Osho Siddhartha was born on 23rd September 1942, on a full moonlit night, in a middle class family in Bihar, India. He was named as Virendra Kumar Singh, which continues as his legal name till today. His father Prithvinath Singh, was a signalman in the British Army during the Second World War. His mother Deshrani Devi, was a simple housewife. She came from a family blessed by a great sage. His name was Janaki Baba. He was a regular visitor to the family. His age was more than 70 years when little Siddhartha started taking note of him. His complexion was very fair. Siddhartha was always amazed to see such a charm, such a shine, and such a grace on his face. He always looked fresh and joyful. He never found him angry or miserable. In fact he looked so divine, so different that he always considered him a man from another planet. Even at his old age he cooked his own food. He was a constant traveler, but never used any vehicle, bullock cart, horse, or elephant, which was offered very frequently by rich men of those times.
Childhood and School Education
Janaki Baba loved little Siddhartha probably more than any father could love his child. Practically every month he visited him and his family. He had a yakshini Siddhi. He could get anything just by getting his hands in the air. Whenever Siddhartha asked him for sweets or dry fruits, instantly he used to provide. As a child Siddharth asked him many times to teach him this great art, so that he could influence his fellow friends. But every time Janaki Baba refused to do so by telling him that you have been sent to this earth for a much bigger role and asked him not to indulge in these trifles.
After leaving British Army his father joined Bihar Police Service for a short time and thereafter worked as a school teacher. He was transferred to many places. Little Siddhartha accompanied his father practically everywhere and thus completed his early education while studying in different schools at Karma, Kastar, Karakat, Belgain, Dhanwa, Dugadih and Bikramganj. He always stood first in his class and was awarded Army Men's Ward Scholarship.
At the age of 13, Siddhartha had to go to distant Netarhat School, a very famous residential school, located in Palamau district of present Jharkhand State in India. However, Janaki Baba continued to visit his family. collect his old clothes, wear them, and go to Vindhyachal, a famous place of pilgrimage near Varanasi, for some Tantrik Sadhana.
He left his body sometime in 1960. Siddhartha,s maternal uncle, who was his disciple, later conveyed his blessings and a message to Siddhartha that he has to perform a great divine mission.
Siddhartha felt sad to hear about demise of Janaki Baba, more so, because he could not get any spiritual guidance from Janaki Baba. But an intense thirst grew in him. Could he live a blissful life like Janaki Baba?
At Netarhat School Siddhartha performed well. Besides being good at studies he took part in debates, drama, poem recitations games and endeared him to almost all the teachers. Although he was a student of science, he studied most of the literary and religious books available in the school library.
He passed out from Netarhat School in 1961 and stood fourth in Bihar State in Higher Secondary Examination. Based on this he got National Scholarship which continued till completion of his studies in 1966.
He took admission in BSc Part-1 in H.D. Jain College, Arrah. He bagged first prize in Intra College Kunwar Singh Debate Competition and in State level Inter College Dharmendra Debate Competition. He also became champion in Table Tennis in his college.
He joined Indian School of Mines in July,1962 from where he did his MSc, AISM
in Applied Geology 1966. Siddhartha was married in 1964 while he was still studying at Indian School of Mines.
Siddhartha started his career in August, 1966, as Assistant Lecturer in Geology at Regional Institute of Technology, Jamshedpur, where he worked only for a year. Thereafter he joined Indian School of Mines in September,1967. He worked there up to 16th June, 1975. He published 36 research papers and 4 books on Geology during this period.
He joined Coal India Ltd on 17th June, 1975 as Superintending Geologist. Rising through different levels he took voluntary retirement in 2002 while he was working as General Manager (Exploration). During his service in Coal India, he worked in its three Subsidiaries, namely BCCL, CMPDIL and SECL. While in Coal India he also did senior Executive Course in Management at Manchester Business School, UK and Advance Management in British Coal in 1991. During his tenure in CMPDI, he published a book on Coal Exploration in Hindi, which is considered a great treatise even today on this subject. This book brought him 'Indira Gandhi Award' from President of India.
During his tenure as General Manager in SECL, he discovered and introduced 'Kaushal Chakra Yojana' in SECL covering about 100,000 employees. This enhanced SECL profit from Rs 50 Crore per annum to Rs 1,000 Crore per annum besides reducing accidents and strikes substantially.
Encounter with Death
Siddhartha met Paramhans Swami Satyanand Saraswati of Bihar School of Yoga, Monghyr, in January, 1971, at Dhanbad, where he was asked to conduct his discourse program at ISM auditorium. Siddhartha was influenced by his insight on Hath Yoga. He also showered his affection on Siddhartha and visited his house to bless his newly born son, Pankaj, who is presently serving in Chicago, USA. He has three daughters, namely- Shobha, Abha, and Seema, the first one serving in ONGC, Delhi and the other two settled in USA. Siddhartha learnt different aspects of Hatha Yoga under his stewardship until 1974, when he fell seriously sick presumably because of some mistake in practice of Hath Yoga. He was told by his doctors that he was suffering from porphyria, an incurable disease, and his days on this Earth were numbered.
It was an evening of Diwali, the great light festival of India, in 1974. Siddhartha's children were enjoying, as usual, in a great festival like this. Siddhartha was watching the sky, which was so beautiful. The sun was setting, dispersing beautiful colors in the western horizon. The birds were chirping on the green trees. But he was not able to focus on chirping birds or leaves of the trees.
He whispered to himself, “Diwali will come next year too. My children will enjoy the festival; the sun will set with all the brilliant colors; but I will not be in this world to watch this beautiful world.”
He became sad. This creation of God looked so beautiful to him. He murmured to himself,” If I ever get a new lease of life, I will not waste it as before.”
His father came to pay his last visit to him. He asked Siddhartha as to what he could do at this juncture. Siddhartha asked him whether he was having Siddhartha's Janma Kundali–the birth chart.
“Why do you want your birth chart for?” Father asked.
“I want to see whether astrology can predict about death,” Replied Siddhartha.
“I do not have it with me right now. But I shall try to procure it from the astrologer who made it.”
The father went to the astrologer only to hear that he had passed away. But his son searched and located the birth chart, which was made by his father. He saw the birth chart and exclaimed, “Oh, this is the birth chart my father very often used to talk about.”
“What is special about it?” The father enquired.
“My father has mentioned in this chart that this person would face death at the age of 32, but will not die. He will come out of his sufferings if Mrityunjay Japa, a mantra chanted to save from untimely death, is taken recourse to.”
After a brief pause he asked father, “Is he enlightened?”
The father said, “To the best of my knowledge he is not.”
“Then don’t worry. He is destined to be enlightened. He will not die before that.”
The father took a sigh of relief and came to Siddhartha with the birth chart. He narrated the whole story.
A wise man was approached. His name was Baidyanath Pathak. He was a colleague and a friend of Siddhartha at ISM. He agreed to chant Mrityunjay Mantra for seven days. The very first day a strange thing happened. One S.P. Saha, a physiotherapist, came to Siddhartha on his own and offered his services to cure Siddhartha of his illness. Siddhatha agreed.
S.P. Saha was a member of the Ramkrishna Mission started by Swami Vivekananda, the famous disciple of Paramhansa Swami Ramkrishna. He gave massage and physiotherapeutic treatment to Siddhartha for six months, one hour every day, and during this time he told Siddhartha so many nice things about spiritual practices in Ramkrishna Mission. He also told Siddhartha about his meeting with so many other sages and their traditions. Miraculously, Siddhartha fully recovered from the illness.
He left ISM in 1975 and joined Coal India Limited (CIL) at Dhanbad itself. Although Siddhartha had recovered from his prolonged illness, he was afraid to start spiritual pursuits thinking that he might again fall sick due to some other blunders in yoga practices. But the destiny could not allow him to be a drop out on the path of spiritualism.
Initiation by Osho
It was a cold January of 1979. Siddhartha was going to participate in the Indian Science Congress at Ahmedabad. He asked one of his friends, Dr J.P. Sinha, a Central School Hindi teacher, whether he could give him any book for reading during traveling. dr Sinha instantly agreed and asked him whether he would like to read a book by Bhagwan Rajneesh.
Siddhartha reacted sharply, “Do you mean that sex guru who talks on sex to samadhi?”
“Have you read any one of his books?” Dr Sinha enquired.
“No, not at all, but I have read his criticisms in various newspapers.”
“Brother, is it proper for a man of wisdom like you to frame any opinion about a person without knowing him or reading his books directly?”
Siddhartha felt sorry. He asked Dr Sinha to kindly give a book of Bhagwan Rajneesh. Dr Sinha obliged him gladly and gave him one of his books in Hindi on Lord Krishna entitled ’Krishna Meri Dristi Me.’ Its translation in English has come with the title ’Krishna-the Man and the Philosophy.’
Siddhartha did not open the book till his arrival at Mount Abu. Before going to sleep he just opened the book. The very first sentence thrilled him and made him so ecstatic that he could not resist reading the book for almost the whole night. He woke up next morning as a different person altogether.
“So this is the person I was looking for,” He murmured.
After returning from the journey, he profusely thanked Dr Sinha and asked him,
“At many places in his book Bhagwan is mentioning about meditation. Do you know any one of his meditation techniques?"
“Yes, I know a few.”
Dr Sinha was kind enough to teach him Dynamic meditation. Siddhartha started doing it sincerely every morning. He felt better every day. But the most wonderful experience he had was on 6th July, 1979, when during the meditation he went out of body. What a thrilling experience it was! He immediately decided to be Osho's disciple.
Siddhartha started looking for some other friends and disciples of Bhagwan Rajneesh, who could give him company. Finally he along with three other friends went to Pune on 10th May, 1980. There he was told that being disciple of Bhagwan Rajneesh means taking sannyas. Siddhartha took sannyas in this great tradition on 13th May, 1980. He was also given Urja Darshan on 15th May,1980. Siddhartha went to Pune again in December,1980. Osho blessed him again by Urja Darshan and asked him to look after His Sannyasins. Siddhartha was perplexed since he did not find himself worthy of this great responsibility.
After being initiated into neo-Sannyas in 1980, Siddhartha worked very hard on himself. He lived a very austere life. He used to sleep on ground in the meditation room itself. Every morning he was doing Dynamic meditation. Every evening he used to do Kundalini meditation. In addition for whole of the day he used to remember his breath, which is a Buddhist meditation known as Anapan Sati Yoga. But nothing tangible was ever in sight.Meanwhile he was transferred to CMPDI, Ranchi in December, 1983.
True to his commitment, Osho Siddhartha’s quest for truth took him to several Masters of different Spiritual traditions.