Leeladhar explores Osho’s early days in Madhya Pradesh.
While Osho was still alive, there were more urgent things to do… but now, towards the inevitable “end of my stay”, I was inspired to find out more about the places where Osho had lived during his early years and Tarshita and I decided to set out for India once more.
Besides Glimpses of a Golden Childhood, the Autobiography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic had been published to bring some light and lots of wonderful personal stories about those forgotten places in the middle of Nowhere-India, in Madhya Pradesh. The only hurdle we had to overcome was to find a trustworthy taxi guide.
Through the loving help of the friends at AmritDham, the Osho Centre in Jabalpur, we were lucky to meet Sanjay, a local sannyasin who runs his own comfortable taxicab.
Staying a few days at the centre was very pleasant and gave us the opportunity to adjust to the Indian atmosphere and also visit Bhawal Thal Park, where Osho’s enlightenment happened.
We thoroughly enjoyed exploring a village at a nearby lake with its lively and always active Hindu population…
…and their distinctive houses painted traditionally in blue and white.
On the way to the famous marble rocks at Bedhagat we passed a hillside with a huge and wealthy Jain temple, the traditional religion to which Osho’s family adhered.
Having heard Osho speak in glowing terms about the marble rocks along the Narmada river, the boat ride was spectacular also for us.
One early morning we set out on a long journey into the interior of Madhya Pradesh – out of the noisy city into the unknown, along endless miles of dusty, bumpy roads… often feeling tremendously endangered by huge trucks seemingly driving straight towards our small vehicle! We were glad when we came to a halt at Gadarwara.
Osho’s family house in Gadarwara. His beloved grandmother on his mother’s side had moved back from Kuchwada to this place after her husband died. It was in this rather simple village, where Osho’s father and mother lived as cloth merchants together with Osho’s many younger siblings.
Sanjay managed for us to visit Osho’s family house. Of course we were eager to visit his personal study room, which strangely was looked up and a frantic search for the keys ensued.
While the search continued several family members gathered on the landing and enjoyed the scene together with us.
Finally trying out the keys for Osho’s former personal study room and yes! They fit and the door was opened for us to step in.
It was a bit of a non-event. Tarshita is standing in the now empty room which is quite small and simple with no personal belongings left.
Opposite Osho’s family house the colourful Hotel Rajneeshi is open for business.
One of Osho’s cousins still runs a cloth shop of his own, most likely not very different to the one from 50 years ago.
At the river that runs near Gadarwara is a small Osho centre that we visited.
Under Osho’s photo leans a now faded-into-blue photo of the old Gadarwara village temple. It was here where Osho spent seven days at age 14 waiting for death.
This plaque is exhbited at the old village temple.
And here the river before the village of Gadarwara with the inevitable beautiful cows resting. In the background a railway bridge is visible – the one Osho most likely used to jump from.
Today’s Gadarwara is a rather unfriendly and dirty place. But in Osho’s days it seemed to be the most wonderful and exciting paradise, where he went for hours swimming in the river and – with the support of his mischievous grandfather (on his father’s side) – committed all those childhood pranks in school and elsewhere that he so endearingly shared with us.
From Gadarwara we continued to Kuchwada, Sanchi and Bhopal where Osho had connections with a Maharaja family.
Former plastic surgeon Prem Leeladhar took sannyas in Pune in 1977 and was among the first in Rajneeshpuram; he worked with the dam crew and later, after acquiring all American medical licenses, at Pythagoras. Back in Switzerland he trained in psychoenergetics and family constellation, worked as a psychotherapist and is the author of ‘Liebe & Schmerz – ein Schlüssel zur Gefühlswelt’ (Love & Pain – a key to the world of emotions). He lives in Switzerland with his wife Prem Tarshita, enjoying his three grandchildren.
I’m Here Because the River is Here