A Summer Day at the Ranch

Remembering Here&Now

Marc remembers a day in Rajneeshpuram…

At 7am in the morning, August 1984, after washing and dressing, I am waiting at the bus stop with some other sannyasins. It is a clean and fresh morning in Oregon. The Ranch stretches out for miles in a wide and rural landscape with small mountains and some pinewood vegetation. The ”Muddy Ranch” used to be a film location for western movies such as Rawhide, before Sheela purchased the 26 hectare property in 1981.

Driving through the valley for breakfast, the sun slips in. After a sight-seeing drive we arrive at Magdalena, a huge open canteen with wooden picnic tables. Sannyasins from all over the world chatting and eating and having fun over their cereals with milk or yoghurt from cows of the biological dairy farm, wholemeal bread, orange-coloured cheese, tomatoes and tofu slices, and all kinds of fruits. The XL toaster produces piles of toast in line, delicious to eat with butter and marmalade. The smell of wood chips on the floor mixing with the sounds of a thousand sannyasins enjoying breakfast together.

Worshipping in the kitchen means preparing vegetarian meals, handling piles of carrots, onions and other vegetables from our biological farm, some minutes by bus or taxi out of the centre of town. Huge 50 litre pots for food on the gas fires, the smell of food, sounds of pots and pans banging, and laughter.

Line up for “Drive-by” in the middle of the day, hot and dry air, standing in the sun, waiting for Osho driving one of the decorated Rolls-Royce cars, escorted by peace force sannyasins with guns. Please get in line, make one step forward. Sometimes a traffic jam of thoughts; what is happening here?

In the shopping area, in the bookshop, shelves and tables full of Osho books. In the gift shop Osho watches, ties, openers and cups, lighters and T-shirts. The fashion is red and pinkish red at the moment. A queue for the ice cream parlour – my favourite is chocolate chip ice-cream.

Roads and houses under construction, heavy-equipment-machinery, sand and rock lorries. Electricity, food and water supply, an airport with airplanes. I am proud of what has been realized in 3 years of worshipping on the “Muddy Ranch”, with the support from individuals and communities around the world. A fire department, malls, a disco, a hotel and several restaurants, a public transport system, a sewage reclamation plant, a huge water reservoir. Sometimes it looks like a dream come true, a living Utopia. Later it also proved to be like a device Gurdjieff gave his disciples: “Be aware, dig a hole and close it.” Just larger, like Osho.

Zarathustra Central Station, a bus traffic jam; bus stop for 7 directions. A swami comes running after the bus. The driver stops and opens the door. The swami, out of breath comes in and gasps, “Thanks, for I am in a hurry for my relaxation course.”

All kinds of red coloured swim suits, bags and towels in the yellow school bus to Krishnamurti Lake. Our home-made water dam for swimming, diving and hanging out. A sign warns not to use too much after sun lotion and to take a shower before swimming, protecting the water quality. Watching Buddha bodies, Buddha bellies and rednecks.

Line-up for Darshan, in front of Buddha Hall, a XL construction, painted white, almost 100 meters long, 50 meters wide, a greenhouse, a real “hothouse”. Sitting in Buddha Hall together with up to 5000 sannyasins, a sea of red, Osho sitting in silence, the music band playing. Space out, space in.

Coming home at nightfall by bus, couples and singles. Silence falls over the Ranch, spare lights of houses and buildings around the valley. Late at night, sitting on the porch outside my A-frame I hear some crickets; for the rest a vast silence, the smell of the Oregonian pinewood trees and darkness, illuminated by the stars.

Marc

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