An excerpt from Chapter 2, Life Awakening Center (Jivan Jagruti Kendra) of Laherubhai’s book ‘Blessed Moments with Osho’.
Since 1961-62, some institutions in Mumbai had arranged Osho’s discourses. Most of the people who listened to Osho were Jains. During their religious festivals, Mahavir Jayanti and Paryushan, Osho was invited from Jabalpur for discourse series organized initially by Bharat Jain Mahamandal and then by Mumbai Jain Yuvak Sangha.
According to Shri Harshadbhai, he had listened to Osho for the first time at Birla Matushree Hall in Mumbai on the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti. Osho was a guest at Shri Rishabhdasji Ranka’s house at that time. When he went to meet him at his place, Shri Chimanbhai Chakubhai Shah and Shri Dharmveer Bharti from ‘Dharmyug’ (a Hindi monthly magazine) were discussing something with Osho. Shri Jatubhai Mehta, Shri Tarachand Kothari and others were also there.
In 1962-63, Osho came to Shri Harshadbhai’s house. One evening when he was going somewhere with Osho, he took him to a bistro to have some ice cream. After entering the restaurant, Shri Harshadbhai felt that it would have been better if he had not brought Osho there. He felt that the atmosphere inside was not proper for a person like Osho, and he felt nervous. Osho has mentioned this incident several times in his discourses. […]
Osho talks about the bistro incident
I used to come to Bombay, before I settled in Bombay, almost two or three times per month because the headquarters were in Bombay, the whole work was there. There I had the greatest following; and the most intelligent people in India of course are in Bombay. Slowly thousands of people started knowing me. One day one of my sannyasins – at that time I had not started sannyas but now he is a sannyasin…. He used to drive me about and just jokingly – he did not mean it, but he was not fully aware of me – just before a bistro, he stopped the car and said, “Osho, would you like to come in and have an ice cream?”
Ice cream I used to love. To tell you the truth I still love it, although there is no way to find it anywhere. I said, “That’s a great idea!” Then he became afraid. He had been joking. He had said it thinking that a religious man would say no to going into a bistro, where an almost naked woman was doing a striptease dance. He said, “Are you sure?”
I said, “Absolutely! Just open the door – because this is my last life. After this life there is no bistro for me and no ice cream: I don’t want to miss the last chance.” He waited for a few seconds. I said, “For what are you waiting?”
He said, “But if somebody sees you there, and recognizes you there….”
I said, “That is my problem.”
He said, “No, it is not your problem – they will kill me, they will say, ‘It is you who took him; otherwise how could he find that bistro? You were supposed to take him home from the meeting place, not to a bistro.'”
I said, “Don’t be worried. I will protect you and say that I insisted, that seeing the signboard, ‘Bistro,’ I said, ‘What is this? – I want to know.'”
He said, “Then it is okay. But, Osho, you are creating a very troubled state for me.”
I said, “Don’t be worried – just come on.”
I had to enter first, then he followed me; he had to follow. It was an air-conditioned place, but he was perspiring.
I said, “Harshad, – Harshad was his name – your name means rejoice. What a fool – rejoice!”
And what he was afraid of happened. The manager of the bistro had heard me: he came and fell at my feet. Harshad was just going into a nervous breakdown. Everything stopped; even the striptease dancer stopped – everything was frozen. When the manager fell at my feet, other customers who had no idea who I was started coming to touch my feet and the striptease girl came down from the stage.
I said, “Harshad, it seems even in this life it is not going to be possible.”
I told the manager, “At least bring my ice cream.”
He said, “Will you accept one?”
I said, “Accept? I am ordering one: I like tutti-frutti.” I was eating my ice cream and the whole crowd was standing around me.
I said, “What are you doing? Do your business!” And Harshad was hiding behind the crowd because if the manager saw him….
As I finished my ice cream, he came and just grabbed me. He told me, “Osho, out! I will never drive you again if you do such a thing.”
I said, “But what have I done? I have not created any problem for anyone. You had asked me, ‘Would you like some ice cream?’ so I ordered one. Moreover, in all this hullaballoo they have not asked for the bill. Go and pay it.”
He said, “I am not going inside again. I cannot go alone; if you come ahead of me….”
I said, “Then don’t bother, because nobody is thinking of the bill right now. We enjoyed them, they enjoyed us, and it is balanced. There is nothing much to be worried about. But where have you been hiding? I had to eat two long glasses full of ice cream because the manager had brought the best, the biggest glasses. Where were you? I had to eat two glasses, and two glasses that size are a little too much.”
He continued to drive me, but whenever there was a bistro or anything, he would go so fast. I would say, “Harshad, a bistro!” and he would say, “Never again!”
People came to know somehow and he had a good beating from everybody. In Bombay, in those days there were many old people who were followers of mine, very respected people: somebody was an ex-mayor, somebody was ex-sheriff, somebody was a minister. I told everybody, “Nobody is to harass Harshad; he has been punished enough.” He had perspired and begun trembling, but I simply enjoyed it; the whole scene was so fabulous. And for the striptease girl this was an absolutely new act. She may never have done it before and will never have to do it again.
In heaven there seems to be something worthwhile. But for centuries, these people have been claiming knowledge about heaven and hell; and once you get trapped in their net of knowledge, you are finished. Then you are no more alive. Then their knowledge makes you feel ignorant, inferior, guilty, a sinner. Even eating ice cream, you feel you are committing a sin. It is strange, because in no religious scripture is it written that ice cream is sin.
But the religions are against enjoying anything.
Osho, From Personality to Individuality, Ch 28
Photo: Cross Maidan Bombay. Geeta Lecture, 1972 – credit Anuragi
Excerpt from Chapter 2 (Life Awakening Center – Jivan Jagruti Kendra), of Laherubhai’s book ‘Blessed Moments with Osho’ – with editing from Osho News
Review by Tarpan
‘Blessed Moments with Osho’
Laherubhai (aka Chaitanya Sagar, Laherchand B. Shah) was born in August 1938. At the age of 28, in 1967, he met Osho. He has been running his own business in Mumbai and Osho insisted he continue his job, along with meditation, and asked him to remain in ‘the market place’. In the same building as his office, he and other Osho friends started the first meditation centre. Laherubhai lives in one of Mumbai’s busiest districts.