Part 2 of Buddhaprem’s sannyas story
In Part 1 Buddhaprem travels to India and takes sannyas. Read How I found my master or how he found me
I stayed in India throughout that year (1977). After doing the AUM group I went to Goa for a while, but then returned and started to work in the ashram to share my creativity with the commune; for a couple of months I worked in the silk screen printing department. At some point I went on a journey all around northern India with some friends: Narendra, who had an old Mercedes camper, Ram Teertha, a sannyasin from Scotland, and German Veetmaya. We visited Rajasthan, Mt. Abu, Jaipur, Amritsar, Rishikesh, Dharamsala (where I had darshan with the Dalai Lama), Ladhak and numerous other places. We finally split when Narendra headed for Afghanistan and I went on to Nepal again, because I had fallen in love with that country.
Later that year, possibly around October, I was broke and had only 60 Rupees left. It was time to return to Poona and to see my master again. I sold my sleeping bag for 150 Rupees and started the journey back to India. In Benares my money was again almost finished, and there seemed to be no chance even to buy one of the cheapest train tickets for Poona or Bombay. But then somebody told me about a place outside of Varanasi called Sarnath where sannyasins could stay for free. So I went there and indeed was welcomed in the dharamshala run by the Theravada Buddhists from Sri Lanka. There I got food and shelter. All I was expected do was join in their daily puja. The rest of the day I could stroll around this remarkable park area with many old temples and stupas; sitting under shady trees, meditating, writing poetry, relaxing and recovering from the travelling exertions.
After two weeks or so I joined a group of Hindu sadhus who were moving southwest through the country, from village to village, from temple to temple. Always on bare feet, with a blanket, a bowl, a staff and a small bundle. I met many different people on that path and I came to know quite a bit about the Indian psyche and mentality, despite the fact that my Hindi was more or less rudimentary and there were not many English speaking people around. But I must say, despite all the hindrances and the uncomfortable bits it was great, because I was always welcomed and respected as a sannyasin wherever I came to – in temples and private homes, by people we met on the way. My needs where fulfilled, there was food and shelter and there was guidance.
At last I ended up with a group of Shiva sadhus in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in central north India. With one of them I made a deal: he should accompany me on a train ride to Poona (sadhus don’t have to pay in trains but westerners would have to), and in exchange I would give him my only belonging of any worth: my woolen blanket from Kashmir, which was light, of high quality and especially valuable because it was already November. So, with the help of this Shiva lover I finally returned to Poona, back at my master’s feet. Arriving in Poona I found out that I received some money orders from my parents during my absence, so I was able to stay around the ashram until the beginning of 1978, to attend lectures and have a lot of fun: there were the meditations and the dancing. I still remember with great gratitude Sufi Dancing, which was led by Aneeta. I was really in love with her, although she never came to know about it… Then I had a darshan, and Osho told me to go back to Germany, work there, make money and then come back to stay forever.
So I did. Got some money from my mother, had my visa adjusted on the black market and bought a ticket to fly to Germany. There I worked for half a year as a driver, living in my parents’ home so that I could save all my money. Later I joined the German Buddhafield, living and working in the Purvodaya ashram in Bavaria with beloved Siddhartha. I stayed there till autumn 1979 and then I left to fly back to Poona.
During the welcome darshan Osho told me to do the Vipassana Intensive group, to bring me down from the “western drive,” as he said, and to then work in the weaving department.
Vipassana was a good experience. For many a long day only sitting, or walking slowly, always in silence. First it was a little hard, but then really astonishing. It was held down at the River House – with lots of meditation-disturbing mosquitos.
Then I started work in the weaving department, where I was the only man in a group of more than fifteen crazy, furious, orange-robed females. For a couple of months I had to learn everything about the art of hand weaving, starting from the very bottom. After doing only lowly jobs for a long time, I was finally allowed to work on the loom. It was always funny in the midst of that giggling and nagging bunch of women, and I am sure they dearly loved me, even if they used me to do the lowest jobs like sweeping the floor, etc. We made garments and fabrics for the ashram boutique in various forms and colors.
I stayed in Poona until Osho left for America and everything began falling apart. I returned to the German Buddhafield where I lived and worked for the next three years, again with Siddhartha but this time in Rajneeshstadt, Schloss Wolfsbrunnen.
I had been wearing my mala and orange clothes for seven years continually, living more or less all the time in the commune. Now I decided to stand on my own feet: I dropped the mala and the orange. It was something like an old skin that had to be stripped off, to find the deeper reason inside.
At that point I realized that it was not necessary anymore to cling to those formalities. It did not mean that I dropped sannyas or that there was any conflict with it. On the contrary. It was more an act of internalizing what sannyas meant to me. So to say, to become orange from the inside. At the same time it was important for me to take my life in my own hands, not to be sheltered in the commune which was rather easy and cozy because a lot of decisions were made for me by others. Now I had to make my own decisions about how to lead my life. This was a bit hard in the beginning, but later on it turned out that it was the best thing to do in this situation; it made me more mature and self-aware. I remembered what Osho told me when I was initiated – not to follow anybody, not to imitate and to find my own way to go. So now I was on my own way, but still connected with Osho in deep love.
I met him one more time in 1989, when he was back in Poona after the American experiment. At that time he was often physically not so well, but nevertheless, he held many lectures and it was a fine time. This time I was there more like a tourist: I did not participate much in the ashram activities besides attending lectures in the morning and Kundalini Meditation in the evening. There was a certain distance. Watching myself and the commune as it had been before and how it was now. I realized that a lot had changed. Like in a love affair I was full of emotions and ecstatic in the beginning and then became more solid and profound.
Although there was this distance to the commune, my feelings for Osho had not changed. There was still this kind of familiarity and a deep love in my heart. Sometimes while listening to his words a kind of premonition was creeping into my mind, that he would not be in his body for an all too long time anymore. He seemed to be so fragile, and I remembered that he told us in previous lectures frequently that his staying with us was not to be taken for granted, that his link to his body was very frail and that he could be leaving any moment. Besides that I had a great time, meeting old friends again and making a lot of new friends.
And it happened to be the last time I saw my master in his body.
Since then I live as a housekeeper and gardener, creating objects out of colored glass and just enjoying existence.
In conclusion I want to remark that I am very thankful that I was able to meet an enlightened master in person during my lifetime. Although there was some sense of spirituality before, it was rather rudimentary and based mainly on book knowledge. Through Osho there was a unique chance for me to come in touch with real living spirituality that cannot be attained otherwise. It changed my life utterly with a lasting effect until today. About that I am very grateful to Osho in particular and to existence in general.
Today we are also publishing Buddhaprem’s Art Gallery contribution: Glass Art by Buddhaprem
Buddhaprem now lives near Stuttgart, Germany working as a free artist. www.privatetiffanyatelier.info