Tribal Revival

Letters / Opinions

An insider’s vision of our shared Sangha and sometimes moving beyond it all.

Ravinder states in a recent string: “…I personally like the place and I think everyone does like the place and we would like it to be full of people, more relaxed, more dance, groups and meditation…”

I believe what Ravinder is saying is the beginning of a healthy and mature way of seeing things at the resort, as well as an innocent and hopeful wish for the resort to grow. Perhaps one day, it will become a truly inclusive meeting place for all of Osho’s lovers…

Good words Ravinder! Hearing voices like yours gives me hope that one day a critical mass of positive visions, shared by more and more friends of Osho will push back the past very human tendencies (badly thought out) of the policy makers in Poona to re-think their approaches to running the ‘day-to-day’ mundane activities of the Koregaon park property.

I say ‘property’ specifically to remind those of you who may have not known or cannot recall Osho’s clear directives for Jayesh, Amrito, et al. – they were to keep their hands off and not in any way be involved with or interfere with sannyasins’ direct connection with their master. They were not to be involved at all in, nor control, coerce or pressure any sannyasin or Osho meditation center anywhere in the world – period. Period. End of story.

Another point I feel is worth making: for the many friends who may have been coming from a background of broken homes, dysfunctional relationships, abusive work environs – a life without much joy, celebration or peace of (no)mind, the resort must continue to feel like a sanctuary for the heart and soul. And for them it surely must still be that kind of a place. On how it could be, I’ll share a different perspective…

As one of the very few original Western disciples of Osho who has continually been involved with Osho’s work and facilitating many of the larger Osho events and meditation centers around the world since 1971, I have seen my share of and been privy to many policies/practices that seemed brilliant at the time but sadly, also many that have gone terribly berserk. My past, personal insights and experiences as an intimate disciple of Osho, however, in no way discount nor trump the personal experiences of these newcomers, and this needs to be understood. It most often isn’t. I simply have a longer historical insight into how things have gone and can go depending not only on how short or longsighted our vision, but more importantly on our ability to be open to others’ views which invariably often sees things beyond our own blind spots or preconceptions.

A little known fact that may be difficult to fathom by younger sannyasins, is that 95% of the best therapists, musicians, trainers, let alone the Osho lovers and disciples who I feel had finally got it (or lost it, depending on gestalt), we once had in our midst, who frequented Poona and stayed for many months or years at a time, are nowhere to be found in Koregaon Park. A treasure has been lost – not Osho’s eternal treasure, but rather the treasure of older brothers and sisters who might have otherwise been a great help and support to the Sangha had they not been made unwelcome or been banned. Now I know some folks don’t like to hear that – perhaps we all would like to think that what we personally are involved with today must be the ‘best’ and the ‘brightest’… Sorry, it ain’t often so…

There are many reasons for this unfortunate turn of events; dozens have died. Many more have become too ill to make the journey to India. Many have moved on to other teachers or dropped the game altogether. Also the ever-increasing entrance fees that greet the friends arriving at the front gate… Nice!

This in addition to the high costs of even getting to India is for many, financially burdensome. For many of our friends who have entered senior lives with diminishing financial resources, the burden to travel to and afford entrance into the Resort is daunting if not prohibitive…

Besides the above, another reason we no longer see the remaining older members of Osho’s Sangha is because they have been banned or scared away with frivolous lawsuits or blatant blackmailing. The recent lawsuit that the leadership in the resort lost in America brought to light the lengths that Jayesh and his legal team would go to fabricate timelines, forge letters, and intimidate witnesses so that they might go on being the unquestioned ‘owners’ of all things ‘Osho’. They lost the American lawsuit because all of the judges unanimously agreed that there were absolutely no grounds for Osho’s name or trademark to be controlled by individuals just because they said they wanted to control it. They lost the court cases in America as they will lose the upcoming major court case in Europe within a months’ time. In short – they lost it! (Just heard today that the Indian court busted the attempts of OIF to ‘gift away’ a huge chunk of the resort.*)

Not surprising then, that many of the people they have banned and continue to ban have also been the ones who were all along saying “No, Jayesh and Amrito, you do not own Osho, by name or otherwise. Osho dissolved into all of his people, not just the ones you approve of…” Your job, Jayesh and Amrito, was and still is (as described by Osho) to run the “…mundane day to day practical needs of the property…”, not in any way interfering with his lovers and friends to be able to openly visit and enjoy his sanctuary as much as anyone else!

Many groups, be it social or of ‘spiritual’ nature, have members that have a kneejerk reaction to anything that is less than an unwavering blind trust and unquestioned belief – ‘group think’. Many of us have seen and recognized, often belatedly, our own Osho tribe move through these soul hiccups. Oregon comes to mind, but even before Oregon, there was Rajneeshdham and before that was how we behaved on the shores of Goa in the early 70’s (I was very young and stupid – perhaps now older and stupid!). Many sannyasins including myself have been as guilty as anyone in blind ‘group-think’, unconscious ‘group belief’.

I would like to point out what I would hope would be obvious to everyone: people who question policies are not your enemies!

Policies are not people, but blind adherence to policies that do not work is dangerous and harmful. If the failed policies continue to be more important than the people they were made to serve, something, somewhere has gone terribly wrong. Policies don’t get broken hearts – real people do. Policies don’t thrive with an uninterrupted connection to their master be it in spirit or through being able to enter the front gates of his sanctuary – his real human lovers do. Stone-like policies can easily kill a tender heart that is looking for inclusion and acceptance. This, in a nutshell is one of the main issues that has divided the Osho Sangha. The loss or exclusion of any Osho Lover through banning, intimidation and blackmail depletes the overall Osho Sangha. Our Sangha – Osho’s Sangha has arguably been depleted of not only much of its genius but regrettably much of its elders’ wisdom. This is a shame but it can change. We are changing it on the shores of Osho Beach, at Viha and at Uta and many, many other places around the world and have been for years.

For this sea-change to happen, love and understanding is needed, but one cannot just ‘order up’ maturity and understanding like a pizza. The first thing that is needed is the ability to look at the facts of how we got here. How did we arrive at such a division? How did we turn Osho’s dream of a ‘meeting place of friends’ into the nightmare of an exclusive club membership of all those who don’t question policies? The easy answer for some is to refer back to Osho’s insights of how all masters’ followers will sooner or later gravitate into an exoteric or esoteric group following their master’s physical departure… (Google Osho on ‘exoteric and esoteric’). I think a deeper enquiry is healthy. A much deeper honestly is required.

Many of you might remember this famous quote:

First they came for the communists
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.
Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Pastor Martin Niemöller, 1892 –1984

Here in Goa and elsewhere many of us are speaking up. We will continue to speak up and openly engage in any conversation that is based on fact and accurate, recorded guidance from Osho himself. At some point, hopefully sooner than later, we will hopefully not have to use his quotes or his insights to live our own lives. Hopefully our own lights will someday become aflame with brightness and our paths will become bright and clear. I do feel that each of us are doing the best we can given our own inner and outer ‘circumstances’. I extend this belief to Jayesh and company. This does not mean, however, that one needs to keep quiet when we see things going amiss. Like the above quote, Osho reminded us that we all were responsible for the wrongs of Sheela and her group IF we saw what was going wrong and chose, for whatever reasons not to speak up. I feel this is a really important point and I believe this lesson goes well beyond (needs to go well beyond) events in Poona. It is a lesson I have tried to remember in all of my dealings with people with varying degrees of success. If something feels wrong – check it out and ask questions. Open your mouth and speak. Find the fearlessness of the lion and let the willing sheep fall asleep – perhaps they will not do as much harm while snoring!

If, you are still in that diminished group of Osho lovers who still enjoy the healing benefits of being able to soak in the energy in the Resort that still reflects Osho and if you are still welcomed to dive into all that is offered inside the gates of 17 Koregaon Park, you most likely will not understand what it is like to be denied what you are enjoying. Perhaps this is a ‘I’ve got mine – you get yours’ mindset or perhaps you are simply deep in your own ‘non-political’ meditation… which I feel is often a really slick cop-out. In any case, it’s for the disenfranchised and the denied that myself and many others have been speaking up for over 20 years. Many of us no longer have anything to lose, but we must nevertheless speak up. My speaking up is in no way against you or what you are enjoying in Poona. Others and myself also would love to contribute if only we could do so without ‘selling out’ or compromising our self-dignity. We are no longer afraid of lawsuits and intimidations – we’ve been there and done that! Let the tribe unite and strive to make what Osho wanted his place in Poona to remain – “A true meeting place of friends.” If the management team continues on its present path of failed policies, Poona attendance will continue to decline and the representation of his larger Sangha will also continue to scatter. Even as his people down here in Goa see a growing visitation of Osho’s lovers, what a shame it is that Poona can’t also be included on the map as an open place for all (all!) of his lovers.

I.H.O. Lovebaba Harideva – Osho Beach, Goa, March 4th 2013

* see another letter published today in Osho News: Co-Exist or Exit

HaridevaAmerican-born Harideva took sannyas in Mumbai in 1971. He is an international published teacher and facilitator. Always outspoken and daring, he staged several protests in Pune after Osho left his body, and has been organizing many festivals for the worldwide sannyasin tribe in Goa, India, always reaffirming Osho’s vision for humanity.

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