Strange and More Strange Things

Remembering Here&Now

Part 3 of Roshani’s notes from the 2nd Annual World Celebration in 1983

Strange Things Happen in a Buddhafield

One particular satsang was a bit more extraordinary for me. They were all very sweet in the sense of being filled with reverence, peace, joy, being close to Ted, Bhagwan’s happiness. But this one—well, extraordinary is the only word I can think of to use. Ted was a bit bothered by the crowds off and on. This day, he chose to stay on the outer fringe while I moved more to the center of the gathering. While the music played in about the middle of the hour, I had an unusual experience.

I feel a mixture of delight, wonder, skepticism, and embarrassment to tell of it. I’ve never hallucinated with my eyes open before. Hallucination or vision or whatever, I first saw a strange blue-green shape bouncing up and down, back and forth over the heads of the sannyasins. I couldn’t make out what it was at first. Although the word “bird” came to mind, it didn’t seem to be like any bird I could recall. Since it moved most often from right to left, I placed a head on the left side, finally deciding it looked like a seagull.

After several minutes of this, a new sight appeared, much to my delight. Great, fat, three dimensional hearts seemed to fly out from Bhagwan’s body towards the group and float up high in the air. I watched like a kid at a birthday party for several minutes more until, last, I was treated to a warm, round, full, glowing, yellow-gold light, which enclosed the upper part of Bhagwan’s body and head. A few minutes more and ‘poof’, I perceived nothing but people and building and lights.

What this five minutes or more of ‘happening’ was all about I don’t know. I do know, however, that on our last day, Saturday, Ted found a rock at the Ranch which he gave to me. It was a plain, gray rock, but with a white fossil or mineral deposit forming a picture in its center, identical to my visionary ‘bird’. When viewed concretely and right to left it does appear to be a soaring seagull and not dissimilar to the birds in the Ranch emblem. Hmmm. I have the rock and the memory of what I saw, but no explanation at all.

Darshan with Teertha

The first Friday night event in Buddha Hall was not music. It began with newcomers taking sannyas. I was too far away to see and until the last few minutes heard nothing. Ted was uncomfortable in the crowd and left. Both he and I were a bit ‘turned off’ at Teertha’s instant diagnoses of and prescriptions for new sannyasins regarding which therapy groups they should sign up for. It seemed a little superficial, a little commercial. Next, followers came up to ask questions.

Teertha answered with a bit of Bhagwan’s philosophy, a bit of humor, a few suggestions about how to deal with a problem. I remember one sweetly funny answer to a truck garden worker who found it difficult to kill pesky bugs. Teertha suggested he have love and compassion for the insects, kill them, and thus speed them on their way to embodiment as higher life forms—purely Hindu, that answer.

Towards the end, we were all asked to close our eyes, to generate energy. While the music played and Teertha spoke stirring words, I felt two huge surges of electricity zap through the Hall and my body. The power of suggestion, the atmosphere, tangible energy zaps—who knows? The evening ended with Gachchhamis in the direction of Bhagwan’s house and one of his videos. Couples clung close, people seemed moved, the audience responded to the words and jokes of the figure on the huge screen.

Sheela’s Welcome

Instead of Kundalini meditation on Saturday afternoon, all were invited to meet with Sheela in Buddha Hall. The coordinators of various departments gathered near the music area stage. I suspected that the plan was to introduce those who had worked so hard to arrange the festival—but Sheela never got around to that. After a brief opening, she simply threw the meeting open to questions. “What’s the latest joke?” asked one. Sheela told it and laughter followed. “What’s the latest gossip?” shouted another. And everyone laughed before the response. I later overheard a sannyasin at lunch remark that “Sannyas is a gossip fest.” How true! Like small town talkers everywhere, sannyasins pass along bits of information from one to another with the most amazing speed.

For example, on Sunday, Ted drove to Antelope to purchase a few things, including sleeping pills, to help him and our tent mate withstand the early morning Indian noise. By late afternoon, every sannyasin we knew had begun to remark that they’d heard we were in a noisy area. The next day, Veena offered to move us to another tent. We declined, of course, being very comfortable where we were. And all the rest of the week, inquiries about how well Ted was sleeping came flooding in!

Back to the meeting—Sheela proved quite adept at weaving the announcements she wished to make into her question responses. A new, small, inexpensive paperback on the ‘Rajneesh religion’ would soon be published. In 62 pages, excerpted largely from other of Bhagwan’s works, it would act as a succinct summary of ‘Rajneeshism’ and help sannyasins with explanations to outsiders.

The book had been read to Bhagwan and he helped to write the difficult sections on satsang, darshan and the meaning of sannyas, she said. She also shared the news that Bhagwan had said the positive energy of sannyasins might be enough to avert the 1990s catastrophes he had envisioned. July 11, by which time most of the followers would have returned to their homes, was marked as a special date—perhaps the day for beginning to generate more and more positive energy. I’m not sure what this was all about.

Like a mother, Sheela exhorted the group to have courage in the face of discrimination and to act in the knowledge that each of them is a reflection of Bhagwan and his teachings. Through their behavior, others would judge Bhagwan and his teachings—an onerous responsibility fell on all to bring credit to the “family name.”

She told stories about the festival preparations, her talks with Bhagwan, her not-always-positive interactions with the media. She explained why it had been decided not to allow children under 14 to attend satsang—so as to reduce the disturbance which might interrupt meditation—in such a way as to calm the upset parents who would be affected. Special childcare arrangements would be made for them.

One asked when another song book would be published; Sheela responded by aiming a question at the appropriate coordinator. “How soon can it be out?” One got the impression that the unanticipated project would begin immediately. The coordinators must have an anxiety attack every time Sheela speaks in such a meeting; new projects are bound to emerge.

More questions are answered. “What about Bhagwan and the INS?” “We need your support. Our lawyers are working hard. He will be here for the festival next year!”

“Will Bhagwan speak?” “He has already spoken so much.”

“Is the press any kinder?” “All publicity is good. It brings Bhagwan’s name, picture and teachings to millions. Don’t be cowed by the media. Don’t let them put words into your mouth. Stand up to them.”

One young man was rather worried about the presence of a non-sannyasin Peace Officer and the guns which all Peace Officers wear. Sheela handled that issue beautifully, explaining state law, expressing warmth towards Harry Hawkins, telling the story of little Barkha and how she had come to terms and skill with her weapon through a Zen example, lauding Sangeet for being Number One in the graduating class from the State Police Academy and reminding all that the Peace Officers are entrusted with their defense and safety.

After more than an hour, the meeting ended with a wish to “Enjoy” and an invitation to return to next year’s “Bigger and Better Celebration.”

Read Part 2: Enjoying the Festival
Read Part 1: Impressions of the Second World Celebration

Roshani for Osho News

Comments are closed.