Ageh Bharti recalls his observations of Osho in Jabalpur.
Osho started initiating friends into sannyas from September 26, 1970 onwards. However, I became his disciple the very first day I met him, which was on February 10, 1967. In those days, Osho used to call me Shiv.
It was in February 1970 when Osho returned from one of his tours. I received him at the railway station and the next evening went to meet him at his residence. My friend N.P. Shrivastava also accompanied me. As we reached, Osho inquired, “Shiv, do you know Kamta Sagar’s residence?”
“Yes,” I replied.
Kamta Sagar was a known artist in Jabalpur. He had designed cover pages of two of Osho’s books and some of the ‘Yukrand’ magazines. His wife, a poetess, had died five days ago and Osho wanted to go there, but meanwhile the telephone rang. Kranti [Osho’s cousin sister who looked after Osho at the time in Jabalpur, Ed.] attended the call. Some girl artist had arrived from Bombay and wanted to see Osho. She was told by Kranti to come the next morning at 8 am or in the afternoon at 2 pm because Osho was to leave for some friend’s house. The girl of course agreed, but perhaps she could not wait because as we were about to leave, she arrived. Osho sat down again. He spoke to her very lovingly and in an absolutely relaxed manner for ten minutes; I have never seen Osho speaking hurriedly or impatiently to any one in any situation. Though she had arrived untimely, Osho spoke affectionately.
The girl cued in, “Today, I had a narrow escape in the train as the adjoining coach’s axle had run hot. While the train was running, it started to emit smoke. The train was stopped. The coach was declared unusable and was detached from the train to avoid derailment. Osho chuckled, “It would have been more enjoyable if your coach’s axle had become hot.” We all laughed.
After ten minutes, we started for Kamta Sagar’s place. Osho drove the car, the girl sat beside Osho, and I sat with my friend on the rear seat. She stayed at ‘Sindhu Bhavan’ which happened to be on the way, and we dropped her there.
When we reached Kamta Sagar’s residence, he rushed out to welcome Osho with his younger brother and some other friends. Within 30 minutes, the whole atmosphere changed. It became so lively that had some new person arrived, he could not have imagined that the young wife of Kamta Sagar had died only five days before.
Sitting there, Osho narrated a story:
There was a painter in some western country. His wife also died young. His friends, relatives, neighbours gathered and when everything was ready and the coffin was to be taken to the graveyard, he requested his friends to go and bury her body.
He said, “She loved me so much and I miss her deeply. This is really a very emotional moment for me and I would like to paint it. So, you please go and bury her body and leave me alone for some time. She would love if I paint my emotions that are so deep and intense at this moment. It will never be that way again.”
Then Osho recollected another story about some widower whose wife had died but he had already reserved a ticket to the movies for the next day. So, as it had been planned he went to watch the movie the next day. Some friends asked him, “Your wife has died and you went to watch a movie the next day, couldn’t you have waited for a few days?”
The man replied, “Now whenever I go to watch a movie, it will always be after my wife’s death. So, what does it matter whether I go one day after her death or one year after her death?”
Osho divulged some more stories and jokes, which everyone enjoyed. Osho then suggested to Kamta Sagar to draw some paintings on ‘death’ to which he gladly agreed. Thus, leaving a pleasant and light atmosphere behind, Osho left walking in his typical gentle and graceful way as if he were walking on rose petals. He drove the car in a similar way – also very softly and smooth even on that uneven and rough road.
On the way home we sat in the rear and felt elated. Great luck – the Master drives and the devotees sit watching! These were ecstatic moments… After a while, I asked Osho, “Is there any sense in the rituals that are done after death? I am asking because if this occasion happens to me, I will neither do any rituals, nor would I like them to be done for me.”
Osho took a right turn and replied, “There is a great sense but it is purely psychological. When some near and dear one dies, suddenly everything stops, a big gap comes as if a wheel of a moving car suddenly stops. So, when we engage ourselves in rituals, the wheel of life that had stopped slowly starts moving again and in a few days life becomes normal. Otherwise when someone dies, there is such a void that it becomes hard to live and it is difficult to engage in some other work. Therefore, rituals were devised for the loved one who departed. But it does not do any good to the departed one. It is only to start the wheel of life that has momentarily stopped. So there is a great purpose in it but it is psychological. Other than that there is no purpose.”
We reached Osho’s residence, sat with him for some more time and then left. We lightly peddled home on our bicycles and sensed Osho was not only divine but so human too!
Ageh Bharti is one of our regular collaborators