Prachi Bari reports on the recent Monsoon Festival at the Osho International Meditation Resort and that apparently there’s no longer any evidence of a Samadhi in the commune. Published in Hindustan Times on August 19, 2018.
Originally designed and beautified as ‘Osho’s Samadhi’, this beautiful hall is now simply referred to as ‘Chuang Tzu Auditorium’ without any reference to the Samadhi. (osho.com)
The (Osho) Ashram people don’t call it ‘Osho Samadhi’ any more, but refer to it as the Chuang Tzu meditation hall. In fact, there is no evidence of a Samadhi anywhere; all the sign boards with the word ‘Samadhi’ have been taken off. As though that were not enough, even a photograph of Osho inside the Samadhi has been removed,” said Ma Anand Shraddha (Shivani Jain), a follower of Osho.
A participant of the Osho Monsoon festival held in the Pune Commune recently said she was unhappy with the state of Osho’s Samadhi.
“I was interested in visiting the Samadhi, but was surprised and a little angered that just 200 metres away from the Samadhi, the commune management was serving liquor and had set up a party place. I found it strange that they could not even keep the sanctity of the place. Also, they have removed all the photos of Osho from various parts of the Commune. There is only one photograph at the reception centre,” said Shraddha.
This poster appeared all over Koregaon Park during a campaign to save Osho’s Samadhi ten years ago. (osho.com)
Another follower, Swami Dharmesh said he comes without fail for the monsoon festival. He, too, said that all references to Osho’s Samadhi have been removed in the commune.
“I have been with Osho since 1977; I was present here while he was present in the body. The Ashram is still beautiful and well maintained and I like to spend time meditating in the hall where Osho’s Samadhi is. The only difference is that before there were signs like ‘Silent sitting – Samadhi’ which now have been removed. The word ‘Samadhi’ has been removed and only ‘Silent sitting’ is written in the hall,” he said.
Swami Prem Anadi, a long-time disciple of Osho, pointed out that the Osho Samadhi was officially referred to as such for almost 18 years after which all efforts were made to erase its existence.
“If you have been calling it a Samadhi for 18 years, why do you suddenly stop calling it one day?” he questioned, wondering about this drastic step on the part of the managers running the Osho International Meditation Resort.
For many new sannyasins, however, the Samadhi is only hearsay as no one has actually seen it.
Shraddha said the commune has become very expensive for sannyasins as compared to the past. “It costs Rs 920 just for entry and food costs extra. If one calculates, you need to spend at least Rs 2,000 per day and it is not affordable to meditate inside anymore or participate in various meditation techniques,” she said.
‘Calling it a Samadhi was a mistake’
Amrit Sadhana, the official spokesperson for the Osho International Meditation Resort said what was called ‘Samadhi’ was a circular patio of the Lao Tzu residence where Osho lived and gave discourses when he first arrived in Pune in 1974, and later after he returned from the US in 1987.
Sadhana said that it was Osho who had asked his ashes to be kept under the bed. “He himself has named this room, Chuang Tzu auditorium.”
She said that this place was never open to the public and it is not what is traditionally understood by ‘Samadhi’.
Sadhana said that presently, the commune allows people in maroon robes and white socks who are registered and have a gate pass to participate in silent sittings in the mornings from 7.30 am to 8.30 am and afternoons from 3 to 4 pm.
“People come and meditate during this time. Three meditations and one meditative therapy is practised here every day,” she said.
According to Sadhana, it was a mistake on the part of the commune to call it a Samadhi. “We corrected the mistake when we realized so. It is back to Chuang Tzu now.”
The fact, however, is that on January 20, 1990, a day after Osho’s death, his personal physician, Swami Prem Amrito (Dr John Andrews) had given a detailed account in the Pune commune’s Buddha Hall of Osho’s last conversation with him.
Amrito said that Osho desired a beautiful Samadhi to be created on the premises.
Accordingly, Osho’s ashes were placed in an urn and buried in the Chuang Tzu auditorium which became the Samadhi. This auditorium was originally a large open hall in Lao Tzu House where Osho had given discourses when he first arrived in Pune. As per plans, a 20-foot diameter circular crystal chandelier became the main attraction of the Samadhi, reflected majestically on vertical sheets of dark blue glass panels that encircled the auditorium. A marble platform was created at one end of the wall and the urn with Osho’s ashes was placed inside this platform. A plaque on the platform carried the epitaph dictated by Osho himself: Osho – Never Born, Never Died. Only Visited This Planet Earth Between December 11, 1931 to January 19, 1990.
Osho Commune’s Monsoon Festival, a mix of meditation and relaxation
The annual Osho Music and Meditation Monsoon Festival at the Osho International Meditation Resort was a melange of music and meditations.
During the festival held from 11 August to 15 August 2018, the participants had 12 meditations on offer daily which were held at the Osho Auditorium, Chuang Tzu and Buddha Grove. The event also hosted a food festival with tastes from across the globe.
The music concerts were held in the Multiversity Plaza, where all the activities of Osho Multiversity take place right from the introductory talks about meditative therapies, courses, etc. The festival kick started with performances by flautist Bikramjit Singh and artistes Mahesh Vinayakram and Aparna Gandhi, a renowned Odissi dancer.
Other artistes who performed were musicians flautist Milind Date, Indian idol famed vocalist Bhavya Pandit and Mumbai-based band Aankh Micholi. Live performances were also given by Rekha Bharadwaj and Vishal Bharadwaj. The festival concluded with a performance by Urja, a group of musicians led by sitarist Chintan Katti.