Kul Bhushan recalls the time when a cast of Osho’s feet was made, from which twelve metal sculptures were created which were given by Osho to several disciples.
Throughout history it has been a tradition for disciples and devotees to sit at a Master’s feet. Such moments can be transformative and bring about a much more profound and deep experience than learning through books or teachings.
The term lotus feet, which has been used for thousands of years is a metaphor for the divine feet of the gods, saints and other exalted spiritual beings; the lotus is a glorious symbol for spiritual development. Casts that have been made of the feet of sublime beings are called Charan Kamal. They are made of five metals, are considered auspicious and said to retain energy for long periods of time.
By sitting at the feet of the Master, no words are needed. The mind stops. A silent communion is possible; surrender happens.
It is not widely known in the sannyas community that a cast of Osho’s feet had been made while he was staying in Mumbai and that a dozen sets were created.
The story goes that just before Osho moved from Mumbai to Pune, Ma Yoga Taru, his nightingale, invited him for lunch at her home. After lunch, she pleaded in tears that he allow her to smear the soles of his feet with kumkum (red turmeric powder widely used by Hindus for putting a mark on one’s forehead) and step on a pure white piece of cloth so she could preserve his presence forever. He agreed.
Later, a devotee pleaded for a more permanent representation of his lotus feet. This reminded Osho of a chance meeting with the late Bramvesh Wagh, a very famous sculptor, who once was a co-passenger on a flight with him. Casually, Osho had asked him how a metal sculpture can endure for hundreds of years. Wagh had answered that a compound of five metals or panch (five) dhatu (metals) was required as noted in ancient Hindu scriptures. Hence Wagh was invited to make a cast of his feet – that took almost four hours – and he later produced a set made in metal.
The first copper-coloured set is still with Manju in her apartment in Pune today. Later, when I was initiated into sannyas in 1974, and Osho gave the name Prem Need for his meditation centre in Nairobi, Manju requested that a set may also be approved for this centre as the first centre in Nairobi, Anand Need, had a set previously given to Manju. This time the set was golden and this colour was used for all other sets.
Osho indicated to Ma Laxmi to give me a letter for Wagh to cast a set. I went to Wagh’s studio in Mumbai (which has been in operation over 100 years, spanning three generations) and paid a princely sum of three thousand Rupees for the set which would be ready in two weeks. After collecting it, I went back to Pune and gave it to Laxmi who put it in Osho’s bedroom for three nights so that the set could be charged with his energy.
During a darshan, the set was bequeathed to me and I telegrammed Nairobi that the Charan Kamal were coming. About 50 sannyasins turned up at the airport to welcome Osho’s lotus feet and once they arrived at the new home of Prem Need, a joyous celebration of singing and dancing continued for hours.
Then several other Nairobi sannyasis requested a set of Charan Kamal and that’s how half a dozen of them landed in Nairobi, each one greeted with a grand celebration. Later, we heard that this practice was stopped. Since the mid-seventies, many Nairobi sannyasins migrated from Nairobi to Britain and Canada and the lotus feet travelled with them as well.
Manju requested another set for her children who were all sannyasins at that time and so did I, as my family of sannyasins was living in Delhi, and that’s how we got two sets each.
Once I was showing an Osho movie I had shot on a terrace in New Delhi to my family. The next day, a neighbour, Nirmal Khanna, came over and asked who the man was shown in this film. That’s how she was introduced to Osho; she went on to Pune where she was initiated into sannyas and requested a set of Charan Kamal. Her husband and daughter also became sannyasins. On returning to India in 2000, I went to meet her and found her set in a cupboard as she had moved on to follow another guru. I suggested that this set could be more appropriately placed at Oshodham and she agreed to donate it.
Swami Om Prakash Saraswati and Swami Atul Anand were delighted and we took this set to Oshodham where hundreds of sannyasis welcomed the Charan Kamal with flower petals and a great celebration.
Do Osho’s Charan Kamal exude his energy? This question has been often asked. Certainly, YES. If you are open and meditative, you can feel it clearly. I have observed this when a few sannyasis enter our Osho room and feel energized by them. He lives.
The location and holders of the sets – names in alphabetical order:
# Ma Prem Siddhi aka Mangu, ex-Nairobi, now Toronto) – 1 set
# Ma Prem Aruna (aka Aruna Gheewala, ex-Nairobi, now London – 1 set
# Late Ma Big Prem (now with her husband, Swami Prem Vairagya) – 1 set
# Swami Anand Kul Bhushan and Ma Prem Rashma (ex-Nairobi, now Delhi) – 2 sets
# Ma Yog Manju (ex-Nairobi, 1 in Pune, 1 in London with her son) – 2 sets
# Late Swami Narendra Bodhisattva for Osho Om Bodhisattva Commune, Dehradun – 1 set (given by Oshodham)
# Late Ma Nirmal (aka Nirmal Khanna, New Delhi, given to Oshodham – 1 set
# Ma Pramila (ex-Nairobi, now Pankaj Osho Centre, London) – 1 set
# Ma Suryakala Bharti (ex-Nairobi, now London) – 1 set
# Late Swami Vedant (aka Ramesh Pandya, ex-Nairobi, later Pune) – 1 set
Whatsoever you see is just a symbol – Osho answers a question about symbols and speaks in particular about the relevance of bowing down before the cast of his feet