Excerpt from Siddartha’s book, Longing for the Impossible – Autobiography of a Rebel-Yogi.
I was getting bored… a very dangerous state for me. Besides I had a fight with my girlfriend and that relationship was coming to an end. I decided I needed to see one of my favorite gurus and get myself back together again.
Satya Sai Baba and Osho were in India, Muktananda was in California. I didn’t think he would be so helpful so I headed for India. Decided to see Sai Baba first. Thought it would be easier. I only planned to stay a month in India and then get back to work; I was liking the idea of earning a living.
I was three weeks with Satya Sai and feeling a lot better. While I was there I was reading the newspaper one day and there was part of a discourse from Osho condemning Morarji Desai, the Prime Minister of India at that time, for extolling the virtues of drinking his own urine. In the article Osho was scathing in his criticism and ridiculing the practice. I remember being so impressed by the courage of Osho to attack the Prime Minister of a country in which he was living and having his commune. I told myself that I have never seen such courage in any other guru or high person. Not in Sai Baba or Muktananda or Werner Erhard. It definitely attracted me so I went to Pune and Osho’s ashram. I had about one week until my plane back to the USA.
I was blown away as soon as I came to the ashram. It was teeming with sannyasins. And very high energy. The music groups at night with Anubhava were incredible and Osho was giving discourse every morning to a deep silence except the birds twerping. Osho was known as the sex guru in those days and with good reason. Lovemaking was plentiful and very easily attained even for someone as clutzy as me. I couldn’t believe what they were calling sannyas. Remember, I took sannyas five years before there was a commune. Now they were doing Shakespeare theatre, and the theatre of the Absurd. String quartets and marital arts and every kind of group therapy that you can imagine. And the women! I wanted to speak with Bhagwan (Osho) so I went to see Arup, one of Osho’s secretaries. She said it was not so easy to talk with Osho anymore like in the old days, but to write him a letter.
I did, telling him what I had been up to for the last five years since I took sannyas and asking to talk with him. I was shocked to get his answer. “If you want my help, you have to be here three months.” Three months? My God, he should be able to look me in the eyes and straighten me out with a few words and then I could be on my way. Three months? My God, a good psychiatrist can straighten a patient out in just a few sessions. I had to change my plane ticket, but I agreed. I asked Osho what to do there and he gave me the name of three groups, later a few more… very intense groups like Encounter and Tantra.
In the Encounter group, Teertha who was the group leader admonished us that nothing would happen unless we risked all. The first night in the group I wanted to sleep next to some pretty girl but was shy and slept alone, being angry with myself for being afraid to tell her. In the morning group I confronted the girl and told her I wanted to sleep with her. She said she wouldn’t sleep with me if I were the last man on earth. I told her I hated her. Others seemed to ridicule me so I told them I hated them too. I went down the whole group looking everyone in the eyes and told them I hated them. Then I told Teertha and Turiya, the other assistant. I even jumped up and down near Osho’s picture and told Osho I hated him.
Teertha said there was no hate in me and told the girl who was berating me that if she wanted to remain in the group she would have to be my slave at lunchtime. My slave. What a turnaround! She sheepishly came to me at lunchtime and we went to my hotel room and made beautiful love. Afterwards in the group she told everyone it was horrible to be with me. Later she came over to me and whispered in my ear that it was wonderful. No wonder women were confusing me. My God! The other groups were equally intense and educational. If you want to know more you’ll have to ask.
I also worked for a while in Magdalena [Vrindavan, ed.], the kitchen area making peanut butter. Now the three months were just about over and it was March 21, Enlightenment Day. Osho came out that night and didn’t talk, just went into a deep meditation. We had the choice to dance or sit. I danced some and then sat. At one point Osho, who had been in a very deep meditative state, opened his yes and slowly started looking around the room [hall, ed.]. I remember thinking they were like a baby’s eyes with no intention, just very innocent. He seemed to look into every eye, but ever so slowly. His eyes finally came to me. They touched mine and buckets of tears started to flow. I wasn’t even sad. My mind said, “You found this place, you found this place, you found this place!” Over and over. I was so overwhelmed and grateful that he had made me stay there for three months. All the horrible things I said about myself… but I found this place, I found this place. I guess I wasn’t so stupid after all, I had found this place.
My three months were up and it was the time to go home, wherever that was. I thought I would go back now to the West and find another psychiatric job and get on with my life. Yet I still felt I was Freedom’s disciple and he had taught me the benefits of surrender. So, I wrote a note to Osho saying I was thinking of going to the West but “Thy will be done.” Folks were telling me that Osho would likely say “My blessings.” Again, I was shocked. He said, “Go to Ithaca, Freedom’s commune, those people need you.” My God! Freedom was now an orthodox Jew, a Hassidim, and he was now against Sai Baba and against all gurus. His disciples were like sheep, not straying far from the master. It was the last place I wanted to go. I cursed myself for writing Osho. Now I had no choice and what about getting another psychiatric job… now that I was wearing red clothes and a mala with his picture around my neck.
We had a leaving darshan with Osho in those days. A chance to say goodbye if you were leaving. I went thinking it was just a formality, like saying goodbye to one’s family when you would take a trip. I thanked him for his love and compassion, he laughed and put a small mahogany box in my hand. A souvenir, my mind said and I went to sit down. There was a note attached to this box that said that it contained a hair from Osho’s head, and it was only to be used if one had great fear. One should then put the box on the top of the head and count slowly back from 10. It should not be left on the head for more than 10 seconds. I put it in my coat pocket and thought no more about it.
A couple of days more and I was on a plane to New York. I was wearing red clothes and the mala and all of a sudden great fear started to come over me. How was I going to get a job wearing red clothes and a mala? Who in the world would hire me with me being so upfront. And I was going by the name Siddartha… who would ever hire me again? Without work I would have no money. I would go hungry and slowly starve to death. My fear was increasing by the second, I was near panic. I was in a sweat, I didn’t know what to do.
My hands reached into my pocket and I found this box that Osho had given me with his hair in it. It was a beautiful box, very smooth, lovely wood. I read the instructions again. Great fear, on top of head, no more than 10 seconds. My God! Could this really work? I held it on top of my head. Started counting back from 10. By the time I got to five I was asleep. When I woke up later, the fear was broken. It was still there but only slightly, a fragment of the big fear. I never used the box again but kept it close for many years like a security blanket. I did panic later when I lost it. Another sannyasin said I could have his, but I lost that one too after some months. If you have one from that time, please take better care of it than I did, you may need it sometime.
Excerpted from Siddartha’s posthumously published book, Longing for the Impossible: Autobiography of a Rebel Yogi, Ch 6, Power of Prayer
Available through Vitesha Offeciers: vitesha (at) gmail.com
Related book review by Srajan
Longing for the Impossible: Autobiography of a Rebel Yogi
Siddartha was born in Baltimore, USA in 1937. After attending university he became a psychiatrist, was a doctor in the army during the Vietnam War, and also raised a family. In the 60s he settled in a commune in Itaka, New York and later travelled to India, met Osho and took sannyas. He lived many years in Osho’s communes in Pune and Rajneeshpuram. Later, he lived in Amsterdam and Goa, where he was renowned for his parties. He finished writing his biography in Manali. He died in August 2017 in Amsterdam.