An excerpt from chapter 5 of Punya’s ‘On the Edge’. The scene: we are on a rattling bus driving from the Saswad commune down to the Pune ashram to have darshan with Osho.
“Sorry, Pushpa!” I said, bumping my shoulder into her strong upper arms. She smiled back, tiny wrinkles in the corner of her eyes above her sunburned cheeks. Her hair had gone all frizzy in the dry winds of the hills. A few days before, she had stopped me in the courtyard and showed me how she had decorated her living space in one of the rooms on the first level. There we stood, a Dutch translator and a kitchen boss from Italy. We felt deeply connected, beyond job or nation. What was happening to us was greater than our minds could ever have imagined. Her smile acknowledged that she could see that whatever was happening to her was happening to me as well. The high energy created in the castle by the intense physical work was bubbling in our veins. In this abundance of life energy, not only did all competitiveness and petty judgements disappear, but hearts could no longer stay closed.
We felt as one, as a tribe again where the feeling of being a separate individual had not yet been learned. I also felt a ‘yes’ from Satyananda who, in the seat in front of me, was listening to Nirvano’s interpretation of the in-depth meaning of the Saswad experiment. (Before he met Osho, Nirvano was a professor of German and English and his outlook on things was always rational…) Satyananda had come to Pune a few years before as a journalist for the German magazine Stern. Being a sincere man, he tried out the meditations before writing his story and soon fell in love with Osho. Knowing that he could never sell a positive article, even less so to the snotty Stern, he had the courage to give up his prestigious life as an international star reporter, become a disciple and move to India to permanently live in the ashram.
We heard that he was keeping a diary of his life in Saswad (I wish I had his notes now!) and that a book about his first years with Osho was going to be published. His Ganz entspannt im Hier und Jetzt eventually became a best-seller and all of the German speaking sannyasins gulped it down as soon as it came out. A passage where he describes Deeksha walking through the ashram stunned me the most. I never thought that words could be so accurate and give a complete picture of a person in just two sentences. With his permission I have translated them here, hoping to do justice to his art:
Deeksha is a well-rounded Italian beauty with long black hair and an energetic chin. She pushes the low centre of gravity in her large short body along the paths of the ashram with vigorous steps and powerful rowing strokes generated by swinging her arms out sideways.
Jörg Andrees Elten, Ganz entspannt im Hier und Jetzt
After a long stretch in the plains the rattling bus finally halted at the ashram gate. Like a loud bunch of tribal people we jumped off and collected our bags for the overnight stay, leaving in our wake a cloud of dust. The workers in the boutique stopped with their needles in hand to watch the scene. They all looked so pale, skinny, clean, a bit distant, a bit aloof. What had happened to us? We had become pagans, peasants, with sunburned rough hands, clear eyes, laughter in our bellies and warm, simple hearts. We felt a bit out of place, though, like a peasant from Oberägeri might have felt on the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich on a Sunday afternoon.
I was astonished when I was directed to a front seat in the darshan that night, an honour only ‘certain’ people had, such as therapists, the people living in Osho’s house, or special guests. Of course, I was now the ‘person-in-charge’ of the Saswad kitchen. My mind explained it away: I was sitting there because I needed extra energy for the project in Saswad, and not because of anything to do with me personally. But I was lucky to get this unexpected treat. Next to me was Indira who was taking care of the cleaning department and further along were Indian Mukta and Homa. While waiting for everybody at the back to be seated and for Osho to come and sit in our midst, Greek Mukta leaned over and asked, “Do you have electricity?” “Oh yes, we even have running water, and warm water at night!”
Osho walked in, greeting the people sitting silently with their hands folded and their eyes gazing at him. We had seen him walk in so many times – I have described it a few times already – but each time it felt like a miraculous event. We must have all looked silly, with faces like that of cats being tickled under the chin.
Sitting so close to him I felt his energy very tangibly and I was not quite sure if I wanted to be exposed to it too often. The sensation on the skin was that of a fine rain and inside I felt a soft calmness with an edge of excitement. The evening had brought fresh gusts of wind into the assembly and goosebumps had appeared on my arms. They were quite in contrast to the warm, enveloping feeling.
When the last group of new disciples had gone back to their seats, the mediums prepared themselves to be called up. The atmosphere became electric with expectation. Osho silently motioned a medium to each side of himself. Kneeling with their backs to the wall they had in front of them four or five girls, one of which was me, who were seated in a semicircle around Osho. I happened to sit in front of Nirada, Anasha’s small sister, and my head was resting on her warm chest. I was happy it was her. Brushing my bangs out of my face she showed that she was also pleased to have me there. This made the already intimate feeling of the darshan even more cosy. In front of me, my hands were resting on Astha’s shoulders. Under my fingers I could feel her long, neatly-combed blonde hair. I thought she must be special because she cleaned Osho’s room.
The lights went out and the music increased its frenzy. Something was meant to happen to me, but nothing did. I felt very clear in my mind. There was the cold marble floor under my bum, Nirada’s warmth behind me and Astha’s swaying shoulders under my hands. Although it was dark and my eyes were closed, I seemed to see the hall in front of me, the swaying and humming participants of the darshan, the dark marble pillars at the edge of the hall and the trees beyond in the garden. I was aware of, and almost saw, what was happening beyond the hall: all lights in the ashram had been switched off. Even the dancing had stopped in Buddha Hall during our daily ‘blackout’.
My mind still clear and alert, undisturbed by the crescendo of Chaitanya’s squeaking recorder and Rupesh’s wild bongos, I was aware of Osho sitting just a few feet away from me. The lights were switched on again and in their warmth shining on my face I felt my head being held still – I guessed it was by Haridas – and then Osho’s cool fingers on my third eye making my perceptions even more clear-cut.
While the darkness had reminded me of a velvety, cosy, womb-like softness, the energy on my forehead almost felt like an intrusion, a very male affirmation like a lightning bolt. An uncomfortable wake-up call.
Supporting me under my right arm, Haridas escorted me to my seat, while Shiva and a few other strong men were carrying, literally carrying, the girls on their arms to lay them down on the edges of the hall. ‘I am so hard and stuck that I don’t feel anything, no bliss attacks like everybody else,’ I judged myself. Osho namasted the assembly and disappeared into his house. We silently gathered ourselves, left the hall, slipped into the sandals left on the side of the path and made our way out of Lao Tzu gate.
I looked down at my feet to see for sure if they were touching the ground. It felt like I was wearing those plateau shoes my mother had worn after the war, which are in fashion again right now. But these were soles made from air. ‘So maybe something did happen to me.’ When a friend saw me and asked, “Did you just have energy darshan?” I sensed that whatever had happened was visible even from the outside. Light-footed and full of energy I ran back to the room where I was going to stay that night.
Excerpted from ‘On the Edge’ by Yoga Punya – Indian edition available at the Guru Purnima Celebration at Oshodham, Delhi on 27th July 2018 or via oshoworldgalleria.com or amazon.in – International edition available via amazon and other channels, for links see the dedicated website punya.eu
Read a review by Roshani and more excerpts on Osho News
Punya is the founder of Osho News
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