Final chapters of Bodhena’s ‘Samsara’
Even an incomplete tale like this should not be complete without somewhat of an account of where I’m at on my path. Yes, Osho’s still The Man, and there is nothing much I can do about that, that is just the case. Still, it has felt fine to spend some time with a few other enlightened ones over the years, when they happened along. Sort of like in that old Stephen Stills song, “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”
When I returned to live in Germany in September 1999, I was totally out of touch with what was happening there New Age-wise. After all, I had been gone for 22 years, except for a few relatively brief visits. Somehow, I did not feel to continue on my path more or less on my own as I had in recent years. Following the message, “Find an awakened friend to sit with” that had gotten to me mysteriously, I started to look around. I was quite amazed to find that, besides all kinds of other things reminiscent of the scene in California, there were literally dozens of awakened people around that were doing their thing. Most of them were giving satsangs, some were more stationary, others were moving around quite a bit. Some of them were offering retreats, in Germany as well as abroad. To me, this was clearly the hottest thing going on the scene, for those that were ready for it.
It wasn’t much of a problem to obtain information about those “satsang teachers”, as they were called. From what I read in New Age magazines in the form of CVs, interviews with them or articles by them, and from what I saw in their eyes in the photographs of them, some of them definitely seemed to be genuine, seemed to “have it”, while others didn’t attract me very much, to say the least. Unfortunately, there was not much happening in my vicinity. Most of them were based in big cities like Berlin or Hamburg, and particularly southern Germany seemed to be crawling with them. Bavaria, of all places, appeared to have become the German equivalent of California (while politically, it still is very much like Texas).
There was one of them that I liked especially, a guy named Samarpan. He was a sannyasin (we might even have run into each other on the Ranch since we had been there at the same time, but I didn’t remember him from there) and had been awakened in a satsang with Gangaji. What he wrote in a magazine article about Osho rang so true and moved me so much, that I decided to give it a shot and sign up for one of the retreats he was offering. Sometime in the spring of 2000, I left a message on the answering machine of the people that were organizing the retreat, also sannyasins as I could tell by their names, and waited, and waited, and nothing happened. Eventually I called that number again and learned from a recorded message that the retreat was booked up. Well, sad as I was, I had to concede that that one hadn’t been for me.
A bit earlier that year, I had come across a brief magazine article about another satsang teacher named Pyar (“Introducing: Pyar”). Also a sannyasin, she was based in Munich and had worked with Samarpan before and during her awakening. When I saw the picture of her that came with the article, there was something in me that commented faintly, but discernibly, “Oh, her “, although I could not remember ever having seen her before, and in my mind’s eye I could see her as a wise woman, walking through the woods and collecting herbs. I was totally surprised when later that spring I received a flyer from her in the mail which informed me about two retreats she was giving, in June and in September of that year. I was very much at a loss as to how I’d gotten onto that mailing list, but there was an immediate “yes” in me, and I went ahead and booked the first of the two retreats.
I arrived a bit early at the retreat, which was taking place in the small town of Gmund at the Tegernsee, a beautiful lake right at the northern edge of the Bavarian Alps. Pyar and her staff were still getting the place ready, and they asked me to just hang out a bit outside on the patio. I went outside, sat down, took a couple of deep breaths, and, hey, there it was again, that so familiar energy, which was the reason for which I’d really come. So right there and then, even before the first satsang, I decided that I’d be attending the retreat in September as well, and then some more.
After a while Pyar came out to say hello, and she was somewhat curious as to how I’d gotten there, because she had never seen me in any of her satsangs. It took us a bit of figuring until we were able to put two and two together – what had happened was that the people I had called regarding the Samarpan retreat were also working with Pyar at times, and they had passed my address on to her staff. Another mystery unveiled!
Now, in the late summer of oh-two and with my seventh retreat coming up, all I can really say is that I feel very much at home with her and with the sangha that is starting to crystallize around her. The retreats are all “silent retreats”, except during the satsangs, when we have the opportunity to ask questions. I’d say that about a third of the participants are sannyasins. There are quite a few people that I’ve met on three or four different retreats, and I’ve made some very good friends. Sure, there is a bit of chit-chat going on, even on a silent retreat, but it is becoming apparent to me that being together in silence can be much more of a factor in getting closer to each other than a lot of talking, you connect somewhere deeper than just on the mind level.
But the main reason I’ve kept coming is that I feel that Pyar is creating the perfect space for me to work on myself, or however you want to call it. It’s not that I have very many questions on a verbal level. Actually, I wouldn’t mind if there was more time to just sit in silence during the satsangs, but not that that matters very much. The way I see it, the real work is happening on a subtle energy level. Generally, I do feel totally accepted there for what I am and where I’m at and what I need to do, and that nothing is being imposed upon me. And, which is important for me, Osho is very much present there.
In my everyday life out in the world, I have been more and more focusing on just meeting each moment as it comes, and on allowing what wants to happen anyway. There is nowhere to go and nothing to achieve – the path itself is the goal. Sometimes an input is needed from me, but that comes more out of the situation as it evolves. And the more I approach life like that, without the usual expectations, fears and other hang-ups, the more I’ve been getting into a harmonious flow, the more I’ve been flowing with the whole scene, and everything works out just fine. This same attitude I’ve tried to bring into the retreats. On a conscious level, I don’t really know what’s going on, and I don’t care, either, as long as it feels right – and that it does.
The only relevant question in life is, “Who am I?”, and the only thing I can ultimately do to find out about that is to let go, or rather, to allow a let-go to happen, and then I’ll just see whatever is the case. As simple as that may sound, it is one extremely subtle business, so until then, I just sit patiently on my small meditation bench and try to be as alert as possible, sometimes focused more outward, sometimes more inward. But at the latest when I come out of a retreat and I’m having fun with just about anything that I do, and when I notice that my meditations are noticably increasing in depth, and that this doesn’t fade out after a few days but is getting better and better over time, then I know that I must be on the right track.
As a person, Pyar never ceases to amaze me. One of her most striking qualities are her utter simplicity and unpretentiousness. After the satsangs, she hangs out with everybody else outside to have a smoke (Bavarian as she may be, she smokes “American Spirits” – this baby’s come a long way!), and she is always open if somebody wants to talk to her about something, outside of the satsangs. During the meals, you might find yourself sitting at the same table with her, and, as a special treat, you might end up just looking into her eyes for a bit. (That one always really gets to me!)
Apart from that, she is exceptionally bright. In her “other” life, she is an MD, specialized in homeopathy and acupuncture, and she is still practising, full time. According to her autobiography “Reise ins Nichts” (“Journey into Nothingness”, which has been a pretty hot item on the New Age scene in Germany), she had been one of those students who’d been getting mainly straight “A”s, without ever having to do a lot of homework for it. For many years, she has been married to Nirdoshi, her high school sweetheart, a beautiful big bear of a guy, very much in contrast to her own rather slender self. He does her PR, plays Bhajans together with a group of musicians before and after satsang, and gives great bear hugs. Also, there is nothing that she loves more than a juicy joke and a good glass of wine. If you haven’t done so yet, check her out at www.pyar.de!
Spiritually, her strongest influences are Osho and Tibetan Buddhism, but she is just as much at home on other paths, such as Zen or Sufism. Yet, I don’t see her as being confined by anything. She has her own very particular way of doing what she is doing, and that with a lot of wit and clarity and love. In satsang, I have seen her dealing with somebody’s drama with the same ease as she showed when there was a seeker who was going through some extremely deep inner spaces and needed (and got) some expert guidance. On another occasion, there was someone who was obviously suffering from the “Advaita disease” and who tried to drag her into a discussion in an attempt to prove some rather stupid point, while getting rather aggressive at the same time. Pyar did not waver even a fraction of an inch.
In personal encounters with her, like during short chats after satsang outside on the “Bankerl” (for the uninitiated – that’s what they call a bench in Bavaria), most of the time I get a quite direct experience of where I’m really at, how much I’m still rooted in my mind, how fast my mind clicks in, when it actually doesn’t need to. I don’t know if I’ve ever really met her, if I am capable to be with her on her terms, in silence. She is just too direct, too much just there, for me to be able to grasp it the way I function, to be able to truly respond to her. Usually, I have the feeling of lagging a step or two behind, and before I realize it, it’s too late. Still, what comes across from her is nothing but understanding and love and forgiveness, so that at least I don’t feel like a complete, muddleheaded fool. Every time it is a beautiful, small lesson, and I wonder how many more I still need to eventually “get it”. And fuck knows what that may turn out to be.
And so I’ve been sitting here in this one-horse town, spinning this yarn – actually, most of it is quite true, to my best recollection. But however much I’ve been trying to focus on the moment, I have to admit that there are times when I wonder a bit about where I’m heading. Not that I’m fed up here or that I’ve got the highway blues or anything like that, I’m just a little curious.
Looking at my past, I’ve become somewhat careful with making any predictions, and there’s really no way of telling what’s around the corner, in those waning days of the Kali Yuga. As my journey on the pathless path continues, I can’t help noticing that I am being coached, guided along by something that is much, much bigger than my small self, and my experience and insights are of an immense help to be able to cope with whatever situation comes along. That allows me to relax, with anything that might happen. As the saying goes and as we all know, “It ain’t over til the Fat Lady sings!” If worse comes to worst, if all else fails, I can still go and sit under a pine tree and meditate and have a good time … while freezing my ass off in the cold of the Harz Mountains winter. Unless … maybe I’ll end up underneath a palm tree – now, wouldn’t that be something! Let’s wait and see!
From Bodhena’s Adventures in Samsara (soon to be published in book form) – read all excerpts…
Bodhena took sannyas in the late seventies in Pune where he worked first as a handyman for the group department, then as a Krishna Guard. After living in Geetam for a few months, he was invited to the Ranch where he worked in construction, security, Magdalena Cafeteria, Chaitanya (accounts) and as a paralegal at Rajneesh Legal Services. In early Pune II he worked for the Rajneesh Times, and then again as a guard at Lao Tzu House. In recent years, he has been living in Clausthal, Germany, practising nowhere to go and nothing to do. bodhena (at) hotmail (dot) com