I never really had contact with Rajneesh or his movement staying mostly with his books. I should have been more alert to the fact that the few times I encountered his people and movement, as with a brief visit to his Oregon caper, I was turned off.
His books are misleading. I tended too see him through those books and was unaware of what became clear later, the sheer criminality of his movement and actions and the early fascist posturing of the early years in Poona of which I was unaware. Later it became clear that he wasn’t the ‘enlightened’ man he claimed to be and the result is for some counterintuitive: it takes a remarkable bluff to do what he did for so long. One clue is his late book Beyond Enlightenment which brings ambiguity to the whole concept. The sudden chaotification of his later phase seems to wish for that obvious explanation in plain view. That makes sense: the temporal state called ‘enlightenment’ is a highly dubious concept since it refers to something that is also not temporal. Red light goes on: what are we talking about?
That forces the question, was there any enlightenment at any point that he could get beyond at all? The early portraits are not convincing. Another clue is Gurdjieff who never referred to enlightenment. There are many domains of discourse and practice in the realm of ‘consciousness’ while the term ‘enlightenment’ is very constrained by tradition. But is there really a form of public knowledge here beyond the cliches? Indians are so steeped in the lore here that it would be ‘easy’ to move mechanically through the whole game either deluded or bluffing. The extent of the Osho delusion/bluff was remarkable: he even spoke of ‘awareness during sleep’, a difficult thing to fake. He gets an automatic pass from many on such points. But most are unaware of the way quite ordinary sufis can do this with the term ‘enlightenment’ unknown to them. Osho was too busy getting his nightly blowjob from his groupies to have bothered with awareness during sleep.
At any rate it is not possible to consider that such a criminal quasi-psychopath could be ‘enlightened’. the shoddiness behind the glitz is a giveaway. If the term is to apply to such people/gangster then the whole category goes down the tubes along with an authority associated with the state.
In the final analysis the ‘enlightenment’ category is falling into a final muddle. After ‘Osho’ the whole question is inexorably up in the air.