Punya remembers the impact of Osho and his communes in the press.
After my father died I found in his drawers all the letters I had written to him plus carbon copies of the letters he had written to me: to Geneva, to India, to Zurich, to America and back to India again. The following is a translation of a passage from one of my letters to him from that time:
“The German Press has gone totally berserk about the ashram. A German actress gave an awful interview to the press. The newspapers take everything she says as the absolute truth; they are so eager to write a scandalous article about us. I was told that even the Tages-Anzeiger from Zurich has published a negative article. These stories don’t disturb us here in India, because we know what is really happening.”
But I could well imagine that our parents back home would not be pleased if a neighbour asked, “Is your daughter with that sect all the newspapers are talking about?”
Already it was difficult for our parents to come to terms with the fact that we had left our promising careers or posts at universities (about 50% of sannyasins have at least a BA), had gone abroad, and were engaging in something called ‘meditation’. Now this German actress, Eva Renzi, who had been at the ashram for barely a week and participated in a therapy group she was not ready for, was creating this big hoo-ha which was making things worse.
In my letters to my father I tried to address his rational mind, explaining that Pune was an experiment in expanding consciousness with the help of a man who had understood our soul, psyche, heart and mind. The ashram I compared to a lab which, instead of being in a white sterile hall, was in a big garden with jungle-like vegetation, and where people were not wearing white coats but long orange robes. I have no idea if he understood what I meant because we never spoke openly about me as a sannyasin or about Osho.
I also found a clipping of a Swiss tabloid – Blick – which came out with a series of articles about the ashram which they called ‘the sex-monastery’. In one of the articles there was a cute picture of my Swiss friends Namra, Tushita and me leaning against a table in Vrindavan’s garden. I still had my hair pulled back in a bun and was wearing my kitchen apron. The headline was ‘I gave up everything for the guru’ and Namra was described as a former Swiss lawyer who had given up her husband and career. It is true that she gave up her job as a lawyer, but how could a lawyer’s career compare with what we were living here? She had given up peanuts for gold!
In a separate box there was a quote entitled ‘Bhagwan on Sex’. It sounded awful because it was taken out of context. They used just the last paragraph of this quote:
The body has a desire for sex because the body has come out of sex. The body has a desire for sex because every cell of the body is sexual. Your mother and your father, in a deep sexual activity, have created your body. The first cells of your body came out of deep sexual passion; they carry the quality of it. And those cells have been multiplying themselves; that’s how your whole body is created.
Your whole body is sex passion. The desire arises. It is natural for the body, nothing is wrong in it. The body is sexual energy and nothing else.
Osho, Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 3, Ch 2
Punya, excerpt from her book ‘On the Edge’
Read Madhuri’s review: On the Edge by Punya
The Written Word is almost Hypnotic
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