Osho’s last public talk

Remembering Here&Now

Ageh Bharti recalls the events during a talk Osho gave before Neo-Sannyas was born.

Osho’s last public talk in India can be said to be the one in Ludhiana (Punjab) on August 23, 1970, although he spoke two more times after that – at Shanmukhanand Hall in Mumbai and then in Pune in January 1971. He rejected requests from friends for giving talks in Amritsar and Chandigarh even though the schedules had already been accepted previously.

Osho had been to Ludhiana thrice and I was fortunate to be with him all three times. His first visit had been hosted by Mr Gill (Inspector General of the Police), while the other two occasions were hosted by Mr Kapil Mohan Chandhok.

I am speaking of the third time which was scheduled from August 20 to 23, 1970. Osho was to come from Mumbai, reaching Ludhiana on August 20. Kapil-ji besought me repeatedly to reach Ludhiana one week earlier because he intimated that there might be some disturbances happening during the lectures. Hence I reached Ludhiana on August 18, two days earlier, coming from Jabalpur. Kapil-ji and Mr Gill told me that recently some disorder had been instigated in Amritsar by some Hindu-chauvinists who were now preparing to oppose Osho with black flags and shouting slogans urging him to go back. Security was beefed up for Osho with the help of Mr Gill, and an appreciable number of emergency lights were arranged. Also, a large number of police would be placed at strategic positions.

Ludhiana Junction
Kusum in darshan with Osho (Chuang Tzu Pune)
State of Punjab

At last, Osho arrived at 5 am on August 20. A good number of friends were already present at the railway station to welcome him with flower garlands and bouquets.

Then the morning meditation, evening discourse, afternoon personal meetings with question-and-answer, lectures at two Degree Colleges and the Punjab Agriculture University, all happened in a beautiful manner. We were very satisfied that in spite of speculations, there was no disturbance and everything went on well.

For the last talk in the evening of August 23, the open air Daresi Ground was packed to capacity. Osho answered a volley of questions from the public pertaining to previous lectures. He spoke for a little more than 45 minutes when suddenly some people jumped to their feet. Osho stopped speaking and said in a very unassuming tone, ”Listen to the complete talk, listen to the complete talk.”

  Naye Samaaj Ki Khoj #10 (end)

However, the noises went on unheeded. Then Osho suggested, ”Whatever you have to say, write it on a piece of paper and give it to me, I will talk on it.”

The noises stopped for a bit and Osho continued to address the audience. But suddenly people started shouting again and advanced towards the stage, and several opponents jumped on the stage from the backside. One of them yelled, ”I want to ask the audience if they want to hear Osho or not because he is speaking against the Hindu religion.” He was allowed to come to the mike yet the moment he said, ”Brothers and sisters,” the entire congregation stood up and roared, ”You go away, you go away, we want to listen to Osho!”

That man faced a very shameful situation because the clapping by the public and their vigorous uproar barred him from uttering a single word. However, his foolishness gathered more strength and he wanted to advance towards Osho. Immediately, Kusum Chandhok (wife of Kapil-ji) stretched out both her hands behind Osho to protect him against any danger.

At this moment, Laxmi, who had accompanied Osho from Mumbai, stood stunned below the stage while I stood behind the audience at the magazine kiosk in a helpless and shocked state as it was not possible for me to reach Osho; I couldn’t tear through such a large and thick crowd.

But that man’s condition was worth seeing. He was boiling with anger. Osho kept smiling. Out of his group some attempted to climb on the stage, some cut the strings of the tent from the backside. Meanwhile someone cut a cable and that failed the mike.

The entire congregation – male and female alike – went on high alert and yelled against the troublemakers, ”Hit these fools and throw them out of the meeting!” But there was no limit to their idiocy and shamefulness. Had they not been deliberate disturbers and scoundrels, they would have realised that the 50,000 people gathered there only wanted to listen to Osho. So they should not have even tried to ask if people wanted to listen to Osho or not!

One of the agitators who led the brigade of fanatics made his way through the Ladies’ Section from behind to advance towards the stage. Some of Osho’s friends sought after him with folded hands to abandon his aggressive activities. The police was rather persuasive instead of acting hard and strict but that person was very angry and behaved like a madman. The anger had blinded him so much that he could not even see what the public wanted or he did not want to see it. He only wanted to advance, caring the least for the big congregation. Lastly, people used their combined energy to push him back and as they continued pushing him, they eventually managed to push him off the ground. In spite of Osho’s supporters shouting “No! No!”, the public proceeded to beat him up too.

By then, the gathering had become restless. People had stood up. Some shouted to pound them out by roaring, “Long live Osho!” One old woman ran and climbed up on the podium and filled the atmosphere shouting, “Long live Osho!… Long live Osho!” Simultaneously the train’s departure time drew nearer; Osho had to leave for Delhi with the 11 pm train and I too was to accompany him. Kapil-ji remembered and sought after Osho to leave in order to reach the train station on time. Osho agreed, got down from the aisle and walked out.

The scene was incredible to observe. People brimming with so much love and devotion thronged to meet Osho for the last time. Osho could hardly move due to the crowd of supporters and friends around him. Simultaneously, the whole congregation kept moving as one, chanting “Long live Osho!” Someone would touch his feet, thus making him stop, others hugged him, thus again making him stop.

I left the grounds 20-25 minutes after Osho. On the way, I found on every road, after every 200-300 meters, people cordoned off and standing in groups talking only about Osho and his fiery lecture. When my car passed, they shouted, “Long live Osho!” They certainly had recognized the car. It was a thrilling event!

Before he had left for the railway station, Osho told us that in future wherever he would speak, some friends should reach the location two to three days prior to his arrival and in the morning they should walk on the roads chanting kirtan. By doing this, the atmosphere of the city would be pure enough and this kind of disturbance would not recur.

When we reached the railway station, to our great surprise, we found some 30 opponents had already arrived to oppose Osho with black flags shouting derogatory slogans such as “Down with Osho!” Osho alighted from the car, walked with folded hands towards the platform and smilingly greeted the opponents who thronged on either side. Had there been any political leader or other so-called important person facing such an angry crowd he would have waited for the police to come for protection. Osho however, passed smilingly through the throng as if they were friends. In spite of them shouting “Down with Osho!” with their hands raised, Osho continued greeting them graciously.

As the crowd was standing on either sides of the platform leaving only enough space for one person to move through, we could not walk on both sides of Osho but could only follow behind. To my utter surprise, one opponent who had shouted slogans just as all the others folded his hands with reverence when Osho passed him!

When Osho had finally boarded the train and stood at the door, there was a great crowd of friends close to him. The ones who wanted to garland him, had to manage to get through the big crowd and each time when a garland was placed over Osho’s head there was a massive applause among them, expressing enormous love and joy. The opponents continued renting the air with retaliatory slogans while Osho’s supporters remained mum. But after a few minutes, they began to shout “Long live Osho!”

By now it had started to rain and those close to Osho enjoyed the rain on the open platform and kept on shouting “Long live Osho!” while the opponents stood farther away under a shade and cried “Down with Osho!”

Osho smiled, picking flowers from the garlands and showered them affectionately on the opponents. Slowly they stopped shouting while “Long live Osho!” continued and the train chugged out. Osho waved to bid farewell and showered his love and blessings.

Later I browsed through some Punjabi newspapers and read that orthodox Hindus of Ludhiana and Amritsar had appealed to the State Government to ban Osho from entering Punjab and wanted Osho to go to Ludhiana and apologise for his statements. But the state government disregarded this appeal and neither banned Osho nor did it ask him to go to Ludhiana to apologise.

However, Osho decided to cancel his scheduled appearances for Amritsar and Chandigarh. Friends from Punjab requested for him to come but Osho disagreed. So, this appearance had become his last public talk in India. Of course he then later conducted meditation camps, mainly at Mount Abu (Rajasthan).

After the disturbance at the Ludhiana meeting, I strongly felt that there should be a group of friends that could face such aggressive situations more capably. Osho said during that last meeting, “Bad people are united, good people are not united. As long as good people don’t unite, the existence of good people is impossible in this world.” Osho continued, “Good people make room for bad people, saying that they are good people. And they take refuge in the forests, leaving the world to politicians and scoundrels.”

What was in his mind I could not fathom, but apparently the idea of giving sannyas came to Osho in Ludhiana after the disturbance at the railway station. I think so because Harish (later Swami Chaitanya Bharti) told me in Delhi when we were back from Ludhiana, that Osho asked him, “You get a pair of saffron coloured kurta and lungi stitched and bring them to Aajol Mediation camp.”

This camp was held from August 28-30, 1970 at Aajol, near Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Harish and I participated, with Harish attending in saffron clothes.

Osho started to initiate friends into sannyas at the Manali Meditation Camp on September 26, 1970. Later on, two kirtan mandalis were sent around the country with people dancing and chanting kirtan on the streets, giving talks, playing Osho’s discourses on audio cassettes and introducing Osho’s Dynamic meditation. In those days the duration of Dynamic was 40 minutes and had four stages of 10 minutes each. Later the duration was extended to 60 minutes and one more stage added, i.e. three stages of 10 minutes each, and the last two of 15 minutes each.

For those wanting to hear the deafening uproar of the public in Osho lecture on August 23, 1970 at Ludhiana, you can listen to this audio excerpt of Naye Samaaj Ki Khoj #10, which starts at around 49 minutes into the talk when one can hear the public clapping. Then Osho speaks and suddenly his voice is drowned out by the commotion.

Ageh Bharti

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