Summer festival: colourful drive-by


Subodhi’s photographs taken during the 1984 World Festival in Rajneeshpuram, Oregon.

Residents of Rajneeshpuram had the opportunity to see Osho at least once a day during the drive-by at 2pm. They lined the roads in various spots where Osho would pass on his daily drive. But during the summer festivals, when visitors had arrived in their thousands from all over the world, the lines took on kilometrical proportions, from one end to the other of our rural town, 3 to 4 people deep.

The waiting was also part of the experience. Waiting under the scorching heat, yawning away the jet lag from the long journey to the US, roses in hand to place on the bonnet of Osho’s car… then the sound of the approaching helicopter, the hustle and bustle of photographers, cameramen and guards in their purple uniforms, the moisture of the water truck to prevent us from being covered in dust, the shuffling to get close to the musicians where Osho would stop for longer. Then the appearance of the Bronco that announced the approaching Rolls Royce.

That’s the moment!

A quick glimpse of the Master, from the sky rose petals drifting onto our faces, pounding drums from the float, sax and guitars, more songs over the PA.

After Osho’s car has passed, the lingering feeling of the Master, hugs with friends, moments alone, spaced out. Maybe time for an ice-cream.

015 waiting-Subodhi
016 start of the line Subodhi
016 yellow-bus-Subodhi
020 waiting-in-line-Subodhi
033 panorama-subodhi
040 musicians
043 distributing-roses-Subodhi
043 waiting-with-roses-Subodhi
045 water-truck-Subodhi
046 security-and-photographers-Osho-car-Subodhi
049 Bronco-Osho-float-subodhi
060 placing-the-roses-Subodhi
070 photographers-and-car-Subodhi
090 float-with-musicians-Subodhi
092 helicopter-arriving-Subodhi
095 float-Subodhi-960
100 behind-the-float-Subodhi
700 after-drive-by-Subodhi
710 Ice-Cream-Parlor-Subodhi
900 Il-Cielo-poster-Subodhi

While preparing the tribute page for Subodhi (17.5.1949 – 20.11.2016) we came to know from Unmani, herself a passionate photographer, that she had exhibited a selection of 100 of Subodhi’s photos in her holistic studio ‘Il Cielo’ in Amsterdam. The exhibition’s opening was on 19th January 2010 to celebrate Osho Day and later a party was organised, on 27th February, to remember the victims of the bombing of the German Bakery in Pune that had occurred a fortnight earlier.

“I remember how excited Subodhi was when I asked her to make the exhibition; she wasn’t expecting that I would be interested in her photos. We looked at them together and made a beautiful selection, of the photos and of some of her paintings. At that time I had only heard of Rajneeshpuram from friends but her photos gave me the feeling of the ‘big dream’. The exhibition was a very nice documentation of those days. Being surrounded by those pictures while giving treatments was a blessing,” says Unmani.

One of the highlights of the exhibition was the panorama photo of the drive-by line-up, which Unmani again reconstructed – but this time digitally. “To look at that great panorama hanging on the wall at ‘Il Cielo’ gave me the impression as if I was again standing there, waiting for Osho to drive by and it reminded me of the energy of that moment. It was so exciting! Her photos show, still now, the quality of Subodhi as a watcher on the hill,” says Urja.

The photos were later shown also at Wajid Centre in The Hague during a 2-day Osho Meditation Festival around 19th January 2013.

As we were curious to see these photographs, we asked Urja if she could locate the photo albums (kept at Wajid Centre). And thanks to Frank’s painstaking work to scan the photos we are now able to show a sequence of Osho’s drive-by right in time of Subodhi’s birthday that falls on 17th May. The colours of the prints have suffered considerably over the years, but we hope that Photoshop has given them some of the vibrancy they had when they were first exhibited.

“I think that Subodhi would have been happy to be seen in her role as a photographer. She was a natural. She was self-taught, but had the aspiration to become a photographer one day. Her good eye for detail can definitely be seen in her shots,” concludes Urja.

Link to the tribute page: Subodhi

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