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> Osho takes the controversial name Bhagwan

In May 1971 Osho*1 changes his name from Acharya Shree Rajneesh to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, and for the first time publicly acknowledges the fact that he is enlightened*2.

*1Note: In 1989 Osho changed his name to Osho, and asked that he be known by this name thereafter.

*2Note: On 22 November 1972, for the first time Osho confirms details of his enlightenment. Osho's cousin Ma Yoga Kranti, with whom he lived when he became enlightened, asks him about this event. Osho suggests she remember it for herself, which she does: that it happened on 21 March 1953 at 2am under the Maulashree tree in Bhanvartal Garden. See Sannyas Magazine Jan-Feb 1973

Many people have asked me why I kept silent about the fact I became enlightened in 1953. For almost twenty years I never said anything about it to anybody, unless somebody suspected it himself, unless somebody said to me on his own, "We feel that something has happened to you. We don't know what it is, but one thing is certain: that something has happened and you are no more the same as we are—and you are hiding it."
In those twenty years not more than ten people asked me, and even then I avoided them as much as I could unless I felt that their desire was genuine. And I told them only when they had promised to keep it a secret. And they all fulfilled it. Now they are all sannyasins, but they all fulfilled it, they kept it a secret. I said, "You wait. Wait for the right moment. Only then will I declare it."
I have learned much from the past buddhas. If Jesus had kept a little quieter about being the Son of God it would have been far more beneficial to humanity. I had made it a point that until I stopped traveling in the country I was not going to declare it; otherwise I would have been killed—you would not be here.
Once I had finished with traveling, mixing with the masses, moving from one town to another…. For twenty years continuously I was moving, and there was not a single bodyguard….
If I had declared it I would have been killed very easily. There would have been no problem in it; it would have been so simple. But for twenty years I kept absolutely silent about it. I declared it only when I saw that now I had gathered enough people who could understand it. I had gathered enough people who were mine, who belonged to me. I declared it only when I knew that now I could create my own small world and I was no more concerned with the crowds and the masses and the stupid mob. dh1102

In Christianity you cannot be a saint on your own account. The word saint comes from sanction. You have to be sanctioned by the church that you are a saint; it is a certificate. It is such an ugly idea that the church can give you a certificate that you are a saint. Even a man like Francis of Assisi, a beautiful man, was summoned by the pope: "People have started worshipping you like a saint, and you don't have any certificate."
And that's where I feel Francis missed the point. He should have refused, but he knelt just like a Christian and asked the pope, "Give me the certificate." Otherwise he was a nice man, a beautiful man, but I don't mention his name because he acted in a very stupid way. This is not the way of a saint.
I don't need anybody's certificate for my enlightenment or for my buddhahood. I declare it! I don't need anybody's certificate. Who can give me the certificate? Even Gautam Buddha cannot give me the certificate. Who gave him a certificate?
But the idea of `saint' in English is very wrong. It comes from sanctus, sanctioned. gdead02

You ask me: Why do you call yourself Bhagwan? Why do you call yourself God?
Because I am—and because you are. And because only god is. There is no other way, there is no other way to be. You may know it, you may not know it. The only choice is between ignorance and knowledge. The choice is not between whether to be a god or not to be a god; the choice is whether to recognize it or not. You can choose not to call, but you cannot choose not to be. But it has to be understood, because it is one of the most radical standpoints about life.
Life is made of one stuff. Call it god, call it matter, call it electricity. One thing is certain—that life consists of only one stuff. At the deepest, life is one unity. You can call it whatsoever you like. Scientists used to call it matter, now they have decided to call it electricity. Religious people decided to call it god, non-religious people decided to call it the world. But one thing is certain—that there exists only one thing….
There are only two ways to give a label to life. One is the way of the realist—he calls it matter. The other is the way of the poet, the dreamer—he calls it god.
I am an unashamed poet. I'm not a realist. I call myself god, I call you god, I call rocks god, I call trees god, and the clouds god…. The whole consists of only one stuff and I have chosen to call it god, because with god you can grow, with god you can ride on great tidal waves; you can go to the other shore. God is just a glimpse of your destiny. You give personality to existence.
Then between you and the tree it is not emptiness. Then between you and your beloved it is not emptiness—god is bridging everything. He surrounds you, he is your surround. He is within and he is without.
When I call myself god, I mean to provoke you, to challenge you. I am simply calling myself god so that you can also gather courage to recognize it. If you can recognize it in me, you have taken the first step to recognizing it in yourself.
It will be very difficult for you to recognize it in yourself, because you have always been taught to condemn yourself. You have always been taught that you are a sinner. Here I am to take all that nonsense away. My insistence is that it is only one thing that is missing in you—the courage to recognize who you are.
I call myself god to help you, to give you courage. If this man can be a god, why not you? I'm just like you. By calling myself god, I am not bringing god down, I am bringing you up. I am taking you for a high journey. I'm simply opening a door towards the Himalayan peaks….
The Indian term for god, Bhagwan, is even better than god. That word is tremendously meaningful. It simply means 'the blessed one' nothing else. Bhagwan means 'the blessed one'—one who is fortunate enough to recognize his own being.
It has no Christian associations. When you say 'god', it seems as if I have created the world. I deny all responsibility! I have not created this world. I am not that much a fool. The Christian idea of god is one who has created the world. Bhagwan is totally different. It has nothing to do with creating the world. It simply says one who has recognized himself as divine. In that recognition is benediction. In that recognition is blessing. He has become the blessed one.
You can also become. If I can become, why not you? Nothing is lacking—just a courage to penetrate your own soul, just a courage to enter yourself. You have been taught to be sinners—condemned crushed, crawling on the earth. Your wings have been cut and destroyed.
Calling myself Bhagwan, I would like simply to say to you to gather courage, reclaim your wings…the whole sky is yours. But without wings it is not yours. Reclaim your wings and don't allow anybody to condemn you. Respect yourself! If you cannot respect yourself, you cannot respect anybody else.
When you respect yourself, a great respect arises. Then you respect the tree, the rock, the man, the woman, the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars. But those ripples of respect arise only when you have started respecting yourself.
I call myself Bhagwan because I respect myself. I am tremendously fulfilled as I am. I am the blessed one. I have no discontent. That is the meaning of Bhagwan—when you have no discontent, when each moment of your life is a fulfillment…when you don't desire anything in the future; your present is so full, overflowing…when there is no hankering.
That's why we call Buddha Bhagwan. He has denied god in his cosmology. He says there is no god, no creator. Christians become very puzzled when Buddha says there is no god, no creator. Then why do Buddhists call him Bhagwan?
Our meaning of Bhagwan is totally different. We call him Buddha, Bhagwan, because he has now no more desires. He is contented. He is happy and at home. He has come home—that is his blessedness. Now there is no conflict between him and existence. He has fallen in accord, in harmonia. Now he and the whole are not two separate things. They vibrate in the same way. He has become part of the orchestra of the whole. And by becoming a part of this great orchestra of stars and trees and flowers and winds and clouds and seas and sands, he has become blessed—we call him Bhagwan….
If you exist without a god, you are a tree without flowers, a rosebush without roses. And what is a rosebush without roses? Just thorns….
When I call myself Bhagwan, I am simply saying to you, 'Look at me—the roses have bloomed. And what has happened to me can happen to you. So don't feel desperate and don't feel depressed. Look at me and your hope will come back, and you will not feel hopeless.
'Allow me to enter you. At least allow my fragrance to enter your nostrils. Let me get to your heart. Let me stir your heart a little so that your own flowers start growing, your own buds start opening their petals.'
Calling myself Bhagwan is just a device. I can drop it any day. The moment I see it has started working, the chain has started. The moment I see that now it is no more needed…a few people have become a flame; then they will be enough proof. There will be no need to call myself Bhagwan. They will be enough proof. If a few of my sannyasins start blooming, I will drop calling myself Bhagwan. The device will have worked.
A few years back, one day I called Yoga Chinmaya and told him to find a new word for me because I was going to function in a new way. I was known all over the country as the acharya. The acharya means a master, a teacher, and I was a teacher, and I was teaching and travelling. That was just the introductory part of my work; that was to invite people.
Once the invitation reached, I stopped travelling. Now those who want, they should come to me. I have gone to their home, knocked on their doors. I have told them that I am here and any day the desire arises in them, they can come. I will wait. I have shown them the path towards me. And then one day I called Yoga Chinmaya and I told him, 'Now find a new word for me because the word "teacher" will not be enough.'
He brought many names for the new function that I was going to take. He said, 'Maharishi, great seer.' I said, 'That is comparative—seer and great seer, rishi and maharishi. No, that is not good. And everybody cannot be a seer. It is a talent. A few people can become seers, everybody cannot become a seer.'
Then he said, 'Paramahansa, the great swan?' Again it is comparative. And it is a symbol of hierarchy. In certain old sannyasin orders, Paramahansa is the last stage. Just as in buddhist terminology, Arhat is the peak, one has arrived. In Hindu terminology, Paramahansa is the peak—but it shows graduation, step by step. It is mathematical, calculative.
He said, 'Then what about Avadhuta? That too is another comparative term, belonging to another sect of sannyasins. It is again parallel to Arhat and Paramahansa, and belongs to the Tantrikas. Avadhuta is their last stage. But it shows achievement.
I said, 'Find something which is universal. Find something which is not relative.' And then he found 'Bhagwan'.
It is a non-comparative term. You cannot be godlier than god; godder than god you cannot be. It is a non-comparative term. And it does not show any achievement; it simply shows your nature. Not that one has to become god; one is god, one has simply to recognize
It does not show any talent. There is somebody who is a great poet, somebody who is a great seer, a great visionary; somebody a great painter, somebody a great musician, somebody a great dancer—these are all talents. All cannot be great dancers; you cannot all be Nijinskys. And all cannot be great painters; you cannot all be Van Goghs. And you all cannot be great poets; you cannot all be Tagores and Pablo Nerudas.
But Bhagwan you all are. It does not show an achievement; it simply shows your universality, your very nature. Already you are god.
I loved the term. I said, 'That will do. At least for a few years it will do; then we can drop it.'
I have chosen it for a specific purpose and it has been serving well, because people who used to come to me to gather knowledge, they stopped. The day I called myself Bhagwan, they stopped. It was too much for them, it was too much for their egos. Somebody calling himself Bhagwan?…it hurts the ego.
They stopped. They were coming to me to gather knowledge. Now I've changed my function absolutely. I started working on a different level, in a different dimension. Now I give you being, not knowledge. I was an acharya and they were students; they were learning. Now I am no more a teacher and you are not here as students.
If you are here as students, sooner or later you will have to leave, because you will find yourself in a wrong place; you will not fit here. Only if you are a disciple, then you can fit with me. Because now I am to give something more. If you are here for knowledge, then sooner or later you will see—you have to go somewhere else.
I am here to impart being. I am here to make you awake. I am not going to give you knowledge, I am going to give you knowing—and that is a totally different dimension.
Calling myself Bhagwan was simply symbolic—that now I have taken a different dimension to work. And it has been tremendously useful. All wrong people automatically disappeared and a totally different quality of people started arriving.
It worked well. Chinmaya's choice was good. It sorted out well. Only those who are ready to dissolve with me remained, all others escaped. They created space around me. Otherwise they were crowding too much, and it was very difficult for the real seekers to come closer to me. The crowds disappeared. The word 'Bhagwan' functioned like an atomic explosion. It did well. I am happy that I chose it.
Now people who come to me are no more argumentative. Now people who come to me come to drink me, to eat me, to digest me. Now people who come to me are great adventurers of the soul. And they are ready to risk—to risk any and everything.
Calling myself Bhagwan is a device. Sooner or later, when you have grown up and you have understood the point, and when your presence here has created a different quality of vibrations, I will stop calling myself Bhagwan. Then there will be no need. Then the whole atmosphere will be throbbing with godliness. Then people who will come, it will shower on them. It will penetrate into their hearts. There will be no need to call me anything—you will know. But in the beginning it was needed, and it has been of tremendous help.
The last thing about it. I am not a philosopher. Always remember me as a poet. My approach towards life is that of poetry, is that of romance. It is romantic, it is imaginative. I would like you all to be gods and goddesses. I would like you to reveal your true being.
Calling myself god is a challenge. It is a subtle challenge. There are only two ways to settle with it. One is, you say, 'This man is not god', and go away, because then what are you doing here? If this man is not god, then why waste your time? You go away. Or, you accept that this man is god, and then you start being with me, and your own godliness starts flowering.
One day you will also be a god, a goddess. Accepting me as god is in fact deep down accepting the possibility that you can also be a god, that's all. The very acceptance that this man can be a god, stirs something that has been fast asleep within you. Then you cannot remain as you are; something has to be done. Something has to be transformed, something has to be known….
If you decide to go with me, you will become more and more watchful. And the more watchful you will become, the more you will be able to understand me, the more you will be able to understand what has happened, what has transpired within my soul. You will become more and more a participant in this happening, in this dance, in this singing.
And by and by you will see—the master is coming. And it is not coming from the outside, it is coming from your innermost core, it is arising from your depths…
I looked in and I found him there. My message is simple—that I have found the god within me. My whole effort is to persuade you—look within…
The only question is of becoming a watcher on the hills. Become a witness—alert, observing—and you will be fulfilled. trans204

The journalists are always playing a vicious game. They started calling me godman, I have never called myself godman. And then they ask me, "Why do you call yourself godman?"
There is no species in the world which can be called godman. Just to be man is enough—there is no God. At least I cannot call myself a 'godman', because I don't accept any existence of a god who created the world….
The hypothesis of God does not help. I don't have any hypothesis of God. To me life is divine. To me existence is godliness, not God. To use the word `godman' for me is simply stupid. But journalists started calling me that, and then started asking me, "Why do you call yourself godman?"
Strange! They started calling me the guru of the rich and then they started asking me, "Why do you call yourself the guru of the rich?" They started calling me the sex guru, and then they started asking me, "Why do you call yourself the sex guru?"
I have never called myself godman. Yes, the people who love me have called me Bhagwan, but Bhagwan does not mean God. We have called Gautam Buddha 'Bhagwan'—and he does not believe in any god. We have called Mahavira 'Bhagwan'—and he does not believe in any God.
So 'Bhagwan' cannot be synonymous with God. 'Bhagwan' simply means the blessed one,—one who has attained the ultimate bliss, the peace, the joy of his own being. And I say unto you that I am the blessed one, but I am not the godman. I am simply a man fulfilled. last612

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