How Being Crazy for Love Saved My Bacon


Osho to Madhuri: “The only suffering that has any value is the suffering for love. If you suffer thirty hours for half an hour of love, it is worth.”

My first few months at the Ranch, in Fall 1981, were extremely busy. There were fifty men and three women there when I arrived, and the other two women were in relationships. It was, I felt, up to me to take care of the other forty-eight guys. Life became very crowded, despite the vast landscapes and the open air which smelt of sage ice cream.

Things quickly escalated – it got so that if I needed a night off to recover, I just couldn’t go to dinner – someone would give me a cowboy glint of the eye, mixed with a little sorriness, and I’d cave in. In my compassion I sometimes did double shifts…I always remember tromping though snow around 3 a.m. from one housing area to another, from one man to another; under a gorgeous, silent full moon. Ah, life!

Of course, I was nuts too, addictive, and terrified of the Void; and of course, I had a really intense run of fun!

But then suddenly the notion arose in me to have just one boyfriend… a relationship! I turned down dates for three nights – revolutionary! On the fourth day I was sent, for some work-related reason, to speak to one Sw. Anand Subuddha. I looked up at him… he looked down at me… his eyes were faceted blue diamonds. His lips were long and mobile. He had a British accent. His shoulders were wide, his hips were narrow. His movements were muscled, fluid, pantherine. He seemed completely present to our meeting, widening his eyes and laughing hugely with his head thrown back when I said something funny.

Madhuri and Subuddha

Next morning I woke up beside him with a tide of sound flowing through my body, my heart – a song, swelling through the room, filling everything with the haunting melody: I can feel it comin’ in the air to-niiiight, oh yeah…I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my liiife, oh yeah..Oh, yeah… It was Destiny.

Subuddha never intended to make me his one and only, and when the power imbalance between us emerged he, with decision and clarity and a dogged determination to daily claim his freedom, went off with this, that, and the other woman (many more had arrived by then, a fact which I resented). I remember one night early in our affair when I, borne aloft on the swell of new love, stood onstage for some sort of talent show or something, and sang a romantic Motown song to him – I forget now which one exactly – and, whilst singing, I was scanning the crowd for sight of him. And there he was – literally rolling on the floor with some woman at the back of the hall! How could this be? How could he do it? But he could, and he did – for all the rest of the Ranch time he strayed and I pursued. I felt like a hunter running parallel to a wild swift stag, keeping it in sight, unable to catch it.

I was kept completely employed by my task, for Subuddha, bless his heart, was not choosy – he found beauty in old and young, wrinkled and smooth, plump and slender, plain and gorgeous. If my back was turned for an instant – and even when it wasn’t – he’d slip off like a cat with its friend-cat, round a corner and away. I had to eat very fast and not very much, so that I could leave the cafeteria at the same time he did. My every day and night were a hunter’s. I stalked him, entering his townhouse at night and viewing the big and the little shoes outside his door; pressing my ear to that door. I lurked on the hillside behind his house. There was no energy left for anything else, not really, not in my heart and mind. It was wearing and taxing, but I persevered. I met with him repeatedly, deliciously, raptly, and was given his fabulous body but not his heart. I took what I got, and demanded everything, and never got it. I misbehaved and clung and whined and plotted and lay in wait. The sex was beyond incredible – every second of our explorations conducted at peak intensity, even when there was no movement, or when there was just a touch, a gleam of the eyes. The unreachable had me on fire.

Most days I cried on some handy shoulder at work, as my already-broken heart was shoved aside again by that quiet, dancey fellow with eyes as blue as my father’s. People would say to me, “Why don’t you step back from him and find your own center?” And I would wail, “I don’t haaaave a center!”

Meanwhile the Ranch, which had started out a rambunctious, permissive place, was proceeding on its path of power-trip exploration; a hothouse for consciousness on the mis-uses of psychic force. Paranoia grew like hair, as slowly yet quickly, so that one day it was in your face and all around you. The little colored pills the Moms were taking to keep their energy up for the heroic long hours they worked were coming back to bite them in the behind and make them more and more erratic, nasty, and unpredictable.

Those same Moms had tried to recruit me into their ranks. This did not work at all. All I saw were a bunch of women not really having any fun. They wanted me, in my job as co-coordinator of Edison, to be mean to people! This was just absurd as far as I was concerned. I had no grudge against the workers – I wanted them to be happy. Why should I be mean? What would make me want to be like those velour-tracksuited bossy-bootses (who were jovial to me, yet watched me too, as if to see what I was made of, what use they might make of me?) I shuddered at the thought. What did they have that could rival lying with my lover and touching his tender-skinned lingam as its hood flared like a cobra’s and he drew in his breath? And power was mine, for just a moment? What on earth could rival being wet for him, wet as a spring flashflood, and feeling him seek me curiously, unable to resist? While the sage spread its dusty bushes off into the hills around us, and lunchtime wasn’t over, not quite yet? Nothing – I knew that nothing those women had was any use to human joy at all compared to this.

There must have been people who were deeply committed to the Ranch as a concept, as a community, as an Eden. There must have been people who sacrificed, who believed, who saw a wonderful city laid out with celebrating people inhabiting it and a blazing-white Star at its center. I was not one of them. The Star was there – and I did not want to be elsewhere; elsewhere was simply unthinkable. But I did not care about the commune as an abstract, I had no feeling to work for it, though of course I did work; but only because that’s what one had to do. If everyone had disappeared except me, Osho, and Subuddha – (and there were maybe some servants, to get the food and so on) that would have been my heaven.

And so after coordinators’ meetings I would jump on my bike and hurtle towards the place where I could take off my clothes in the open air – take off the stupid rule-bound sexually-deprived Mom-world, leave them to their kitchen confabs about what, I-did-not-care. And maybe Subuddha would meet me there, out in the countryside, or in a tent during festivals, or in his room or mine – whatever was closest – or maybe instead he would be investigating the spring flood and sun-warm crevices of some curvy little person. It was the not-knowing that kept me tethered, and crazy, and absolutely distracted.

It was the craziness that kept me sane, and that saved me from being eaten for a power breakfast by a hungry Mom – for what they had was dust, and what I had was lust. And when I looked back afterwards, I saw that everything had arranged it this way; to spare me that unnecessary, unsavory ordeal of corruption. Thank you, Subuddha – you were the right man at the right time. I had my own suffering to do. Osho had once said to me, “The only suffering that has any value is the suffering for love. If you suffer thirty hours for half an hour of love, it is worth.” And so I am actually proud of my own unconscious, for protecting me from all that tedious power-junk; by giving me instead a love-drunk madness, dizzy and berserk as a lost bee spinning and spinning in the sun.

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