Suha participates in the celebrations in Italy last year.
When I’m in Italy it happens that I observe things with eyes full of wonder, with the eyes of a person who lives mostly abroad. And what hits me the most is that I am surrounded by people who speak my mother tongue! This is one of the reasons I have often looked for a slot in my travel itineraries to celebrate along one of Oshoba’s many events!
It finally happened last year. I was still in Italy in July, just in time for Meditando, which time-wise fell right into the big meeting of Guru Purnima, the Full Moon Festival. I know the scent of this festival in India where it is considered a tradition for all disciples to go pay homage to the master in his home. To get such an opportunity in Italy was so precious for me that it was unthinkable to attend without my sister, Jivanmukta; and then a dear friend, Carmen from Rome, joined us.
To be in such situations with people you care about makes a great little difference. To interact in the same meditative atmosphere makes you feel that you are even more on the same wavelength, in the same process of transformation. For all us three to share a room together was a ‘luxury’ of lots of belly laughs.
I have never been to Salsomaggiore: a surprise of lush greenery, of holiday town, of spas out of season, pretty much the best! The impression was that we had given it a soul, at least for a few days. The hotel – and what a hotel – with its halls, rooms and meals, and what meals they were! Comfort, luxury, abundance everywhere. Just the way Osho likes it. And then the heart of it all, the Palazzo Congressi, a huge hall decorated with frescoes, as you would expect, with a long row of chairs caressing the walls.
“This is exactly where I wanted to be, at Osho’s home for Guru Purnima.”
Long-time friends found again; Gila, Akarmo, Dhana, Sahaja, Sakshin, who all – with passion, sensitivity and devotion – have made it possible to give Osho a roof where his disciples and lovers can come and celebrate, meditate and enjoy themselves in lightness of heart for full three days. A precious gift, irreplaceable, unforgettable. And for Jivanmukta it was a great surprise to find old friends she had not seen for years to immerse themselves again in an existential bath of shared energy.
Before the start of the program, I say to Shunyo that I do not hear despite my hearing aids but that probably it does not matter. “No, no, Suha,” she says, “it’s important to hear well.” A sign of agreement with Akarmo, “Why don’t you sit below a speaker?” Brilliant idea, but then I am seen by everybody, I think to myself. I soon realize that everyone’s attention is somewhere else, within themselves, in the process, in the words translated by Ansula, inside Shunyo’s velvety and patient voice that ‘knows’, inside Marco’s music, in the ubiquitous silence.
I am struck by the slow pace that the translation brings to the assimilation of concepts. One sentence by Shunyo in English, then the same sentence faithfully translated by Ansula. Another sentence from Shunyo and so on. This gives a particular taste to the rhythm of the moment; there’s plenty of time to understand and within me I appreciate what Shunyo is doing; it takes great experience and meditation to formulate concepts and to remember the sentence which has just passed… Maybe that’s why her sentences are so short! I settle more comfortably on the cushion, relaxed. Even if I’m missing something of English, lost in thoughts, I can always refer back to translations… oh, my dear mind…
And I begin to believe that the translation is not only a necessity but also a great device. Shunyo, please never ever learn Italian, or if you learn it never use it on such occasions!
We are many, more than one hundred and twenty, with so many heads, so many separate worlds, so many different life styles, of all ages, from all walks of life, yet with one heart that vibrates, whose strings are touched with grace – and in different tunes for everyone – by our great master. Is there anyone who does not yet know its magic? But a question comes to mind; all so different, all so unique, where do we leave our differences, our concerns, our hearts to live and vibrate in unison?
I realize that for me the decision to participate, to prepare for the trip, the train journey has the same purifying effect as the bridge that stretches over the two pools of water that Osho wanted us to have in Pune – to remind us to leave the mind before entering his home. And then the shoes left at the entrance, in order, in disorder, scattered, mismatched, crossed, straight, crooked – it does not matter this time – but left at the entrance. And the mind there with the shoes.
The program starts. It becomes easy to meditate together. I slip into my inner sky where the limiting border of the body is no more: I think I’m more present, but no, it is the whole environment that supports my slipping in. And the great conductor, the master of every movement, the energy, is vibrating in each one of us, moving every living being.
After the sitting meditations come the dances, opportunities to interact with others even if we do not know them, discovering in their faces an invitation to open our hearts. And also here is the energy that guides my steps, makes me come close to others, to faces different than mine and other faces of me.
It touches my heart to see the joy of Akarmo and Gila when they too can sometimes join the dance, their freshness and enthusiasm. (Oh no, Sahaja and Dhana cannot come; they must keep their positions outside and Sakshin arrives only tomorrow!) And when Shunyo comes down from the stage to join us there is a different swirl in the air: I dance with Shunyo, wow, wings spread wide. With her we can dance only like that: with wings spread wide. Marco remains on the stage, he is the music that guides us and who knows well in what space to lead us with his compositions!
And then a funny incident happens. During the Stop Dance I’m far away from the speaker. I hear the music and then the “stop” and then nothing – and, as Jivanmukta tells me, I find myself still like a statue in the “stop” position in deep meditation in the midst of the immense hall. Meditation finished a while ago. Only for a puzzled moment Shunyo enjoys the view (“You were so sweet,” she says later), then nods to someone and I feel a gentle tap on the shoulder. I open my eyes and see that everybody had formed a large circle around me. Only Yatri, who never lets me get away with anything, says to me, “There – you managed, Suha, to get attention.” “Oh, yes,” I reply happily.
Hunger brings us back into the body and in small groups, arm in arm or holding each other’s hands, chatting we all move to the hotel where the halls open wide: large round tables seating 8 where it is again the energy that makes you choose to sit here rather than there, with these people rather than those, at least for this meal, much to the disappointment of the waiters who no longer know where to put the already used cloth napkins! It is around these tables and these succulent banquets that new friendships weave, old friendships are strengthened, little secrets of the heart are whispered in the ears. Look there, a face I knew only from Facebook, Deben, is hugged and he turns out to be a loving table companion.
Today is Saturday, 12th July; there is a different buzz in the air. The program resumes, rising in crescendo, the music, the dances, the games, the meditations… We see a beautiful video of Osho, with correctly translated subtitles, a perfect image and a screen that could not be better.
After dinner we expect to see the full moon high in the sky; we look carefully but the clouds are hiding it from us. And suddenly I remember that in India the full moon of July is almost always behind dense monsoon clouds and it makes me smile because we are perfectly in sync. It’s time for a beautiful guided meditation with Marco’s music to commemorate the recorded ‘Indian’ event, and hear incessant downpour of rain with thunder and lightning.
But here we are all caught by a beautiful surprise… what’s going on? Are these really thunders and bursts of rain that come from the sky above Salsomaggiore? They are so strong that I do not doubt for a moment that I have heard them. Maybe, I think, has by chance Dhana, who always thinks of everything, made sure that, at the right time, the storm arrives from India? Really strange though, because when we come out the roads are wet, yes, but not even a drop of water around. And inside I smile…
And last but not least, the initiation ceremony into sannyas on Sunday, 13th July. Marco alone on the stage, with electrifying guitar music. We all stand in a semicircle behind the new sannyasins sitting on cushions, witnesses of an event that continues to transform our lives and that, in turn, will transform them too. They are so beautiful, so surrendered, so luminous. The energy that we send and what we receive from them is so intense that you can touch it with your hand, like a shower of flowers that falls from somewhere we don’t know where from.
In the great hall I sense a fragrance – oh, how could you not recognize it – the opening of a heart has the fragrance of a flower, ‘this’ is the scent of Osho. I do not know the names of people who have taken sannyas, the names of those with whom I have danced, the ones I have hugged, but I remember the smile on their faces, the silence in their gestures and the space that lives in their hearts.
And that’s just the context in which things that really matter, those invisible, those silent ones can happen to everyone. And I say to Jivanmukta, “Aren’t we so lucky?”
Suha is a regular contributor
More articles and poems by this author in Osho News