Well-known actor Arif Zakaria writes about his experiences after a recent visit at the Osho Resort in Pune, published on November 13, 2012.
I had written in an earlier blog about my desire to attend a meditation course as a part of an impending film project. After much deliberations and scanning vivid styles of attaining internal inertia (vipassana, power yoga, deep slumber) it was agreed that I spend time at the Osho meditation retreat in Pune. With its reputation of openness, hush, hush sexuality and the omnipresence of its founder I had a long cherished intrigue about its portals hence I was pleasantly surprised upon chancing on an uber cool place set in a plush environment and manned by a floating group of international denizens.
The main business of meditation is serious and strenuous. Beginning from sunrise with the ‘Osho dynamic meditation’ and ending with a rather bizarre ‘Blue light meditation’ it’s a day filled with high combustion of body, breath and dance. You speak gibberish, learn the natraja dance moves, whirl like a sufi wannabe or struggle to just sit still. All this interspersed with screams, shouts, clapping and chanting. Not for the old, weak kneed or the pace maker gen set. Every particle and shaft of this air-conditioned air has the interminable stamp of the raconteur, philosopher and all mood weather guru- Late Rajneesh. His organic words and presence resonate.
The open air piazza to the granite floored halls each working area is super smart and eye pleasing in architecture and vibes. The café is orderly and shiny the delicacies though vegetarian are wholesomely international in cut and crepe. Hygiene and cleanliness are ordained. The only unholy note was the first day at the welcome orientation after the AIDS test (compulsory) where the Indian men are taken aside and informed gently that this is not a flesh retreat and your ‘moves like jagger’ if any, will necessitate expulsion. The supposed Indian repressed sexuality needs to be left behind once you adorn the maroon robes. This was strange and offensive.
The ‘meditators’ who walk around grim faced during day dress up and groove at night in the Osho Plaza where theme parties are held each dusk. Alcohol flows freely though cautiously and there is a smoking area too. The thrust is, as informed by a doe eyed Japanese mediator, to be your self and Osho doesn’t want to change your core only alter your vision of the world. All in all it is a nice escape from city mundaneness and if you learn to count your breath – all the better. There is great eye candy too all wrapped in saffron robes. But the best way to enjoy these salubrious surrounds is the way the big man Osho perceived – ‘If you are really intelligent you will put your mind exactly where you left your shoes’.