Heraklion, Crete

Remembering Here&Now

Yogena remembers the day Osho was arrested in Greece…

Osho arrested in Crete

This photo was taken on March 5, 1986 at the port of Heraklion on the island of Crete, the day Osho was arrested. It is a frame from a video that was recorded by a German sannyasin. That is me in the photo behind Osho, along with Greek Mukta and the Policeman. I believe that the policeman was fearful of Mukta’s anger and animosity more than anything. She has always been a major contributor and financial supporter of Osho and was, along with other Greek sannyasins especially delighted to have him in Greece.

His plane had flown all around Europe but had been detained at airports and allowed only to refuel and continue on his journey; Osho was never allowed to enter any country. I believe that the only real stop in Europe was the three weeks spent in Crete, Greece.

The time at Crete with him was among the juiciest and of major impact for Europeans, I believe. It was especially a high point for me, having not seen him for the five months since October 1985 when he had left the Ranch in Oregon. There at the Ranch, I had seen him every day for five years. After the Ranch I had been living in Germany and heard of his arrival on Crete during a ski trip in Austria. A sannyasin female working at the hotel desk told me the news. At that exact moment, I put away the skis and got the next plane straight to Athens. When I arrived at his residence in Agios Nikolaos to receive his face to face greeting, tears of joy streamed down my face.

I had been the Civil Engineer for the Oregon project and worked seven days a week as well as many nights for five years along with my fellow sannyasins to build the ‘City of Rajneeshpuram’, the “City that would never die.” The City did ‘die’ after his arrest and deportation by a pyramid of politicians in Oregon and culminating in the nation’s Capital, Washington DC. The political pyramid, it is believed, reached all the way to the then President Reagan whom Osho had criticized, along with all other politicians.

In Crete we sannyasin visitors celebrated with nightly dancing at the local clubs, retsina wine, and Greek food. The island was filled and alive with orange clothing and malas with his photo. It was awash in excitement and energy. On my motorcycle I explored the island from North to South and from the beaches to snowy peaks. I viewed ancient Greek ruins. The Europeans who had not been able to see him in America were blown away by him and his presence. His discourses were absolutely enchanting and outrageously candid and supremely forthright. Even more so than usual. Unfortunately his jibes at Greek politics and the Greek Orthodox church may have reached the wrong people. The locals who attended the discourses may have been offended. The subject matter of his discourses during those three weeks on the Island of Crete may have brought on his deportation – or it may have been the far reaching arm of US government under Reagan who secured his arrest and culminated in his departure from Europe. Who is to say?

Whatever the source, the local authorities carried it out. They ransacked and tossed his room and quarters, probably looking for drugs or any item that would have been incriminating. They found none, of course, but put him in a police car and drove away without any discussion as to the reason. I arrived on the scene in dismay but was encouraged by sannyasin bystanders to keep up with the speeding police car. So I followed the police car from Agios Nikolaos on my motorcycle to be sure of his destination and that he would not be held incognito at some unknown site. Along the way the police car stopped so that the arrest warrant could be read and translated to him. At that point, he rolled the window down and looked at me as if to say, aren’t we having fun? After his anonymous [habeas corpus] detention in the US, those of us there in Greece were not convinced of his security at that point.

Osho was then held for a few hours at Heraklion and, I believe, fined. He was then deported from Greece. His around the world journey paused with a stay at a private villa in Uruguay, South America, for three months before returning via a month’s stay in Portugal to Mumbai, India, and eventually Pune.

Of course those of us who enjoyed basking in his presence set off for Pune and another intense time of building, operating and maintaining his commune for four years in his presence.

Article by Yogena

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