In a somewhat poetic and roundabout way, Kavi remembers seeing that book, on a Greyhound bus…
It has just passed a week to the minute since I returned to Portland, Maine by Greyhound bus from Tallahassee Florida. Yes sir! In this week I often felt the shock of being thrown into the misery of poor, mostly black America – have not easily been able to shake it. Am grateful for it, because it is like the skull that appears to be a bowl of water: to see the reality that descendants of former slaves treat each other like slaves to this day, that the greatest target for empty calorie food and poisoned tobacco products is the reality of poor miserable descendants of slaves, immigrants and drifters.
I had flown down to Florida to see a motor home that I thought I would buy, part of my year and a half long search to find a diesel job that would run on vegetable oil after mechanical conversion. I saw the rig and its Dixiefied formerly northern owner and realized that its uncleaned and mechanically vulnerable living quarters would have left me a slave! And so having spent good money to fly down one-way to the old southern town of Tallahassee outside of the fast corridor of American flying, I realized my most expedient return north was going to be on the Greyhound bus.
In the old days, in the 70’s when I was in my 20’s, I used to ride the bus quite a lot on $99 fares all the way from Maine to California, a three day journey which my young body could handle much easier than now – remembering the time where someone stole my $20 bill out of my jacket…. But I saw the whole country several times. You could get out for as long as you liked and get on the next bus that was coming through. In those days there was still the spirit of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger on the coach and I would talk late into the night to males and females who were going off to find their fortune or their dream somewhere.
Last weekend I found out that America has changed a lot. Passengers on the bus were herded around at stops and threatened by the drivers with all kinds of punishment. One very nice black lady who looked like a passenger of old and remnant of the civil rights movement shook her head with me when I asked her if this were still a free country.
But one powerful memory came back to me from this journey. In 1978 I remember distinctly sitting next to a young woman reading a book called The Mustard Seed, by some guy named Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. I remember her telling me that meditation would be good for me – hmmm, if she only knew. Somewhere it struck me that though I have seen the winds blow through millions of mustard seeds in the last 36 years, mine is still blooming – with deep, rootless roots.
… and the very unconventional bio: I took sannyas in 1984, although I spent four months in Poona in 1979 at age 20. By then there were no personal darshans with Osho, unless you were taking sannyas, so I never chit-chatted with Osho. In order to have some closeness with him, in 1985, when the Ranch was falling apart, I started wearing a full length rainbow-wigged clown suit that I had used as a birthday party clown at the Ground Round and once to canvas for window cleaning!… First I wore it at the burning of the book of Rajneeshism and then in the walkway one night before one of the world press interviews. On the way in and the way out Osho danced with me quite a bit. I was mortified and rigid but for a week after that I was totally in no-mind. There is your sannyas bio for Swami Atmo Kavishwara, the ‘innermost core of the lord of the poets’.
Kavi now lives in Maine.