Veet Diti writes about her life, always devoted to singing and playing music in various settings, the many travels from Australia across the globe and finding Osho.
When I was living in London in 1975, working as a freelance documentary film editor for the BBC, I wrote these lyrics. I had no idea who or what this song was about:
Maybe it’s because of the way that I feel,
Maybe its because its simply real,
He will come
Come into my heart and smile
Maybe it’s the way that the sunbeams dance,
Maybe it’s a feeling of taking a chance,
He will come
Come into my heart and smile
Maybe it’s the sound of the gentle breeze,
Maybe it’s the song of the birds in the trees,
Reminding me to settle back, take things with ease
Maybe it’s the way that I dance down the street,
Maybe it’s the laugh with the people I meet,
He will come into my heart and smile
I was reading Gurdjieff and Ouspensky and Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy, as well as poets such as Byron, Keats, Wordsworth, William Blake and Allen Ginsberg. I was listening to the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Pink Floyd, and trying to understand Tibetan Buddhism, and Zen… and nothing seemed to satisfy me. I went to Ladakh on a film shoot and visited the traditional Buddhist gompas – and once I dreamt that I was living in a monastery in the Himalayas, where men and women lived together, and even slept together!
Then I found myself on the island of Bali a couple of years later. And that changed everything:
One night, there was a party in the hut next door to where I lived. I awoke to the most divine music I had ever heard. In the morning, I rushed over to ask about it… and a woman dressed in orange, called Bhakti, told me that it’s Nataraj music for a dance meditation, from the ashram of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, in Pune, India. She also lent me a book by him, Roots and Wings – Eleven Discourses on Zen, which I devoured, exclaiming “Yes! Yes! Ahhh… Yes!”
I decided to write to take sannyas, and soon a beautiful letter arrived with my new name: Veet Diti, which means Beyond Limitations.
Back in Sydney, my partner and I and another woman, Ann, founded a film company. We began practising the meditations together daily. I was in a constant state of bliss and every day unfolded with more and more surprises, ecstatic with the sheer joy and beauty of this life. One day I had a call from Shahido who had just returned from Pune, and she gave me my mala.
I spent three months in Byron Bay at the first Rajneesh Meditation Centre at Coorabell, called Yogadip, which means Union of Light. We did Dynamic at sunrise on a shaky wooden platform without hand rails, high on the coastal escarpment overlooking the most beautiful beaches in Australia. Many people came to listen to Osho’s taped discourses and join in with the evening Kundalini meditations.
Finally, I flew to Bombay and took the terrifying bus ride up to Pune. The discourses on the sutras of the Tibetan Buddhist master Atisha, the Sufi mystics and the Bauls, the musicians playing for Osho in Buddha Hall, the Sufi Dancing and the groups and celebrations completely carried me away.
From this time on, music and songs exploded in my heart. I began writing songs about Osho and about the way I felt as a sannyasin living in the world. With the help of my friend, John Sweetings, these Osho-inspired songs have now been recorded on my CD One World, One Love, One Heart, with the aim of putting uplifting and joyful music out to the world, and inspiring people to look within. (Within this story I will mark in brackets the name of the song I had written during the time I am talking about.)
When my friend Shahido invited me to stay at her apartment with her three children, I joined a band of actors and musicians called, The Palace Theatre, who made a show about life in the ashram.
Then came a special meeting with Osho. In darshan, I asked him to talk about my name, Veet Diti. He said that we are all beyond limitations. It is only our mind, which prevents us from realising this. He said, “Existence is one. Things that appear to be separate are not separate… The tree is not separate from the earth… not separate from the sun… from the stars… Once you stop seeing limits, the mind starts disappearing, and the disappearance of the mind is the appearance of god.” (No separation – track 1)
After leaving Pune, I found myself sailing with a good friend, Captain Jimmy, on his sloop ‘Cicci’ throughout the Caribbean islands. Being a sannyasin, people continually came up to me and asked about my mala and orange clothes. One early morning we were moored in a little bay, and my boyfriend, Prem Suresh, and I turned up the speaker of our cassette player full volume to do a Nataraj on deck. I opened my eyes to see a local woman making her way through the palm trees, down the side of the steep mountain. She was laughing and dancing with us, as she balanced a huge basket of coconuts on her head. (One world, one love, one heart – track 2)
I had wanted to go to Jamaica to see Bob Marley, whose uplifting songs had long inspired me. When I got to the Caribbean I discovered that he was on tour in Australia! Nevertheless I was blessed to meet up with some Rastafarian musicians, living on a tiny island called Virgin Gorda. When Captain Jimmy told me that he was leaving his boat there and returning to Australia, I was invited to stay on and play with the band at the island bar, The Big Bamboo, where all the charter yachts stopped for entertainment. During the day when the bar was closed, it seemed like I was living with Zen monks, as there was little small talk, but hoots of laughter from one of the musicians, Ras Francis, who would continually say, “Yes Diti, everything is just thanks and praises, you know!“ … no matter whether the news was good or bad. I remembered Osho talking about the Sutras of Atisha, saying that the most important thing is to be grateful for everything that happens. (Thanks and praises – track 3)
Everywhere I travelled, I felt Osho was with me; from the tropical islands of the Caribbean to the snows of Switzerland, where one day I had walked into the forest and did a Nadabrahma meditation blindfolded. At completion, I removed my blindfold and was surprised to see a hunter, in full regalia, with a shot gun at his side, staring down at me in bewilderment. On another occasion, together with Prem Suresh and another sannyasin, Nartano, we took the evening train into Zurich, where we sang Osho songs and busked in the freezing snow, for hours. Three crazy orange-clad Sufis with malas.
At Avignon, in the South of France, I busked with another sannyasin, Anand Nishant, and later moved to Siddharta’s commune near Munich, where we spent three months making music for the daily meditations. (One step at a time – track 6)
Eventually I flew back to Australia as my parents were longing to see me. A new commune had started in Sydney, called Satprakash, and so I joined in with the musicians there, eventually forming a band with Anando Bharti called Orange Juice. We played in various hotels and clubs while a sea of orange people danced around us; on one occasion a fight broke out between some of the drunken patrons… and our lead singer, Deva Prem, continued singing “Love the one you’re with” as the punches were flying!
Some months before the First World Celebration in Oregon was to take place – which I absolutely wanted to attend – I had been invited to Japan to play keyboards in a band with Japanese sannyasins called Celebration. The lead singer, Shoukichi, was from Okinawa and had recently taken sannyas in Pune and wanted some western musicians to play in his band. We were to do a 16-city tour of Japan. Things didn’t quite go according to plan though, and after two gigs in Tokyo the band dispersed.
I needed to find another way to make money to fly to Oregon and participate in the festival. My boyfriend, Anand Dhiru, and I were offered a job as dancers in a variety show in Taiwan. It was a bizarre mix of performers, from a Philippine dance troupe and Taiwanese comedians to sword swallowers. We called ourselves The Mysteriums, and we danced and mimed to the music of Bryan Ferry singing ‘In the midnight hour’. After 21 days we were able to fly to Oregon to the First World Celebration.
After the celebration, Dhiru and I lived in San Francisco in a sannyasin house owned by Sagaro (Jack Painter), the founder of Postural Integration. Many sessions were held there daily, and because of the nature of Postural Integration which involved a lot of deep tissue release work, our house became well known as the ‘screaming house’. We lived there for 9 months and I formed the reggae band Positive Vibrations.
Returning to Australia, Dhiru and I settled into a sannyas community near Bondi Beach. We were working on a film project involving an Australian tour for the Jamaican reggae star Jimmy Cliff. During this time, I fell pregnant and decided I wanted to say a big YES to existence for this divine gift. I remember hearing Osho speak in Pune about the most important meditation for pregnancy being Nadabrahma. So every morning before sunrise I walked to a small cave hidden among the cliffs overlooking the ocean, and there I made my own Nadabrahma to the sound of the waves crashing below. On 21st January 1985, Zippy was born – an absolute ball of bliss! This was the start of a new era for me and I melted wholeheartedly into the journey of the divine feminine.
Finally, in 1988, we decided to move north to Byron Bay, where many of the sannyasins from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and even Perth, were choosing to live, away from the rat race of the big cities. I formed a new band, Los Bobos Cosmicos, with Anando Bharti, John Sweeting and other sannyasins, and for 10 years we played world music, wrote our own songs, and recorded two albums, Dancing on the Edge and Sacred Ground. During that period, I also sang in a women’s a capella choir, called The Voices of Gaia. Several of us were sannyasins, and we wrote and recorded songs about healing the feminine energy and the planet; we performed in Russia, Finland and the UK, as well as locally.
I connected once again with Shahido and started to help her with running the meditations. After trying to hire old halls in the area we were eventually able to move into our own hall on community land, which was started up by sannyasins. In 1998 we were officially established as Osho Mevlana Foundation.
It has been almost 20 years now and our meditations in that beautiful hall get stronger and stronger. At Mevlana we’ve been fortunate to have Osho celebrations, meditations and annual meditation camps. Our evening meditation every Saturday night is especially powerful. Listening and watching Osho on the big screen, as he speaks about Zen masters such as Joshu, seems more relevant today than ever before. Osho was hammering us to “go in” to our centre. Shahido and I laughingly admit that 30 years ago we weren’t able to understand the importance of his message but that now the timing is perfect. Our Sunday morning meditations also provide a valuable meeting place for members of the community and sannyasins, to reawaken the Buddha within.
In 2010, I had the chance to travel with Shahdio and her daughter Zahira and visit many Osho Centres through India and Nepal (Shahido’s India Travel Log). As well as helping Shahido, I teach children to enjoy the magical world of music. But in these challenging times I see that meditation is still the most important thing to me. (Watcher on the hill – track 8)
What is so poignant for me is that I have experienced Osho’s love and guidance wherever my life’s journey has taken me. I’ve experienced that through daily meditation there is no separation from my beloved master, or in fact those whom we love; and it is this understanding which led me to write my most recent song, No Separation a few months ago. Osho is the greatest blessing in my life and I know that he is with us whenever we take a moment to go to that still silent centre at the core of our being. Then there is no separation. His love guides us and the magical mystery tour continues to amaze me. (Only way out is in – track 9 and No separation – track 10)
Listen to and read the lyrics of No Separation