Parambodhi on taking sannyas on a stop-over in India, quoting Osho’s words on acceptance and being gay.
We might remember Parambodhi as a hair dresser at Chiyono or as a loving bus drivers’ instructor in Rajneeshpuram, or more recently as a jewelry designer in Jaipur. Australian-born Parambodhi now roams the globe, being on the staff of ‘Path of Love’. He has been following the emergence of gay and lesbian culture in India since he first visited the country as a gay man in 1980 and just recently participated in the Delhi Queer Pride Parade 2010. He was recently asked to write on the subject of spirituality which brought him to talk about how he came to India and take sannyas, quoting Osho’s words on acceptance and on being gay.
I have been asked to write something about spirituality. I’m not a ‘writer’ and nor am I in a position of knowing ‘truth’ as it applies to another person, so I can only share something about my own understanding, from my own experiences of life and how it applies to me and my journey.
A seeker asks Osho this question:
Q: I’m gay and I want to ask if it is a hindrance in my development and if it is what can I do to get free?
A: No need to be worried – it is not a hindrance, nothing, mm? Only one thing is a hindrance in spiritual growth – that is a rejection of yourself. Gay or not, that doesn’t matter – if you can accept totally, there is no hindrance. If you reject it, then there is hindrance. The hindrance comes not from your being gay; it comes from your rejecting it. If you accept it, it is perfectly okay, mm? It is irrelevant in a way.
Osho, This Is It, Ch 10
I first came to India in about July or August of 1980 at the age of 25. I was on an overland trip to London from Australia and I didn’t expect to stay for much more than a few weeks. I had the address of an ashram in Pune, given to me by a client who had come back from there wearing bright orange clothing, a mala with a photo of her guru around her neck and a new name. I was young and looking for adventure and this client had quit her job as the anchor of a current affairs television program to spend time at the ashram in Pune, so I was suitably impressed. I took the address but didn’t really think it would be more than a pit stop on my way to Europe. I had no idea what I was getting myself into!
One of the attractions for me at that time was all the stories of free sex that seemed to surround this place and I was certainly attracted to the images of the long haired hippie-like looking men in the photos I had seen. I came out of my first discourse in a sea of orange clad, very exotic looking people, in a daze, having no idea what was going on, what I was doing there, who these people were, who this man was, what language he was speaking, but even though it wasn’t clear to me in that moment, I was already completely and totally in love. At some point during the morning I asked someone what language Osho was speaking and was dumbfounded to be told that he had been speaking in English!!! I could hardly believe that I’d sat through a two hour discourse, completely mesmerized, not understanding a word of what was said and that he’d actually been speaking in my native language.
Within that first week I had asked to take sannyas and I knew in my bones that this was where I wanted to be for the rest of my life. I completely dropped all ideas of the rest of my trip to London, and before very long I made plans to move permanently to Pune. If it was adventure I was seeking, I had certainly found it, and the journey since then has been full of it, with many ups and downs, rich and varied and with unending surprises; just too many to tell here. In the 30 years I have spent as a sannyasin of Osho, I’ve lived in India for about 12 years. I’ve had two long relationships with Indian men, both of whom now live in Australia. I’ve run my own manufacturing and exporting company out of Jaipur and I’ve seen India change from a country where even in a big city one would have to book an international telephone call 24 hours in advance to a nation that is pushing its boundaries in each and every direction. It goes without saying that I love India with a passion beyond what i feel for my birth country and it is certainly my emotional home.
Osho is asked,
Q: Is there a possibility for gay people to transform sexual energy in a tantric way?
A: Yes – as much possible as for any other type. There is no problem in it, mm?
… Accept yourself totally and enjoy the way you are; don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. And from every place one can move towards god. There is not a single place from where you cannot move, mm? So nothing to be worried about – just be happy.
Osho, This Is It, Chapter 10
Spirituality as I see it, is simply how I express myself in this physical world. How I relate and respond to the forces of life as I make this journey from birth to death. In the blink of an eye I came into this world and took my first breath and in a similar breath I will be leaving. What happens in between in the broad scheme of things doesn’t amount to much more than those two breaths. But at any given moment I have a choice whether I will react or respond to a situation. If I react I am simply following the forces of nature; reacting, according to the conditioning of the society I was born into, to my parents, my teachers, my religion, the peer pressure of my friends etc. If I respond, it is my own intelligence, according to my own understanding and experience. The response may be right or it may be wrong, that is irrelevant, but it is my own and not something given to me. Making mistakes is an intelligent way to grow and learn; it becomes stupid if I go on repeating the same mistakes. If fear prevents me from trying new experiences then I will never become my full potential.
Spirituality isn’t a concept, an idea, something separate from myself. It is the essence of who I am. As far as spirituality is concerned it is irrelevant who I am or what I do. I may be a movie star or a very rich businessman, or I may be a bus driver or office assistant. What is important is how I express myself, how I do what I do. In my daily life I need to be aware: How do I relate to my colleagues? … How do I relate to my boss, to my servant, to my partner? Am I condescending? … respectful? … loving, angry, happy, grateful? These are the things which are important in terms of my spirit and my consciousness. When I bring my attention, my awareness to these things, that is when I see who I am.
A happy person, one who is in tune with himself, in love with himself, and with his environment will bring change; change to his love life, to his family life, to his work environment and ultimately to the world.
“You will feel the most significant experience, you will become ecstatic if you can feel that the whole existence needs you, that you will be missed, that if you are not here there will be a gap, you Will be missed. You are not unnecessary, you are not superfluous; you have tremendous significance.
“Hence, love yourself. You are needed as much as the trees, as the flowers, as the birds, as the sun, as the moon, as the stars. You have to be here and you have a right to be the way you are. Assert yourself as you are; never feel guilty.”
Osho, Guida Spirituale, Ch 13
Previously published in Puck Online Magazine puck-magazine.blogspot.com