Our Final Questions

Remembering Here&Now

Maneesha and Amrito write their ‘final’ questions during the uncertain times in Uruguay

And this also I tell you: Man-who-attracts, O Without-conformity-among-us, O Dissenter! One thing is certain, that we all wear the seal of your gaze, and a very great need of you keeps us in the place where you breathe, and a greater contentment than being with you we do not know…. You may be silent among us, if that is your humour; or decide to go alone, if that is your humour; we ask nothing but to be there! (And now you know what race is your race)….

Saint-John Perse, Eologes and Other Poems

What I have not mentioned to date is that while we were on the world tour there was always a sense of insecurity – not knowing if we would be able to stay in whatever country Osho was visiting, not knowing if the authorities might suddenly whisk Osho away from us. Nowhere was this more apparent than in Punte Del Este, in Uruguay.

I was not involved in the behind-the-scenes machinations needed to keep Osho safe and secure – that was the responsibility of Hasya and Jayesh – so I did not share any of the special worries that they were dealing with constantly. However, the rest of us were aware that police were parked in the same street as the house in which Osho was staying, maintaining a twenty-four hour surveillance of us. Over the weeks we became immune to their presence, after a week or so even waving at them; nevertheless their presence was a constant reminder of how precarious Osho’s position was.

It was one thing to listen to Osho talking about life’s insecurity in the familiar setting of Buddha Hall or Rajneesh Mandir, and quite another to live that insecurity, to sense it as a palpable presence throughout our every waking moment. I know at one point there was such a sense of something impending that Amrito (who in those days was still called Devaraj) and I wondered aloud to each other if the following night’s discourse could well be the last; worse, if Osho might be separated from us, leaving us with no idea of when or how we might see him again.

“Let’s think of a question,” I suggested. “If this were really the last chance to ask Osho something, what would your question be? What would you want to say to Osho? Why don’t we both compose questions that mean the most to us, so that we won’t regret having not expressed them if Osho is taken from us?”

We were sitting in our bedroom-cum-makeshift office, from where we typed up questions for discourse and transcribed and edited each discourse. Amrito began typing, and his question was submitted that night. Quite different from his more usual intellectual and often heavily political ones, to my ears it was especially beautiful because I knew the tender heart behind it and the context in which it had been created. It was, in effect, a devotee’s goodbye to his master.

Each time Osho mentions one of his sannyasins in particular – just as when he speaks on the various masters – I’m left feeling that this is the one he loves most… until the next time, when he mentions someone else. Having said that, it seems to me (and I don’t think it was because I was in love with him) that it is his doctor, Amrito, of whom Osho has spoken most beautifully of all. Several times, in private, he has said that Amrito is a very humble person. In a dental session once, Osho said that no one loved him as much as ‘Raj’. When, at another time, Amrito (the mentioned Raj) was critically ill, Osho told Nirvano, “He is my most blessed disciple.”

Though I have said earlier I tried to ‘get out of the way’ when reading others’ questions to Osho, it was challenging to do so this time as I read out Amrito’s ‘final’ question:

“Ever since I first saw you I knew I was in the presence of the rarest of beings. For years I have seen you as a ‘giant among men,’ particularly the way you have, over the years, sliced through every question that any man might have had, that mankind has ever had…. And the other day, as I was blessed to be able to type your talk on Basho’s haiku, ‘Sitting silently, doing nothing…’ I felt your softness, your gentleness, your eternal patience. Your words and silences were so delicate and loving that I knew with absolute certainty, for the first time, that before not too much longer these discourses with you here in Uruguay will transform the whole world.

“I love you, Osho, and somewhere I shall always be by your side.”

Osho in Uruguay

Osho in Uruguay

Amrito and Maneesha

Amrito (aka Devaraj) with Maneesha; Rajneeshpuram circa 1984

Osho in Uruguay

Osho in Uruguay

He spoke only to indicate silence, Osho began; he spoke only so that we learnt how not to speak – a contradictory job – and “I have enjoyed it, I have loved it,” he added.

For the first time he was using the past tense: was it really all over? I gulped back the emotion catching my throat.

“And I have found people who have understood the basic contradiction but are not bothered by the contradiction” he was continuing. “They have thrown away words and taken the content deep within themselves. You are right. These words uttered in Uruguay will help millions of people, will reach millions of hearts. It is unfortunate that Uruguay is going to miss me. It will repent one day”….

Next morning, Osho was still with us for discourse. I had to ask my question now. It might be now or never. Tears got in the way as I tried to see the words as I had typed them out earlier, and my voice wavered as I read my ‘final’ question to Osho, the last part of which read:

“Beloved one, our words are so inadequate, and yet the desire is so strong to express something of what you mean to us. In you, all that is fine and pure and of the noblest heights has taken form. In your disciples, the nameless silence has taken root and will find a voice and be living proof of who you are.”

“There is no need,” began Osho. “I can understand the desire to describe your feelings. You have devoted your whole life to me; you have given yourself to me totally. Naturally, the desire is bound to arise to describe what kind of a man you have come across. All words will look inadequate.

“But there is no need at all – because I can see in your eyes, I can see in your tears, I can see in your laughter, I can see in your silence all that you want to say… and that you cannot say it.”

Text by Maneesha, first published in Osho News

When Maneesha joined Osho News she asked Punya what she should write about. The immediate suggestion which popped up was: “How was it to sit in front of Osho and read the questions? I would have been scared stiff.” The answer to this became a series of articles which we have published during our first year. Here are the links to all of them:

13 – Osho Making Fun of our Seriousness
12 – Women’s Jealousy
11 – The Barbarous Mind
10 – The Bursting of the Boil
9 – The Device
8 – An Old Sinner
7 – Living with a Contemporary Koan
6 – The Irreplaceable Melody
5 – The Incomparable Privilege
4 – Our Final Questions
3 – The Whispered Transmission
2 – An Experiment: Mind Over Matter
1 – Reading the Questions to Osho: How It All Started

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