Prem Sandesh was tickled by Bodhena’s mention of using peanut butter to catch mice at B-site…
…in Rajneeshpuram in Part 14 of his Samsara.
Boy, am I going to get hold of that Bodhena’s ear when I can. He does not know how hard he made my life. Peanut butter to catch mice at B-house! Did he know peacocks love the smell? We suddenly had a hard time with the peacocks trying to get up on the porch and at the corners of the building. They would poop and it stank and stained the decking. So I was told to build a peacock house they could stay in; Govindo the sitar player and I worked on this.
That was fine as we got to see Osho lots. But we kept getting Peacocks with injured feet (mouse traps, hey!) and I would have to catch them which was a very difficult undertaking. More than once Osho was greeted by the sight of me covered in muddy snow and poop, chasing his poor flock of birds. One day an especially difficult bird gave me quite a chase and finally I took a running leap and tackled the poor thing in mid air. I lost my footing in the slippery muddy snow and went sliding full speed into the side of the house trailer. Just before impact I saw Osho looking down at us and his eyes go wide in that Osho way and the curtain closed as if a bomb had gone off. In a way it had, as the bird and I slammed into the wall. Don’t worry, the peacock didn’t lose a feather and got its foot treated. At least all these years later the mystery is now solved. Bodhena’s peanut butter!
I must then also thank Bodhena as it was while building the A-frame for the peacocks that some extraordinary things occurred:
Every day during this period we would gather on the driveway to greet Osho as he got into his car to ride off on his beloved drive-by. It was always only a few people and a real blessing; usually just one or two from the house and of course Mukta, Mataji and myself. I was blessed with the friendship of Mataji in Poona and at the ranch. At first Rajen from Jesus Grove drove her. Then I was asked to take care of her with a message from Osho via Sheela, “Please take care of Mataji from now on.” One job was to drive her up to the house every day for drive-by. So now with the peacock A-frame being built and Mataji present, the crowd grew for a few weeks making the daily event even more exciting.
The first unusual thing that happened in this period was that one day when Osho came back he stopped in front of us all.
Now I must digress a tiny bit and say my other work at the ranch was on the farm and taking care of the chickens. Early on one of the kids had told a joke to Sheela about me and the chickens and I was stuck with the name Chicken Man. It actually really got me and I did not like it at all. Sheela loved saying it whenever she could.
So he stops in front of us, says something really nice to Govindo and then to me he says, “Good job Chicken Man, take good care of Mukta’s people.” A few stifled laughs broke out and off he went. I’m sure I saw him smile. I was so blown out at hearing him speak, wow. From then on I loved to be called Chicken Man. Mukta, whose love it was to care for the peacocks took it in another way and from then on she really did treat them like ‘Her People’. She was incredibly devoted. Another incident with Mukta and her people and hundreds of great Mataji stories shall have to wait for another day.
Note from Bhodena: At least during my tenure, there were no traps set up outside of the crawl space underneath the trailer, and that space was enclosed by skirting, all the way, except for a small door that was closed with a latch.
Prem Sandesh visited Pune for the first time in 1977, at age 16. He worked at Weikfield Dormitory and made friends with Mataji who often invited him for tea. In early Rajneeshpuram days he lived upstairs in the old ranch-house and ran the old gas station until Neehar took him to the farm and showed him the chicken coop, which became part of his farm work. Later he became Mataji’s driver and escort to B-site where he helped with the peacocks. He lives in Western Australia with his two sons and beloved, Prem Shital. They run a Yoga school, work with Breath and Transformation and manage a charity supporting families to raise kids in a conscious way. www.homeofyoga.com, www.thefamilynurturingcentre.org
Credit for photo goes to Satyam