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The Gachchhamis

In this double paged picture from the German edition of the Rajneesh Times of December 7th. 1984, we see that it is one of the most important meditations of Rajneeshism, the religion Sheela attempted to create, to experience daily life as an exercise in awareness, which is called worship. In Rajneeshism every place where there's any kind of work or worship becomes a temple, the kitchen, the disco, the laundry, the offices, the  workshops, and Rajneeshies begin and end their worship with the Gachchamis. While doing the Gachchamis they become aware of what they are doing and why they are in the commune.
Worship can be illustrated by a quote from Rajneeshism, the little red book Sheela compiled from Osho's lectures.
A quote from Osho's which wasn't in Rajneeshism is this one: "All rituals are just strategies to create a belief that you are doing something special, something sacred. You are simply being stupid, nothing else."
If this quote had been spread amongst sannyasins in Rajneeshpuram, the awareness it could have brought to the Gachchamis might have made them less of a collective, formalised ritual, because a daily life as worship is a great thing, but only if rightly understood.

The quote from Rajneeshism:

"Real worship consists of living. Real worship consists of small things. a religious man lives day-to-day, moment-to-moment. Cleaning the floor, and there is worship. Preparing food and there is worship. Worship is a quality - it has nothing to do with the act itself, it is the attitude that you bring to the act. Recognize! See! And there is worship."

It was taken from this larger quote:

"Your idea of God is an escape from living. You are afraid of life, of love, you are afraid of death. You are afraid of ten thousand things, and they are there and you don't want to see them eye-to-eye. You don't want to know what exactly the case is. How to avoid it? You become engaged somewhere else. You create a great desire in your mind, a distant desire - somewhere in the future it will be fulfilled - and you become obsessed with it. Then you worship God, and you are worshipping a false God.
All worship is false, because real worship consists of living, not of worship. Real worship consists of small things. Not that you do rituals - all rituals are just strategies to create a belief that you are doing something special, something sacred. You are simply being stupid, nothing else. You can decorate your stupidity - you can chant Vedas and you can read Bibles and you can make great rituals in the churches and temples and you can sit around a fire and chant great songs - but you are simply being stupid; this is not being religious at all.
But a religious man lives day-to-day, moment-to-moment. Cleaning the floor, and there is worship. Preparing food for the husband, and there is worship. Taking a bath, and there is worship. Worship is a quality - it has nothing to do with the act itself, it is the attitude that you bring to the act. If you love the man and you are preparing food for him it is worship, because the man is divine.
Love makes everyone divine, love reveals the divinity. Then it is not just your husband, it is God in the form of your husband. Or it is in your wife in the form of a woman - but it is God, ultimately God and always God. A child, your child: God has come in a certain form to you.
Recognize! See! And there is worship. You may be just playing with your child and it is worship - far more significant than what you do in the temples; the worship in the temples is just plastic."

(Osho - Take It Easy, Vol. 2 #6)

Notes:


During the Rajneeshpuram period, the gachchamis were introduced. Osho had already mentioned them in 1980, in two darshan diaries:

In the first one, Dance Till the Stars Come Down From the Rafters, Osho says:

"They are known as the three great shelters in Buddhism:

In the second diary, Just the Tip of the Iceberg, Osho says:

"True religion has nothing to do with Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism. It certainly has something to do with Christ, Krishna and Buddha. True religion has been experienced only by very few people in the world; others have simply followed borrowed knowledge.
My effort here is not to make a Buddhist out of you but a Buddha. Less than that is meaningless. One should not settle for anything less. If you can be a Buddha, why be a Buddhist? If you can be a Christ, why be a Christian? Leave it for the cowards to be Christians and Buddhists and Hindus and Mohammedans. The brave one, the courageous one, would like to know the truth on his own. He would not like to know the truth through others, he would like to experience it himself - because unless you drink the water your thirst is not going to be quenched. Buddha may have drunk the whole Ganges - that is not going to make any difference to you. Just a glass of water will do for you but you have to drink it.
But people are so foolish that they go on worshipping Buddha and Krishna and Christ, and hoping that their thirst will be quenched they go on worshipping scriptures - Dhammapada, Koran, Bible. It is like a thirsty man worshipping a book of chemistry which explain that water is H2O. You can go on worshipping the book; you will remain thirsty. You are simply proving yourself silly and nothing else.
Or you can go on repeating the mantra "H2O, H2O, H2O...", "Buddham sharanam gachchhami, Buddham sharanam gachchhami, Buddham sharanam gachchami". It is not going to help, it is just H2O - you have to drink it yourself.
That is the whole significance of sannyas, I am not creating any religion, I am simply imparting to you a glimpse into true religion and helping you to know it on your own. Truth liberates but it has to be your own experience, only then does it liberate, otherwise it creates a great bondage."

And yet, notwithstanding Osho’s stance against an organised religion, the gachchamis were introduced, to be performed by all the sannyasins present in Rajneeshpuram on a regular basis. One can only assume that it was at Sheela's instigation and that of her small group of associates. In the course of time Sheela had started to dress like a priestess and had taken steps to turn the sannyas movement into a formal religion, called Rajneeshism, in order for it to be acceptable to the American government. In the US constitution freedom of religion is a basic right and in the conflict between the Rajneeshpuram management and the government of state and country, abolishment of a religion would have meant an anti-constitutional act.
After Sheela and her associates had left, the little red books in which she had stipulated the essentials of Rajneeshism were burnt together with her priestly outfits.

disciples looking on

Members of the Rajneesh commune in Oregon
hold a wake before abandoning the site.
The robes of the guru's former secretary
and about 5,000 red books were burned on this
occasion.

Note: