An excerpt from Azima’s book ‘My Life with Osho’.
After about two hours, Pragito wanted to leave. It was late and she was tired, but I had no intention of leaving his body while it was burning. I returned to the room with Pragito, who went to bed. I put on Western clothes, including pants and a brown leather jacket to protect me from the cold of the night, having no intention to go to bed. I told Pragito I couldn’t sleep knowing that the body of the Master was burning. So I said goodbye to her and returned to the bank of the river.
It must have been about one o’clock in the morning and the number of people had diminished significantly. The musicians had gone away and with them went most of the disciples. It was very intimate now in the dark of night. You could hear the birds, the river, the wind and all of nature expressing its constant joy. The flames were no longer high, but the pyre was burning steadily and there were still big pieces of wood at the base of the fire. There were about a hundred of us and a few more were far away near the river, enjoying the magnificent experience of the silence of nature.
I crossed my legs and sat in meditation. Before me the fire glowed. In the ashes there remained, incredibly, the perfect imprint of his feet, outlined by the ashes. It was magical, a circle of disciples sitting in the darkness around the glowing remains of their Master, on the banks of a river under the starry Indian sky.
I observed the form of the feet of the Master, which remained intact, the fire continuing to go around it without destroying this castle of coals that magically remained. And so, observing, my mind became calm, the thoughts dwindled and everything inside started to become still and empty, but full of energy. Quiet, immobile, nothing inside moved, not the body nor the mind, nor my breathing, which slowed down more and more, finally almost stopping, the eyes looking inward, the body still, aware of birds cawing once in a while, total silence inside and a peace that I had never felt so deeply in all my life.
A peace that didn’t know about emotions, going beyond both the mind and feelings, a peace that doesn’t have warmth, nor passion, nor time. A peace that is beyond space and all possible verbal descriptions, and in this peace I lost myself completely, absolutely.
When I opened my eyes again, the morning had come and the life of the city had already begun. Around me, the number of people had diminished to about fifty, many of whom, including me, were still around the fire, and a few along the river. The heat of the day brought me back, because I hadn’t heard the noises and thought it was still night. But the strong Indian sun made itself felt on my leather jacket and the sweat made me return from a space in which my ego had completely disappeared – melted in the space of the Master, which had dissolved in the universe.
I remained there, stunned and dazzled by what had happened to my soul during this marvellous Indian night, this historical night that had taken away a Buddha who had turned the wheel of the dharma. In that peace and tranquillity of silent disciples I remained there until the body shook and came to life, returning to its old self, as I had always known it.
Before getting up, I spontaneously took some ashes of the Master. As if by magic, I found myself looking at a small plastic container. There I deposited a handful of ashes. I put it in my pocket, stood up, bowed down again before the Master, or what remained of him – the ‘flowers’ as the tiny fragments are called – which would be put in an urn and brought to the ashram next day.
I started to move, observing around me the scene that remained of the celebration the night before. Then slowly I walked toward the road and then toward the ashram. On the way, my body was strangely light and my mind so calm that the sounds of the traffic passed through me silently.
While walking, a strange sensation took form inside me, like an opening, or a mist that was disappearing. I started to see my future, not as an image but as sensations, and the most prominent was of a full and complete circle, the circle of my life, past and future, and in the future I no longer recognized my old self.
In the middle of the circle, roots had started to grow inside me, roots that would protect me for the years ahead, allowing me to face the world that, since childhood, I’d always felt to be foreign to me, with which I’d never felt identified, this society that doesn’t have space for much except for profit and gratuitous violence. A society that has never nourished the spiritual component and the wonder of life, but thinks only about violent survival.
I saw myself in the future, alone, walking in the world. I saw myself with other women, in other spaces. I saw myself as a successful doctor in a world of sick souls. These were more sensations than images, and in all these sensations the roots were growing and held me steadily on the ground. Indirectly, Osho had made these roots grow, the Master with his presence and his joy, showing the path of light in a world moving in the darkness of the mind.
These twelve years had given me an emotional stability and a life that wouldn’t have been possible without the Master. I had lived the joy of real freedom that resides inside our hearts and not in external objects. The light coming through him made many people run away, remaining blind to the strength of the energy of a living Buddha. Their minds found all kinds of reasons to justify their objections. But the ‘reasons’ that the mind can create to close itself off are simply petty in the presence of a being of that stature. For sure, Osho offered us the opportunity to live through many experiences that could be questioned and criticized. Those of us who stayed, stayed because our hearts were totally with him.
We can live with a Master only if the heart has been given to him totally, without regret or doubts, without any judgments whatsoever. Then the Master does nothing but guide us toward the door, opening it and making us see that which is real, this world that all the Masters have spoken about for millennia. It exists inside us. So the Master is nothing other than a vehicle, an empty space through which we can begin to see the vast universe of pure consciousness.
As I walked slowly that morning, along the streets that brought me to the ashram, the roots became steadily stronger. Inside, it felt like I had finished the apprenticeship and now I had to put it into practice, alone in the world. I felt that my time in the commune would end soon and I would leave India forever. India had given much more than I expected. But the journey I started in 1978, on my way to the Orient in rusty vehicles that brought me to India, was now over.
The journey had started as a young, left-wing intellectual who went to India in order to look for a little peace and clarity in his confused mind. It was a trip that had brought me farther than India itself. Of all the routes possible on this wonderful planet, this trip had taken me to the threshold of the luminous door of my inner silence, a door that isn’t found in any physical place on this planet, that doesn’t have corporeal dimensions or mechanisms, but that resides in the depth of the heart in every human being.
Photo credit Shunyam