Jeevan leaves Ellis to live on the road with her VW van, does Dynamic, takes sannyas and meets Osho
Jeevan’s Many Lives
After a year of living at Ellis I moved into a VW van to live on the road in California wanting to find a commune with a teacher where ‘someone knows and everyone knows he knows’ as David Cooper had mentioned in his book Death of the Family.
Paul fixed up my van on the inside and it was a beautiful living space. Osho was to name it the Rajneesh Vatya Meditation Center years later; vatya means ‘whirlwind’. He certainly understands what life on the road involves. I was fortunate to have a small income from my mother who had died while I was in Radical Therapist training, so I was totally free to travel and live in the moment like the whirlwind. I traveled north and south in California, basically following the weather, sometimes ending up in Mexico when even California became too cold. I had many pit stops along the way – towns I would visit, meeting up with fellow travelers, lots of sex which involved strangers coming together. I was on the loose, looking, looking, looking; I loved the road!
Along the way I was turned on to a center in Berkeley California called Living Love and it was there that I did my first Dynamic called, at that time, Chaotic Meditation. This was in 1973. There were a few sannyasins living there who introduced the meditation thus: ”Take off all your clothes, board up the doors and windows with mattresses to keep the sound inside of this lovely suburban house, and start heavy breathing!” The sannyasins were caretakers for Ken Keyes Jr. who had written a book called Handbook to Higher Consciousness. That meditation changed my life.
The next day, my first question was “Who or what is this Rajneesh?” I sure knew what the Chaotic Meditation was. And the answer came in the form of a gorgeous picture of this black bearded god, and I fell in love with him at first sight. The next piece of the puzzle was in the form of the 1973 Rajneesh Newsletter, Tantra Edition, which included highlights taken from the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra along with a few letters he had written: these sealed my fate – I had found my master! And the rest is history, so to speak.
I was given an offer to live in the Living Love Center, working there and doing groups. We slept on cots in the basement of the house. Ram Dass, aka Dr. Richard Alpert, the ex-Harvard professor who had worked with Timothy Leary on their LSD experiments, was Ken’s mentor. I listened to many of his tapes and found them helpful and fascinating. I had yet to hear Osho’s discourse because I didn’t want to be disappointed by his voice. I learned to love Ken and the work he was doing, supported by sannyasin caretakers, one of whom I became close to – Ma Samadhi from France. When I saw her dance, one evening, I knew someone was ‘behind’ her…and of course it was Osho!
After a while I still had the travel bug, so I was bound for Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, carrying Osho’s books and magazines with me, underlining them and leaving them behind when I finished reading them. Pune wasn’t yet on my agenda. I had a boyfriend I was chasing around who looked like Osho – a Persian Mexican – who took up a lot of emotional energy. And then came the day, after many exciting experiences, that he told me, “Shana, get the fuck out of my life!”
That shock devastated me, and sent me to Swami Shanti Sagar in Santa Monica, with whom I felt a connection. We did Dynamic Meditation on the beach, and returned to his flat. Getting out of my van, I broke my necklace with a fairy on it. When I got into the flat, he said, holding up a mala, “You can have this one!”
“No, not for me,” I replied, “too much like priests.”
“You belong,” he answered, and handed me two packages of orange dye!
And here my life really begins!
That did it. After we showered, he and Shakti, his girlfriend, set up a little altar with an Osho robe and his slippers, candles and incense. They stood beside me after he put the mala around my neck and I cried, feeling incredible joy: I had come home.
He told me to send my picture and write my story and send it to Osho, which I did. I received the answer two weeks later; it read as follows:
We are happy that you have taken the jump into Sannyas and are sending you the beautiful new name which Bhagwan Shree has given to you: Ma Prem Jeevan. Now completely forget the old name and just let life flow through you from moment to moment.
It is good that you are already wearing orange. Soon you will start to feel the blissful effect it has on your life. The orange life is a blissful dance.
Many things are happening here and much is possible through being here – so come soon…
Ma Yoga Laxmi
By then, I had heard Osho’s taped discourses, adored his picture, read a few books that were then available and here was my invitation to Pune. I was ready to go. I bought a ticket and was there within a month.
This is my first Darshan from Nothing to Lose But Your Head, February 1976:
Osho: (to a newly arrived sannyasin) Something to say? When did you arrive?
Jeevan: (a bubbling, extroverted, middle-aged American sannyasin) About five or six days ago…and I’m really glad to be here. (she chuckles) I think you’re dynamite! (chuckling) Very good.
Jeevan: I want you to tell me the truth about me…I think I’m great.
Osho: I already told you!
Jeevan: I know. I get all your messages…. It’s good to be here.
Osho: You have been here long before you came.
Jeevan: I know that! I’ve been in your heart and you’ve been in mine.
Osho: Good…very good Jeevan! (the group laughs)
That day began living with Osho in what has been called Pune 1. I was given many groups to do, obviously needing much work on my life. Making many new friends on the path, processing the difficulties I was facing and finding out more about myself. It was not easy, but I never faltered to go back. Sitting every morning listening to his amazing discourse and falling deeper and deeper in love with him.
When I wasn’t doing a group, I would meet with two other Americans each morning and play/act out our lives in little theater exercises. We called ourselves the Orange Theater and occasionally other friends joined us for the fun. We decided after a while to actually put on a play, and chose Becket’s Waiting for Godot. Ma Nisha and I were to be the tramps, and Swami Punit played Pozzo while directing us as well. We spent many weeks learning our lines and rehearsing which was not an easy task. The play itself is profound, Osho having talked about it in many discourses. Finally we were ready to give a performance. We chose a well outside of the ashram area, called Sambhava’s well, where friends would gather there during the days to swim and play. Sambhava set up a stand to make pizzas for the intermission, and we created the stage with a single tree in what turned out to be a ‘theater in the round’. It was very well attended, and we performed it a number of times, each time I thought was the last, which always would highlight the experience.
Another memorable experience during the Pune 1 days was a love affair I had with a Chinese Australian 28 year-old woman whose name was the same as mine, Jivan, although spelled differently. Her family, originally from China, lived in Kuala Lumpur. She had been sent to Australia to attend university and never left there. Her family was a large extended one, her father having a few wives, she being the daughter of the second wife. There was one moment in our relationship when I became very jealous of her having spent the night with another person. She was absolutely amazed at my jealousy: in her life, there was no conditioning for possessiveness and I saw so clearly the freedom of non-possessiveness in action!
We were to be together for some nine months. After Osho left Pune for the United States, I went with Swami Santosh and 65 others to Kashmir to participate in a 3 month De-hypnotherapy Group on houseboats on the beautiful Dal Lake, while Jivan returned to Australia. After the group I wanted to be with her again and went to Kuala Lumpur where her family helped get me a ticket to Australia at Christmas time. So I spent some days with her rich family in their large compound, among posh living. In Hobart, Jivan and I joined with others in a sannyasin house, creating a business making sprouts and selling them to stores. We raised much money to send to Osho in the US. From there, we both went to San Francisco, still living and loving together to await an invitation to Rajneeshpuram. In San Francisco, we managed to meet boyfriends at the same time, and both of them were called David! Can you imagine the fun? A telephone call to Jeevan, from David: which Jivan, which David?
The time to say goodbye came, no tears, just a thank you for the amazing experience of being together. She returning to Australia where her father paid her to leave sannyas in return for an apartment in London and a Sassoon school for beauty lessons, and I to Rajneeshpuram for the next 4 years on the Ranch.
Read the first part of Life, Love, Laughter by Jeevan