Veena tells the story of how Adri left Israel to study in the USA, how he found his way to Pune and his life as a cook in Osho’s communes
Being born and raised in Israel inevitably means time in the Israeli army – 4 long years of it for Adri. Israel, from the point of view of the man sitting in the army jeep, is a rough and rugged place although there is a strange beauty in the unavoidable connection with the land, the desert sands, the Dead Sea and the winter snow on the barren hills.
But when his compulsory army stint was over, Adri knew he had to leave. As his mother had moved to the USA when he was still a child, she was the natural person to visit. And so life began anew in the good old US of A and Adri ended up at Cornell University – one of the 7 top Ivy League universities in the States – studying hotel and restaurant management, cooking (his main interest) included.
Then, in his final year, he signed up for an elective course on Indian Culture and Meditation. He read of Ramana and did a yoga retreat. Life changed direction! He describes what happened as a total shift in energy, a total change of vision. And a total certainty that he had to go to India.
In the last semester of his course, the big companies descended on the students offering them prestigious jobs with fat pay checks and Adri landed a good one. But he told his prospective employers that he first wanted 6 months off to travel – and took a plane to India.
He had no idea where he was going to go or what he was going to do but in Mumbai he met some really nice people and decided to travel with them. Poona was the first stop. He had heard only two things about Osho and the Resort: one from an Israeli soldier that Poona was a good place to get girls and the second, from the teacher of the elective yoga course, that Poona was full of Germans and Japanese and there was no real meditation there. Adri spent the first week in Poona outside the Resort gates before going in during the second week… And only coming out again two years later despite his initial impression that the place was ’an international loony bin‘! People seemed happy so why not stay with it, and, anyway, Kundalini was ‘doing it’ for him.
Existence helped out by providing a small inheritance for him to live off and so he stayed, and stayed and stayed. In the beginning he said he couldn‘t really feel Osho but after doing Mystic Rose five months later he knew it was time to take sannyas.
After two years, the money had run out so he returned to Florida. He describes this period as being very tough. He felt he had gone through such a process of transformation that it seemed impossible to integrate into the way of life he was now confronted with. I can really sympathise. With all of Osho‘s help and the support of our fellow sannyasins it was often excruciatingly difficult to integrate into the normal ways of the world. For a deeply sincere new sannyasin without all that support, life must have been pretty traumatic. Adri stuck with it, however, and again existence held out a helping hand in the form of sannyasins and dolphins! Wandering around Florida he met Sandesh and Daya who were running a project called Wild Quest which provided people with an opportunity to meet and meditate with dolphins. They offered him a job.
Working with them gave him enough money for trips to Poona and also led to a meeting with Amlas (now the director of Wild Quest) who suggested that he contact Croydon Hall where he could live with a meditative community and go deeper on his path. After six months in Poona he followed her suggestion and arrived in Croydon Hall where he lived and worked on and off for two years. One of the good things about working in Croydon Hall then was that there was the freedom to leave and go to Poona for a while which Adri (and others) regularly did.
After 2 years he was ready for a change and his path pointed the way to Osho Afroz on the island of Lesvos. He says that this place was totally different to Croydon Hall in that it was wild, unpredictable and felt threatening to him while Croydon Hall had felt relatively structured and safe. For another two years he stayed here, cooking – and ‘getting cooked’ – meditating, relating and celebrating, and finally, with Varidhi’s guidance, understanding the underlying harmony in the seemingly chaotic place and, in fact, in life itself.
The process of moving from the stubborn Israeli head to the heart was suddenly speeded up by the entrance of a young Bulgarian sannyasin called Satyam Sasha. Adri says, ‘so truthful, honest and sincere was she in her relationship with me that I could not keep lying and hiding from myself or her anymore – I had to start speaking the truth. This was like death for me but now, three and a half years later, I have learned that truth is freedom and that where there is freedom there is love and life.’
Having spent so many years travelling and living in communes Adri then felt it was time to settle in one place and have his own space to live in while, at the same time, having sannyasin friends around to gossip and celebrate with. A chance meeting with Vasanti (who built the beautiful Buddha Hall in Corfu) decided him to move to Corfu. Sasha came too although she is also spending some time studying in Bulgaria.
’So,’ Adri says, ’to make the story short, I am here today, cooking my life joyfully, gratefully and as gracefully as I am aware.’
Text by Veena