidity. Those who prefer this take-no-prisoners style of critique of organized religions will find this guru comprehensive and provocative. From Western intellectuals Nietzsche and Darwin to Eastern spiritual figures Mahavira and Bodhidharma, Osho's references range across eras and cultures. Osho's familiarity with Western philosophy and religion makes his hybridization of Eastern and Western teachings very accessible to Westerners seeking a path to authentic living. Drawn from talks given to various audiences, this book provides a clear glimpse of Osho's assertive style as well as his central themes of freedom and human energy. (Feb.)