Five Categories of Teachers – Osho

14 October, 1982 in INS Portland Oregon

Osho’s visit to the U.S Immigration and Naturalization Service was in connection with an application for permanent residence in the USA, filed on his behalf a year earlier. These extracts are from highlights of what Osho said about his work and vision.

Q: Okay, do you consider yourself a teacher of religion?

I will have to explain it.

Q: You may feel free to explain that to me.

In India we have five categories of teachers. The first category is called the Arihanta; he’s a teacher and also a master. Being a master means that he has realized what he says. For example, Jesus will be called an Arihanta because whatsoever he says is his own realization. He says, “It is on my own authority.”

The second category is called the Siddha. The Siddha is only a master. He has realized but he’s incapable of communicating it. He cannot say what he has realized; in a way he is dumb. And there have been many saints in the world who have not spoken because they cannot manage to bring the beyond within the words. That too is called a Buddha, a teacher.

The third category is called an Acharya – who is only a teacher but not a master. He knows exactly what he’s teaching, but not on his own authority. The Pope is an Acharya. If Jesus is an Arihanta, then the Pope is an Acharya. He is speaking on the authority of the Bible, not on his own authority.

The fourth category is called Ubadhyay – one who is not even certain of what he says. Perhaps fragments are true. P.D. Ouspensky has written a book on Gurdjieff: In Search of the Miraculous. Its subtitle is “Fragments of an Unknown Teaching”, and he’s very true in writing the subtitle – only fragments, because he could understand only parts of it; parts were beyond him. He’s also called a teacher.

And the fifth is called a Sadhu. A Sadhu is one who has not achieved but is trying sincerely to achieve. He may be just one foot ahead of you, but he can teach that much. He cannot claim the achievement; he cannot say with certainty that this is so.

English is poor in that way, it has only two words. English is poor in many ways, particularly as far as religion is concerned, but is bound to be so. Eastern languages are poor in scientific terms. So you have only one word, teacher, for everything. You can call me a teacher but to us it means a very lower category.

Q: Where would you put yourself on this list of five categories?

I am an Arihanta. You can call me a super teacher, because I speak on my own authority. I don’t have to rely on Jesus, or Buddha, or Krishna. What I say, I know. If I don’t know, I don’t say it.

Q: Do you consider Sheela enlightened?

No, not yet.

Q: Does she not have the power to conduct sannyas?

She has the power to conduct Sannyas, as one of the Acharya category – those five categories all can conduct Sannyas – but she has to conduct Sannyas only with my consent, she cannot conduct Sannyas on her own.

Q: Sheela has not reached?

She may reach any moment, but she has not reached yet.

There is some discussion of the running of the ashram in Poona. Osho explains the difference between the day-to-day running of the ashram and the spiritual work.

About these small things I give them absolute freedom. As far as initiation is concerned and the inner transformation is concerned, sannyas is total surrender. Either you are a Sannyasin or you are not. You cannot be in a doubtful situation.

And it is not democratic; remember… no transformation process can be democratic because it is like asking the sleeping people, “Would you like to be awake?” So what?… A sleeping person has to be awakened. He cannot be asked. He may even resist, he may even fight you, that you are disturbing his beautiful dream.

I’m not talking about the society. For the society and the political world, democracy is perfectly okay, but for any inner transformation process democracy does not work, it has never worked.

[NOTE: This was published in The Rajneesh Times, 26th August 1983 while Osho was in silence.]

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

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