Ojas writes about a reunion of Dutch sannyasins which took place in a pancake café in Soest near Amsterdam, on 10th October 2017.
40 years ago you needed a lot of courage to leave your comfort zone, take a new name, walk around dressed in orange clothes and leave for India. In those days there were no smartphones, no iPads, and hardly any phone calls. Goodbye family, friends and colleagues. And hello Osho, hello Poona, hello new friends. Lots of us, between 1977 and 1981, had their time of their lives, living in the Dutch Palace, the ashram or other places in Poona.
And afterwards? After Poona? After Rajneeshpuram? We left with all the memories and meditations. Lots of us stayed in contact with each other, many went their own ways.
How would it be to be together now? What would happen if we met again? During a small party with Baul, Laksha, Tonke and Ojas this question came up. And immediately the answer came: let’s go and try to find our old friends and invite them for a huge, tasteful and juicy reunion. But where? In a pancake restaurant, the De Smickel, where lots of us used to meet in the ‘70s.
In two weeks most of the addresses were gathered. We live in a network society; if you find a good friend, immediately you have a new cluster of addresses. And the enthusiasm was growing. More and more people wanted to join the gathering; there was a limit because of the size of the restaurant, but there was enough space for 60 sannyasins from Poona One. And that worked out perfectly.
On 10th October we all met at the De Smickel. Some had opted to wear our old colours, so soon a sea of orange and reds came into view on the parking lot in front of the restaurant. It was amazing to meet our friends of 40 years ago, some already on the train to Soest. Hugs, words of love, sweet nothings. Hello, how are you? Still in meditation? Do you remember…?
After a while we went inside the café and, inevitably, pancakes were ordered. Before they were served there was a lot of singing. It created the atmosphere of the good old times. We are flowers in your garden… The river is flowing… Let the way of the heart… Ecstasy, when I look into your eyes… And then: silence, witnessing what is happening, being in the heart, the real treasure given to us by Osho.
A few hours to eat, drink and meet. Alive and kicking. Even the waiters were surprised, “We thought you were old people, but look…”
Quick exchanges of addresses, lots of selfies, hardly enough time to take real good pictures. Time to say goodbye again. But on the parking lot, and back at home, we knew: we will keep each other always in our hearts.
What did happen in Poona One? Even after this reunion we still don’t know. We knew that 40 years ago we surprised our families. Now we surprised each other. Osho was right: life is – here now. That is the way of the heart.
A small note we received from Baul: The De Smickel is a 200-year-old pancake restaurant in Soest. Many of us met there for the first time and then left for Pune to remain there for many years. At the time, the restaurant belonged to Somen, who left the body some years ago. He would have loved to be with us… He is the one who had also organised the Dutch Palace, the mansion in Pune where many of us lived while working in the ashram. The restaurant is now run by his son Alex who is now 42 years old. He felt quite honoured that we chose his restaurant for our reunion.
Text by Ojas
Images credit to Baul and the net