Poisoning

Featured From 'On the Edge' Remembering Here&Now

In ‘Jesus Crucified Again, This Time in Ronald Reagan’s America’ Osho tells us his journey from one jail to the next

One morning I was called to the office of Ma Neelam in Krishna House, the same office in which Ma Laxmi used to sit. On the Ranch I had admired how Neelam managed to run the tea room in our garage with such grace, never getting upset with the mechanics, their greasy boots and their rough manners. Neelam was now Osho’s secretary for India, as well as the head of the commune. Her words started with: “Osho is concerned about the health of his people.” My job was going to be to keep the cleanliness in the kitchen at the best possible standard. Not the kitchen again! But if this was Osho’s wish, how could I say no?

Osho with glasses

I soon realised that the cleaning depended mostly on my own efforts. The vegetable cutters were people who had grown up with many servants around them, and for them to bend down and pick up the debris of their chopping was not part of their mindset. I felt very frustrated as I had a mission and a goal – sparkling cleanliness – which I was unable to implement.
My personal frustration and exhaustion were soon put into perspective when we heard that Osho was not coming to the discourses – not because of a cold, but because of an infection in his ear. He was no longer able to use his earplugs for his naps so the kitchen had to stop its activity during certain hours in order not to disturb him with the clatter and banging of pots and pans. We first tried to work without using this drastic measure but we were not aware enough to work in silence. It reminded me of the time when Deeksha used to give us fifty rupee fines when we dropped a lid during darshan. Why should a noisy kitchen be so close to Lao Tzu Auditorium and so close to Osho’s bedroom in the first place? After a few days Neelam started to think that we might need to close the kitchen altogether. With my narrow mind I was unable to cope with such an idea as I was unaware of what was really happening with Osho.

With a very soft voice he spoke to us after a long absence and revealed facts none of us had ever suspected:

My beloved ones,

I have been away from you much too long. It has been a very painful absence for me. For seven weeks continuously I have been only filled with your love, your patience, your thirst, your longing.

These days were remarkable in many ways. Seven weeks before, I was infected in the ear. It was a simple thing; according to the best expert available here, Dr. Jog, it cures in four days at the most – but it continued for seven weeks. He has never come across such a case in his life. He could not believe it, because no medicine was working. He tried all kinds of medicines, all kinds of ointments. Finally he had to do an operation, but then the wound of the operation was not healing. Dr. Devageet thought perhaps it was something to do with my teeth – he is my dental surgeon – but nothing was found.

My personal physician, Dr. Amrito, immediately informed all sannyasin doctors around the world and asked them to contact the best experts about poisoning, because his own analysis was that unless I have been poisoned there is no possibility to explain why my body has lost all resistance.

And as this idea became stronger in his mind, step by step he started searching into the matter and he found all the symptoms that can happen only if some kind of poison has been given to me.

I myself had been suspicious about it, but I have never mentioned the fact to anybody. The day I was arrested in America for no valid or even invalid reason, they refused to bail me out – although the United States attorney argued for three days and concluded in the end by saying, “I have not been able to prove anything against him, but neither has the other party been able to prove anything.”

It was hilarious, because the innocent cannot prove his innocence by any means, and no law in the whole world requires that an innocent person should prove his innocence. The burden was on the government of America, which had arrested me, to prove the reason for my arrest.

And even though the United States attorney himself accepted the defeat, still the magistrate denied me bail. I had immediately an intuitive flash – what could be the reason? We offered to the government our own jet plane so that their pilot, their officers, could take me to Oregon because that was where the court had to take the case. The journey was only five or six hours at the most, but the government refused that offer. They said, “Only our airplane will take you.” And their airplane took me to Oregon – a six-hour flight was completed in twelve days.

I was taken from one jail to another jail. In twelve days I had to pass through six jails, all over America.

In Oklahoma my suspicion became a certainty, because I landed in the middle of the night at a silent airport, and the U.S. Marshal himself was there to take charge of me. He himself was driving the car, I was sitting behind him. The man who was giving the charge to him whispered in his ear – which I could hear without any effort, I was just behind him. He said, “This guy is world-famous and all the world news media is focused on him, so don’t do anything directly. Be very careful.”

I started thinking, What is their intention? What do they want to do indirectly? And as I reached the jail their intention became very clear to me.

The U.S. Marshal asked me not to fill in the form with my own name. I should write instead, ‘David Washington’ as my name. I said, “According to what law or constitution are you asking me to do such a stupid thing? I simply refuse, because I am not David Washington.”

He insisted, and he said, “If you don’t sign the name ‘Washington’ you will have to sit in this cold night on this hard steel bench.”

I asked him, “You are a reasonable man, well educated; can’t you see that it is a stupid thing you are asking me to do?”

He said, “I cannot answer anything. I’m simply fulfilling the orders from above.” And ‘above’ certainly means Washington, the White House, Ronald Reagan. Seeing the situation – I was tired – I told him, “Let us compromise. You fill in the form, you write whatever name you want to write. I will sign it.”

He filled in the form. David Washington was my name, and I signed my own signature in Hindi. He asked me, “What have you signed?”

I said, “It must be David Washington.” I said, “This will be a reminder to you that anything that you want to do – directly or indirectly – you will be caught. It is with your handwriting that you have written David Washington and it is my signature, which is world-famous and can be recognized without any difficulty. Your whole conspiracy has failed. I can see it clearly in your eyes, in your nervousness, in your trembling hands.”

The idea was that if I write David Washington and sign David Washington, I can be killed, poisoned, shot and there will be no proof that I ever entered the jail. I was brought from the back door of the airport, I entered the jail also from the back door, in the middle of the night so that nobody can be ever aware – and only the U.S. Marshal was present in the office, nobody else.

He took me to the cell and told me to take one of the mattresses, utterly dirty, full of cockroaches. I said to him, “I am not a prisoner. You should behave a little more humanly. And I will need a blanket and a pillow.”

And he simply refused: “No blanket, no pillow. This is all you will get.” And he locked the door of that small, dirty cabin.

Strangely enough, in the early morning at five o’clock he opened the door and he was a completely changed man. I could not believe my eyes, because he had brought a new mattress, a blanket, a pillow. I said, “But in the night you were behaving in such a primitive way. Suddenly you have become so civilised.”
And he offered me breakfast early in the morning – five o’clock. In no other jail I was offered breakfast before nine o’clock. I said, “It is too early – and why are you paying so much attention?”

But he said, “You have to eat it quick, because within five minutes we have to leave for the airport.”

I said, “Then what is the purpose of the mattress and the blanket and the pillow?”

He said nothing and simply closed the door. The breakfast was not much: just two slices of bread soaked in a certain sauce – I could not figure out what it was – tasteless, odourless.

Now, Dr. Amrito feels I was poisoned. Perhaps they poisoned me in all the six jails; that was the purpose of not giving me bail and that was the purpose in taking twelve days to complete a journey of six hours. A slow poisoning which will not kill me immediately, but in the long run it will make me weak – and it has made me weak. […]

Later Osho continued:

The European experts in England and Germany have suggested a name of a certain poison, thallium. It is a poison of a family of poisons of heavy metals. It disappears from the body in eight weeks’ time, but leaves its effects and destroys the body’s resistance against diseases. And all the symptoms […] are part of thallium poisoning.

The American experts have suggested a different poison which they think has been used by governments against rebellious individuals. The name of the poison is synthetic heroin. It is one thousand times more dangerous than ordinary heroin. All the symptoms are the same as with thallium, but the poison is more dangerous and after two years there is no possibility to find any trace of it in the body.

The Japanese experts, who have been working in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on atomic radioactivity, have suggested that these symptoms can also be created in a more sophisticated way by radioactive exposure – either while I was asleep, or food can be exposed to radioactivity and there is no way to find any trace of it. […]

In the same discourse he reveals to us:

Dr. Amrito’s own research… and he is a genius as far as medical science is concerned. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Physicians in England, and he is a rare individual in the sense that he is the youngest man ever accepted by the Royal Society of Physicians as a member. He has all the highest qualifications. His own research is about a fourth, very uncommonly used poison. The name of the poison is fluorocarbon. This poison disappears immediately. Even within minutes, you cannot find any trace in the blood, in the urine, but all these symptoms indicate towards it.

It does not matter which poison has been given to me, but it is certain that I have been poisoned by Ronald Reagan’s American government.

There is other circumstantial evidence for it. Because they had no evidence against me – I have not committed any crime – they blackmailed my attorneys, the best in America. The United States attorneys told my attorneys, “If you are interested in Bhagwan’s life, it is better not to go for trial, because you know and we know that he has not committed anything, that all thirty-four charges are false. But in no case will the government of America be willing to be defeated in the court by a single individual.”

They had named the case United States of America versus Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Now the greatest nation in the world, the greatest power in history, naturally would not like to be defeated in the court by a powerless individual.


My attorneys came to me with tears in their eyes. They said, “We are here to protect you, but it seems impossible. We cannot take the risk to go for trial, because we have been told very directly that your life is at risk. So we have agreed on your behalf to accept two nominal charges, just to give the American government a face-saving device, so that they can fine you and deport you.”


This was just ten minutes before the court was to start, and in the Federal Court, Judge Leavy asked me just about those two charges that had been chosen by my attorneys to be accepted because they were just formalities. It was strange that out of thirty-four charges, Judge Leavy immediately asked me only about those two: “Are you guilty of those two crimes or not?” It is clear that Judge Leavy was also part of the whole conspiracy.

But I am a crazy man of my own type. I simply said, “I am.” And my attorney, Jack Ransom, immediately added – he was standing by my side – “guilty.” So on the court record it has become the full sentence, “I am guilty.” I have not said that at all. I would rather be crucified than to accept a false charge.

Outside of the court Jack Ransom told me, “You created such a strange situation. It is good that Judge Leavy has not taken note of it.”

He immediately pronounced his judgment. That too is a strange thing. The judgment has to be written after my acceptance or denial, but the judgment was ready-made. It was there on the table, he simply read it out. Perhaps the judgment was not even written by him. Perhaps it was just given to him.

The judgment was that I was to be fined four hundred thousand dollars. My attorneys were shocked; they could not believe that for those two formal charges, which are false, more than half a crore rupees are fined; deportation from America, for five years no entry, and if I should enter then ten years suspended jail sentence would have to be served. And I was told that I had to take my clothes from the jail immediately and my plane is waiting at the airport. I have to leave American immediately, so that I cannot appeal in a higher court.

I was taken to the jail. The Portland jail is the most sophisticated kind of jail facility. It was recently built; only three months before it had been opened. It is very sophisticated, with all the latest security measures. As I entered the jail, the ground floor was absolutely empty. There were all kinds of offices but there was nobody in those offices.

I asked the man who had taken me to the jail, “What is the reason why the whole ground floor is empty?”

He said, “I don’t know.”

But I looked into his eyes and I could see – he knows.

As I was taken inside there was only one man in one room. The other man immediately left and the man in the room told me to sit on a particular chair. That was also strange because there were so many chairs; I could have chosen any. But he indicated to me that I had to sit on this chair. And he said, “I have to go to get the signature of my boss, so you will have to wait for at least ten, fifteen minutes.”

Later on I came to know that there was no need of any signature of any boss. I myself could see on the form, and I asked the man, “Where is the signature of your boss? There is no need; the only need is my signature that I have received my clothes. No other boss is needed to sign it.”

He was so nervous he was perspiring – in an air-conditioned room. And because he was holding the form in his hand … the form was trembling, the hand was trembling. As I reached the airport the rumour reached immediately to me that a bomb had been found underneath my chair where I was sitting for fifteen minutes. Perhaps this was the arrangement, that if I insist for trial and don’t accept that I have committed two crimes then it is better to finish me by exploding the bomb. That’s why the whole ground floor was empty. And even the man in the room who was to give me my clothes disappeared in the name of taking the signature of his boss, and locked the room from outside. But because I had accepted the guilt and I had been fined, I had been told to leave America immediately, the bomb was not exploded. He must have gone to enquire what he was supposed to do, because he was not aware what had happened in the court.

One of my attorneys – and also my sannyasin – Swami Prem Niren is present here. I had left him two years before in tears in America, and he is still in tears – tears of love and trust and immense helplessness against the primitive, brutal, and violent heritage of man.

Only such tears give a hope that one day man will be out of the clutches of animality. Niren knows the inside story of what happened to me and my beautiful commune, how brutally they were destroyed because of religious persecution by the fundamentalist, fanatic and bigoted Christians and politicians just because they could not tolerate a beautiful thing happening. They were aware that this was the beginning of the new man and the end of the old, of which they are the representatives. These parasites of the society completely forgot all democratic values and humanitarian concepts when it was a question of their own vested interests being in danger. The commune in Rancho Rajneesh of five thousand sannyasins had exposed the priests and politicians and their conspiracy against humanity as such.

Another one of my attorneys – Bob McCrea, a beautiful man with some understanding of what was happening – told Vivek, my caretaker, after my last appearance in court, “It seems and feels to me that they have done it again. They have crucified Jesus again. I’m sorry and I feel so helpless.”

It is absolutely certain that I had been poisoned, and these seven weeks I have been in an immense struggle.

I don’t have any reason to live in the world. I have experienced, I have realised the very essence of eternal life, but something else forces me to linger on a little more on this shore before leaving for the further shore beyond.

It is you, it is your love.

It is your eyes, it is your hearts.

And when I say ‘you’ I don’t mean only those who are present here; I also mean all those who are spread all over the earth – my people.

I would like these small sprouts to become trees. I would like to see the spring come to you all, the flowering of your ultimate being, the blissfulness and the ecstasy of enlightenment, the taste of the beyond.

These seven weeks you were not aware … you were simply thinking I was sick. Doctor Premda, my eye surgeon, had immediately rushed from Germany with the recent most medications, but nothing helped against the poisons except my meditations – the only medicine that can transcend all that belongs to matter.
These seven weeks I have been lying in darkness almost the whole day and night, silently witnessing the body and keeping my consciousness unshadowed by anything.

I was struggling with death.

It was a fight between death and your love.

And you should celebrate that your love has been victorious. […]

And finally:

Remember it: I am here for you.

That remembrance will help you not to go astray. That remembrance will help you to be aware of the uncivilised world in which we are living, in this madhouse that we call humanity. It will go on reminding you that we have to give birth to a new man and to a new humanity.

This is the tremendous challenge. Those who have guts and intelligence and a desire and a longing to touch the farthest stars … only those very few people have been able to understand me, have been able to become my fellow travellers. I don’t have any followers – I have only lovers and friends and fellow travellers.

I would like you all to reach to the same beatitude, to the same blissfulness, to the same ecstasy that has become my very heartbeat. It is also the heartbeat of the whole universe.

Okay, Vimal?

Yes, Osho.

Osho, Jesus Crucified Again, This Time in Ronald Reagan’s America, Ch 1

It was a short discourse, almost like an announcement. His voice had been scaringly transparent. I stayed behind in the cool dark hall whilst others slowly made their ways to the exits. The news was such a shock that no thought, no feelings of anger stirred within. But I felt embarrassed that I had not sensed what was happening across the garden and why we might have needed to close the kitchen. I judged myself for being a small housewife more concerned with her day-to-day life than with the bigger events around her. And a sentence like “Remember: I am here for you” was very difficult to take.

Text by Punya from ‘On the Edge’

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