The 16th Lama Karmapa speaks about Osho and his work as a World Teacher, and about past lives
An extraordinary meeting occurred in June 1972 in Sikkim, India. Govind Siddharth, one of Osho’s early disciples, was intrigued how Osho had spoken about the Tibetan mystics, their occult sciences and meditations, and felt to travel to the region with his wife and two daughters to visit the monasteries there. He arrived in Gangtok, Sikkim’s capital during the rainy season and it was quite chilly, Gangtok being about 1,500 meters above sea level. The staff at the local tourist office suggested for him to visit the monastery at Rumtek, about 25 kilometers from Gangtok, which was headed by His Holiness the 16th Lama Karmapa (Pal Karmapa Densa Shed Drup Chho Khorling, in the Tibetan language).
The monastery had been built in the 16th century by the 9th Karmapa Wangchuk Dorje and served for a long time as the main seat of the Karma Kagyu lineage. When the 16th Karmapa (1924 – 1981) arrived in Sikkim in 1959 after fleeing Tibet, the monastery was in ruins and the Karmapa decided to rebuild Rumtek; he was generously helped by the Sikkim royal family and the Indian government. According to him, the site had many auspicious qualities and was surrounded by favorable attributes such as flowing streams and the Himalayan ranges with towering Mount Kanchenjunga. The construction took four years and upon completion the sacred items and relics brought out from Tsurphu Monastery, the Karmapa’s seat in Tibet, were installed.
A Karmapa is said to be a ‘Divine Incarnation’ – a Bodhisattva, and this Karmapa was said to be the sixteenth incarnation of Dsum Khyenpa, the first Karmapa who was born about 1110 A.D., descended from the chain of gurus going back to Marpa, one of Tibet’s great yogis.
The following are edited excerpts from a much longer text that was originally published in ‘The Silent Explosion’, a book of early Osho discourses, now out of print.
Govind Siddharth, in his eagerness to see the Karmapa forgot to arrange for an appointment and headed for the monastery. He recalled,
When we arrived by car, the monastery was closed. I was very disappointed and wondered whether I would be able to meet His Holiness or not or whether I would even be able to see the inside of the monastery. Then all of a sudden, one lama came, and he said, ‘Do you want to meet Guruji?’
I said, ‘Yes, I have come for that purpose.’ He immediately took me to where His Holiness was staying. He said that there were some foreigners inside, and I would have to wait for some time and asked for my name and address. I gave him my name as Swami Govind Siddharth from Bombay. He went inside and to my surprise the lama came out saying that ‘You are immediately wanted inside by His Holiness.’
Govind, clad as a sannyasin, went inside:
I was greeted by him as if I was expected there. I touched his feet. He immediately put his two hands on my head. This is really a very rare gesture and is very significant in the tradition of Tibetan lamas. According to their practice, when you enter and bow down to His Holiness, you are supposed to present a scarf to him which is put on his leg. If he feels something special about you concerning your spiritual development, he will then put it on your neck. If he feels that you are somewhat more advanced in meditation, then there are special scarves with three red marks, and he will put that on you. If he feels something still more about you, then he will put one hand on your head. But the highest indication is if he puts two hands on your head. He would never have done this unless he felt this indication.
He then told me, ‘I know from where you are coming.’ It was a great surprise for me. And then he said, ‘I am seeing that you have somewhere some photograph, or something which is printed on two sides, of your Guru.’ I answered, ‘I have nothing like that which is printed on two sides.’ (I had completely forgotten the locket hanging on my mala with Bhagwan’s photograph on both sides.) An English lady, a disciple of the Karmapa and the only female in the monastery was present and acted as an interpreter, since the Karmapa didn’t speak English. She immediately saw my mala and asked, ‘What is this?’ I then remembered that the locket was printed on two sides and said, ‘This is the photograph of my Guru.’ She was curious to see it, so I took it off and showed it to her. Immediately His Holiness said, ‘That is it.’
He took the locket in his hand, touched it to his forehead, and said, ‘He is the greatest incarnation since Buddha in India and is a living Buddha!’ I felt very excited to hear this, and then asked, ‘There are certain other people in India who also say they have attained Enlightenment. What about them?’ He replied, ‘They are ‘Realized Souls’, but not Enlightened Incarnations.’
Then I asked particularly about Krishnamurti. He said, ‘Firstly he is not in India. Secondly, he is a Realized Soul, but not a Divine Incarnation.’ Then I asked him about the difference between an Incarnation and a Realized Soul. He said that a Realized Soul has become Self-Realized, but cannot necessarily help other people. If he wants to help others, then he would have had to be specially trained for this in occult and esoteric sciences and must be born again and again for this training. He then can make a conscious choice of rebirth. All this Bhagwan has already passed through, the Lama told me. Divine Incarnation means an incarnation of someone who was trained in previous lives to help others, not just a soul who has Realized in this life. In Bhagwan’s case, he has already been trained; he has already been Realized. Now in this life, Bhagwan has taken birth specially in order to help people spiritually—only for this purpose. He has taken birth fully consciously, the Lama said.
I told him that Bhagwan is teaching many people, and that he speaks on many deep things, to which he replied, ‘You may be feeling that he is speaking for you, but it is not only for you that he speaks. He speaks for the Akashic Records [records of events and words recorded on the astral planes] also. Whatever is spoken is not forgotten. That is why you will find that he goes on repeating things. He will go on repeating things, and you will feel that he is speaking for you, but a matter of fact, he speaks only for a few people. Only a few people realize what he [Bhagwan] is. His words will remain in the Akashic records, so that they will also be helpful to people of the future.’
He also asked me where Bhagwan is, as he had recognized him from the vibration of my locket with Bhagwan’s photo. He had also been with him in past lives. All Buddhas (Enlightened Ones) come in contact with each other. Even now he and Bhagwan are in contact with one another telepathically. That is how he knows. I thought that his question meant where Bhagwan is staying, so I said ‘Bombay’. His Holiness said, ‘No, not Bombay.’ He had meant where his native place is. When I then told him Madhya Pradesh, he said, ‘Right!’ So he knew the whole thing before I even said it, as it is in the Akashic Records, and he knows it from there.
He then asked me about the methods of meditation Bhagwan teaches. I described our four-stage method. When I told him about the third stage, the shouting of ‘hoo-hoo-hoo’, he said that this ‘hoo’ comes from the ‘hum’ in the Tibetan mantra ‘Om mani padme hum’. He was so excited about this that he just grabbed my two hands, saying he was ‘very much delighted’ and that ‘this method is absolutely right; this is similar to some of the Tibetan ways of these practices, and whatever work we are doing, you are doing the same thing.’ Many differences are only in language. For example, when we use the term ‘kundalini’, the Tibetans use ‘the burning fire’ to mean the same thing. But about Bhagwan’s method, he just said, ‘Perfect!’
Actually, their system is quite different in most ways. They believe in vibrations being responsible for all manifestations, and they do a lot of prayers and chanting of particular mantras in the Tibetan language. This must be done only in a particular way. But His Holiness felt sure that the ‘hoo’ stage in our meditation comes from the ‘hum’ in their mantra ‘Om mani padme hum.’ Bhagwan has also confirmed this in some of his lectures.
Describing the Karmapa, Govind said he looked exactly like Osho – so jolly, so light hearted and warm, and about the same age too, between forty and fifty. A particular thing he said he saw about His Holiness is his third eye:
You can see it very easily; it is concave – inwardly curved – in the center of his forehead. It felt like a normal eye, but it is an inner eye. I experienced the middle point of that inner eye as if energy was being emitted from a small hole there. One can very easily see that middle portion.
I had heard that they have a practice in Tibet where they drill a hole in the forehead to open the third eye, so I asked him about this. He said, ‘Those are all fake rumours. It is never done. At some time in the distant past it may have been done, but not now.’ He said that once this third eye is opened, you can see many things that are hidden from one’s ordinary perceptions.
Basically, lamas have two different systems of practices. The first is prayer, chanting of mantras and things like that; the other is meditation. They do not allow anybody to live in the monastery or to take initiation unless they make a complete renunciation. This renunciation means a clean shaven head with a particular type of dress, a particular type of food to be eaten, a particular way the hair is to be cut and complete seclusion for a certain period of time. And in that period, they are instructed what to do. If they pass through that, then only is one entitled to stay at the monastery—otherwise not.
After prayers, they will be told what type of meditation is to be done, what practices they have to follow, depending upon the individual’s capacities, and what to study. They have different occult sciences which one has to learn in order to help other people also, such as the science of knowing the aura of a human being. By this one can immediately know what type of a person someone is; whether he is genuine, whether he speaks truth or not, whether he is on the path of meditation or not, whether he is going ahead or whether he is regressing. All these things can be known by the colour of the magnetic fields of the human aura.
Another occult science which has to be learned is telepathy to be able to read the thoughts of people. And a third one is clairvoyance, a science by which one can guide people by thoughts from a long distance. These are the three sciences one must learn, and they have different types of meditation for them.
Naturally, I asked the Lama to tell me more and whether he can teach me or not. He said he could not teach anyone who was not one of their lamas, because if these things go to a person who is not ready for them, they can be misused. Thus, the Tibetans have kept all their occult sciences very secret, only because they feel that nowadays we live in a materialistic world, and people will try to make money out of everything. That is why they do not want to give out these secrets.
Once a person has entered the monastery, he has to remain there until he is dead. He cannot go out of the monastery unless he dies; otherwise he will have to leave the Tibetans completely. Once a person belongs to them, he belongs to them for his whole life and for all his remaining lives, even until he achieves Buddhahood. They go on instructing him in all his lives, and they will always call back monks who know about guiding others’ spirits. They come back there to guide them, and these souls are always guided in order that they will get the proper birth in the next life. Like that, their spiritual training continues for many lives. Generally, they try especially not to let any Realized Soul leave their group. However, after Realization, they cannot control these souls.
Regarding Bhagwan, His Holiness said that after enlightenment it cannot be helped if the soul of the Enlightened One, by his own choice, is reborn somewhere else than among them. In Bhagwan’s case, the Lama said that he was with them in past lives. He said to me, ‘If you want to see one of Bhagwan’s previous incarnations – who he was in Tibet – you can go to Tibet and see his golden statue there which is preserved in the Hall of Incarnations.”
Bhagwan’s last birth is said to have occurred about seven hundred years ago. The Karmarpa was referring to one birth before that one. He said Bhagwan was one of their great Incarnations two births ago, and his statue is thus preserved.
The Tibetans preserve the body of one who has achieved enlightenment in a particular fashion, like a mummy in Egypt is preserved. The dead body is given special treatment by which it dries up. After it is dried, it does not lose the natural features of the person from the time of death. After that treatment is given, they give the body to the goldsmith to cover it with gold, making it a gold-encased body. The body has to be put in the sitting posture of Buddha (Padmasan – lotus posture) for this treatment, and then they will encase the body in gold. There are specialized goldsmiths who do this so that not a single feature line is changed.
The Tibetans were able to salvage many precious relics and statues because they know the science of astrology. As a result of this they can predict the future; they knew about the Chinese Communist invasion long before it came and were able to duplicate everything. The real golden statues are hidden somewhere in Tibet. Only certain people know about where they are kept – only those who go deep in meditation. Bhagwan knows about this. The unauthentic duplicates were placed in a visible place, just for show so that the Chinese could destroy them, as the Tibetans knew that they would want to destroy something.
There are ninety-nine golden statues of great Divine Incarnations like this in Tibet, according to His Holiness. One of them is the statue of Bhagwan from two lives back. The Chinese have not destroyed it. They cannot, because these statues have been removed to a remote part of Tibet and are secretly hidden. The real statues have been removed because these statues are powerful occult things. If anybody will even just touch them, some powerful spiritual experience can happen to him. So in a room where they are kept even the monks will not be allowed to enter. Only particular people can be allowed, because even by touching these statues one can have powerful reactions.
I just went on listening to what the Kamarpa wanted to say and felt that he was so happy about the whole thing and so excited, as if something lost was found again. Through this excitement which he conveyed and in his gestures I realized that he must have been closely associated with Bhagwan in the past. He did not specifically say what his own spiritual relationship to Bhagwan was, and I did not want to ask him – though I was curious. It was a very interesting and unique experience for me which I had never expected.
He went on to say about Bhagwan and his work that ‘My blessings are always there, and I know that whatever we are not going to be able to do to help others, Bhagwan will do.’
The main aim of the lamas in coming to India was to preserve their occult sciences. Bhagwan has also confirmed this in his Kashmir lectures given in 1969. The Dalai Lama has not escaped only to save himself, but to save the Tibetan religion, the meditation secrets, the occult sciences. Only for that purpose has he come to India, taking with him everything from Tibet. His Holiness said, ‘We have gotten these things from India in the past, and now we want to return them. And now we have come to know that here is an incarnation [Bhagwan] who is doing our job in India and in the world. We are happy about it.’
He then said that Bhagwan is the only person who will be able to do this work in India, as they are finding it very difficult to contact Indian people, since they do not speak our languages. But His Holiness said that Bhagwan has taken special care to come to India for this birth, and said, ‘You are very, very fortunate to have him. His is the only Divine Incarnation living today who will be a World Teacher.’
I asked His Holiness of who Bhagwan was an incarnation, but he said, ‘No, that is secret. Unless someone is the head of one of our monasteries, we do not disclose whose incarnation he is.’ But he told me one thing very clearly, that ‘As soon as his [Bhagwan’s] work is done, he will disappear – disappear completely, and we will not be able to find him.’ He said that ‘It is only by a Tibetan art by which one can disappear.’ The same thing had happened with Lao Tzu. Bhagwan had also told us that nobody knows where Lao Tzu had gone. He just disappeared when his time came instead of dying. His Holiness did not indicate when it would happen to Bhagwan.
I asked how it is possible that he will disappear like that. He said, ‘Ours is a science of vibrations, and Bhagwan is already accomplished in it. He has only to calm down his vibrations, and then he can disappear.’ One only sees people because their vibrations are thrown to the eyes. The eyes then catch the vibrations which form into an image, and that is behind the secret of this art. Bhagwan has also said that if you want to make people feel that you are there, your vibrations form an image. Lama Karmapa said that Bhagwan has already calmed down his vibrations, and he is only waiting for his work to be completed. As soon as this is done, he will disappear. He is already on a calmer vibration, and it is by artificial means that he is keeping himself here, just because he has to finish the work.
He went on to say that ‘The world will know him, but only a few people will realize what he actually is. He will be the only person who can guide properly, who can be a World Teacher in this age, and he has taken birth only for this purpose.’ He also indicated that unless one achieves enlightenment, one will not fully know who Bhagwan is. ‘Bhagwan really is interested only in people who can know him, and he does not want to waste time. He will not want the wrong people to come. As soon as someone comes to him, he knows who he is by the colour of his aura, as different colours indicate different degrees of the state of spirituality one has reached, and he immediately finds out about the person. And only if he feels something special about someone will he allow him to come near to him. Otherwise he will not allow it.’
I have told all these things to Bhagwan and asked him about the Tibetans and whether they will be able to help us here in India. He said, ‘No, it is not possible for them to help, because their strictness is too much for the modern age, their methods for spiritual progress take too long, and the time is short. Help is needed quickly in this age, so it is not possible for them to help a great number of people.’ Bhagwan said to me, “It is very good that you went there.
Read what Osho says about the 99 golden statues hidden in Tibet in: Remains and Vibrations of Enlightened Ones
Read the entire narration as published in The Silent Explosion: Govind Siddharth’s Visit to the 16th Karmapa