A darshan diary is a pageant, a festival

Darshans Remembering Here&Now

Deva Ashoka wrote the introduction to the darshan diary ‘The Open Door’. He elaborates on the two Bhagwans he perceives, the one who speaks in discourse and the other, in darshan.


Am I the only one who sees that there are two Bhagwans? At least two, as different one from the other as Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Superman and Clark Kent. Doesn’t anybody else see that?

There is the Bhagwan who gives discourses and the Bhagwan who gives darshans. The Bhagwan who gives discourses is majestic, Olympian, an eagle in flight, a bard whose poetry never ceases to amaze me. In contrast, the Bhagwan who gives darshans is a kind of waddling duck, a nice old guy, a jolly super-daddy who pats you on the head and says “very good” and gives suggestions which, in the light of what he says in lecture, are nonsense. Someone once asked Bhagwan, “When you say ‘very good’, do you really mean very good or do you mean ‘bullshit’?! And Bhagwan smiled enigmatically at the questioner and said, “Very good!”

I am, and have always been, in rapturous love with Bhagwan’s words. I hear every lecture at least twice, as part of my work: the first time in discourse, the second time when I write my summary – and then I go over it once again, when I index and cross-reference its contents. Can there be anyone else who listens to Bhagwan as much as I do? And, I never get tired of it. Even when Bhagwan gives what I think of as his ‘yoga nidra’ lectures, the lectures in which he drones on and on and throws in every irrelevant spiritual and esoteric fact you can think of (so that he might as well be reading us the Ipswich telephone directory for all it matters) – even then I love it. But darshan? Darshan is something else.

I feel totally lost in darshan. I can’t make heads or tails of it. I haven’t a clue. I go, and suddenly I am again confronted by the stomach-sickening fact that I am not happy and that being happy is what it’s all about. I go to darshan and the yearning in me is never satisfied; if anything, it grows stronger. Then darshan ends, Bhagwan leaves, and immediately there are peals of delighted laughter, gurglings of joy, rapturous embraces, and I walk out frustrated, lost, angry, because everybody seems so blissed out and I’m not.

That’s how I feel about darshan. And then how does it happen that I, of all people, am asked to write the introduction to a darshan diary? Before I get to that, I want to sum up how I’ve felt about darshan up to this point.

Bhagwan one said, in discourse, “I enlighten you every morning in lecture and I unenlighten you every evening in darshan.”  Maybe he didn’t say quite that but that’s what it sounded like to me as I heard it via the filters of my own particular schizophrenia. And how can you reconcile the Bhagwan who, in the morning, tells us that there are no cures, that the only thing to do is be aware, with the Bhagwan who, in the evening, consoles people by saying things like, “Your headache or the pink spots before your eyes, or your depression or your tral-di-lah will be gone by Thursday, December the 29th.” Or commiserates and gives Miss Lonely-hearts type advice on how to get along with your spouse or ‘mate’. Or who says, for the umpteenth time, “What groups have you done? You would like to do a few groups?”, as though he were an Armenian rug peddler. (How many times have I heard him say, “Help my people there,” and “Will it be easy to pronounce?”)

A darshan diary is a curious form of literature. I don’t read them, I grope through them. I become a Peeping Tom, looking furtively for people I secretly love. Here they all are: tycoons and beggars, B-girls and mathematics professors, all baring their souls. I whirl the pages: oh, here’s whoozit’s, what did he say to Bhagwan? What was what’s-his-name’s name before he took sannyas? What did Bhagwan say to you-know-hoo, that French girl who works in Mariam Canteen and who’s got something about her that…? (I wish Maneesha would include an index of names so you could see at a glance who was in the book and who wasn’t – but maybe she figures that would de-mystify it all.) And the photographs. I like photographs of the kids most of all, you can see how fast they change. I love all these people. And it’s amazing how every one of them, even the people I can’t stand, become beautiful and worthwhile when sitting before Bhagwan.

A darshan diary is a pageant, a festival. I am lucky to have seen the form of the darshan evolve over the years. I had my first darshan in Bombay; we sat together, just him and me in his room all alone without anybody else there, not even Laxmi; and he stroked my hand for what seemed about half an hour and asked me a few totally pointless questions. At Mount Abu, I recall, when I took leave of him, there was one other person in the room, a man – I can’t now remember who. Then, in the early days in Poona, there were maybe a dozen persons present, and it felt really strange to have to talk in front of so many people. Now here is the time when ashramites (mostly) bring him their emotional problems – the time this book is about; and so many people coming, and taking sannyas – a time when the groups are as large as sixty people.

I enjoyed this book. I read it slowly, unlike the way I usually read books. I read it without trying to learn anything, and so I probably learned a lot. It seems that when you drop trying to learn (I seem to be on the verge of it) you can dig the scenes stages in this book and relate to Bhagwan as the convivial host of a courtly carnival. There is the scene where Meera, the Japanese translator, tells Bhagwan that the swami who has just taken sannyas is planning to stay for another five days, then announces, after a quick huddle in Japanese, that he is planning to stay forever! Then, after further hurried consultations, she says he is leaving in five days – but that his heart will stay forever! Then there is Ekkehard, a German to whom Bhagwan decides to give the same name. But how to spell it? No one in the vicinity is sure, so Bhagwan has Ekkehard open his eyes and spell his name. “Double k?” exclaims Bhagwan, “That is certainly wrong. There are two or three spellings, but that one I never heard. I will make up my own!” It is at times like a Marx Brothers movie – can you imagine any other master initiating a new disciple by telling him a shaggy dog story like, “Do you put your beard under the blanket at night or on top if it?”

In this book we meet the Bhagwan who hits hard, the Bhagwan who plays and the Bhagwan who cajoles and seduces. Here is the Bhagwan of the put-ons, the Bhagwan who grunts a penetrating, “Eh?” or “Mmmm mmhh?” when the disciple is mumbling. Or the Bhagwan who waves a magnanimous hand and says, “Then all is good” when he wants to get rid of his interlocuter. Can you imagine wheedling someone into sannyas? Bhagwan does it again and again. He is tender, he is understanding, he is supportive, and by a mere touch he soothes people who have been thrashing about in inner agitation for months or lives.

At one point he says about a girl named Terry, “She has to become a sannyasins; groups will help her.”

Her friend, Narayan, asks: “Why does she have to become a sannyasin?”

“Everybody has to become,” Bhagwan replies innocently. “Everybody!”

Here is little Siddhartha demanding to know when we are moving to Gujarat, and Bhagwan replying, “Soon!”

People being transformed, that’s what darshan is. When you expect something you don’t get transformed, and when you don’t expect anything, you do. Reading this book, I became aware that I could either read it carefully, lovingly, or hastily and greedily. When I read hastily I am merely an eavesdropper; when I read caringly, I am at darshan myself, seated before Bhagwan. Then his words don’t simply get stored in a kind of foraging centre in my head, they enter my heart. Giving up, seeing that all my insights get me nowhere, seeing how closed, stuck and helpless I am, something opens. Reading this book, I realise there is nothing I can do to change myself. This was confirmed by Bhagwan in a darshan he gave on the 27th of December: “When you see who you are, in that very seeing change happens. Not that you try to become open; seeing the fact that you are closed, you open. You don’t create an ideal of openness against a state of closedness. Seeing the state of closedness, you suddenly open; it is not something that you have to do.”

Oh Bhagwan! Your words are always so crystal-clear, but when I try to live them I am stuck in six feet of mud. I try and try and I fail and fail or think I do, until there is nothing left but something inside me that says ‘Bhagwan, Bhagwan’. Is that what it’s about? Just giving up – is that what surrender is? It’s clear that I don’t know and that I shall probably never know.

A glimpse into this darshan diary is a glimpse into his world, a world of immense, unbelievable courage, and a truth so deep that it almost makes the ocean blush. For seven years now, even when I denied him, Bhagwan has lighted my way. Where would I be, where would we all be, if it weren’t for Bhagwan’s world and Bhagwan’s light? If you already know that world and that light, this book can bring you closer; if you don’t know it, perhaps it can light your way to the open door.

Introduction to The Open Door (1.12. – 31.12.1977)

A selection of transcriptions from darshans can be found on Osho News.

Deva AshokaDeva Ashoka (aka William Ross) was a psychotherapist for 20 years. Born in Vienna, Austria, his family left for the USA at the beginning of WW2. He was a filmmaker in New York, a marketing consultant in Italy, and later moved to London where he studied with R. D. Laing, Gerda Boyesen and Caron Kent. He started the Kaleidoscope personal growth center, led bio-energy and awareness groups all over Europe. He was with Osho in Mt. Abu and in early Pune days, and in 1978 came to live permanently at the ashram. In 1984 he moved from Rajneeshpuram to Seattle where he lived with Judy Ford until his death in 1993. He wrote several books, among them Words from the Masters: A Guide To The God Within, and The Wonderful Little Sex Book

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