Veena reviews Devakant’s recently published book: “…as well as being a positive antidote to the recent ugly misrepresentations in the ‘Wild Wild Country’ debacle, it is an informative, precious, wonder-filled book that is infinitely worth reading.”
Every book written by a disciple contributes something to the phenomenon that is Osho, but, for me, Devakant’s book, ‘In the Eye of the Hurricane’, has a depth and breadth of vision that encompasses much more than most.
There are three things which, in my opinion, make this book so exceptional. Firstly, its objectivity…. Although Devakant is obviously speaking from his own experience, he has the gift of ‘standing back’ and witnessing both himself and Osho’s earth-shaking, life-changing caravanserai. All too often, accounts of Osho, although hugely valid, end up being about ‘me’, too personal to be able to adequately express the whole and to have an overall perspective. I think Devakant more or less achieves that perspective.
Secondly, its honesty, clarity and truthfulness. No pussy-footing around. He says it as he saw it – which has a huge impact on the reader. In a way he speaks for many of us who also watched what was happening, especially in Rajneeshpuram. I notice many people on Facebook who have read this book, commenting that this is how they felt too, but were too afraid or confused to speak out. Devakant has assessed all that he saw and experienced with extraordinary intelligence and accuracy, which makes this the most in-depth and comprehensive book about Osho and the communes/non-communes that has so far been written.
Thirdly, he writes extremely well! His command of the English language is stunning and he brilliantly uses his literary skills as tools to give us a text that is at various times poetic, lyrical, imaginative, inspiring, tender, heart-breaking – and then down-to-earth factual. I have read parts of the book more than once for the sheer joy of experiencing such an accomplished use of the English language and the responses it can consequently provoke in the reader.
Devakant begins his book with a masterly depiction of the futility of living life as it is commonly known and experienced. Whew! We all experienced this to a greater or lesser degree but his description is brilliant. Trying this, trying that, going here and there, searching, searching … nothing satisfies until – Dynamic Meditation, the clincher! Within a few weeks he was off to India to sit at the feet of the Master.
How exotically he describes the rich tapestry that is India: the joy, the beauty, the horrors and the illnesses. Then there is the glorious mystery of meeting the Master and the loving, laughing people quickly gathering around him. That feeling of coming home, the feeling that ‘this is it’.
Of course struggles abound, one of which is the inconvenient lack of money – a reality for so many of us. This leads to different scenarios, one of which I have to quote because it brilliantly gives a glimpse of the treasure trove of endearing, eccentric, humorous, thought-provoking anecdotes in this so richly diverse book! Depressed, penniless and trapped in Korea after a promised job failed to materialise, Devakant encounters, in a dirty fish market, an eel stuck in a tank of water. The eel is naturally destined for somebody’s dinner. As Devakant watches
“the eel slowly begins to nose into the corners of the tank, searching here, searching there, searching for something which I can’t even imagine. He stretches upwards and gets his nose into the top corner of the tank where he manages to edge the lid off just enough in between the lid and the edge of the tank. He wriggles, and struggles, and widens the gap, moving ever so slightly the lid, until his head and body begin to push through the opening; his body electrifies into motion and, as the lid slips off the tank, he flies across three feet of air to the top of the transom which is open. He shoots his whole length like a lightening bolt through that transom window and finds himself on the sidewalk, in front of my astonished eyes! He wriggles in every direction, gets to the gutter, slips down a covered grate into a storm drain to the river, and is gone!
“I stand transfixed, knowing this is a direct message to me, from the Source, telling me, ‘Wake up! Move! Just get going and stop depressing, move in any direction until you get the lid to budge!’”
Having soon thereafter been offered a well-paying job as an English teacher, Devakant returns to India after a few months and continues his discovery of the magnificent splendour of India’s musical heritage. To a musician, this has infinite wonders and we are immersed in Devakant’s unfolding fascination with the music, and his meetings with famous Indian musicians who, without exception, see the talents of this young gifted westerner. How much he was able to learn from these great men! Music is of course a theme which permeates the whole book and gives it a very definite added dimension. It also opens many, many doors for Devakant, leading to an abundance of amazing life experiences.
And it gives us, the readers, a very different and enthralling perspective of what happened during various events with Osho, e.g. playing at the festivals, before and after discourses, and during the darshans with the press in Jesus Grove.
In addition to his musical, artistic and sculpturing talents, Devakant was a skilled carpenter which soon provided the door to his working in Osho’s house and experiencing his tangible presence – in Pune 1, the Ranch and Pune 2. Thus his devotion to and awe of his Master grew, blossomed and flowered.
It led too to the eventual close meeting with Nirvano and subsequent relationship. Devakant tenderly paints an exquisite portrait of an exquisite woman which adds so much to our understanding of and love for this mysterious woman and her total devotion to taking care of Osho. As someone who loved her deeply, I say thank you, Devakant, for giving her such joy, unjudgmental love and silent, strong support when she so very much needed it. And I join in your deep regret and sorrow that, you being away for a couple of months, she got together with Jayesh (in my opinion, a very unsuitable match). And I also join in your wonder at Osho’s comments, showing you a now different direction and path, during an evening discourse after playing music for him:
“That day, in the middle of the discourse, Osho suddenly said, ‘A Buddha doesn’t necessary just sit and do nothing… He can be a dancer, or a carpenter, or… a FLUTE player!’ Immediately I cringed, as the bright light was on me, sitting there in front of him. He waited and slowed down a little, and paused, and it felt like he was sensing that I would close up if he loved me too much. Then, out of nowhere, Osho started talking about the fickleness of women. He said, ‘And if you choose a man to love, choose a man with some higher qualities, an artist, or a musician. Not a BUSINESS-man!’ At that, inside me, my inner crowd was jumping up and down in standing ovation. ‘Right on Osho!’ I felt elated, supported, vindicated, released…. He was talking about us, right there in front of her, she was there in the front row. That cleared up all my doubts about whether I was still under his wing. In fact, from that day I was COMPLETELY his! Everything I did was for him, all day, every waking moment. But now there was no woman in between, no distraction. And in the work that I would be doing, grinding away at marble, he would be grinding away at me.”
In the last line of the above quote, Devakant is referring to the marble bedside table which Osho had asked him to make for his room. This began a chapter of horrors! The way of a Zen Master is to put his disciples through many difficult, even dangerous, tasks – the Hindi word for this is ‘sadhana’. The sadhana Osho put Devakant through is one of the most difficult I have heard of. Osho must have loved and trusted in him very much!
Osho asked him to make him a marble table – solid marble, not with the usual veneers – out of a rare kind of marble – ‘Abu Green’ – found only in one remote place on the border of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Intensive investigations in Pune and Mumbai with Indian marble craftsmen and dealers, led to the information that, although veneers of the marble were available locally, solid blocks were not, and Devakant realised he would have to go to Rajasthan to get it. He graphically describes his horrific quest, the appalling conditions people slaved under in the marble mines, and the terror of the confrontation with a drunken militant Rajput giant surrounded by the violent braying of a 200-strong Rajput mob. Oh India….
Impelling and relevant to many of us is Devakant’s illuminating description of the commune after Osho left his body – the loosening of the ties with the place, the repeat of petty power struggles, the rise of dictatorial egos and the disappearance of the love, joy, creativity and blessed companionship of dear friends following the same path.
We were the original rebels, and Devakant, most definitely one of us, grew daily more dissatisfied with the arrogant decrees issuing forth from the new regime now greedily taking charge. I applaud Devakant’s clear and insightful comments on this take-over. He tells of the exploitation and attempts to control the musicians by the commune and a western business man, and the dumbing down and diluting of Osho’s words in new books in order to make them palatable for the masses, thus entirely missing the deep significance of the wholeness of each brilliant discourse.
And so Devakant took off for the big wide world where his extraordinary talents as a musician opened many doors for him in Europe, Japan (playing his flute as the poet, Basho, in a beautiful 4-part Japanese documentary entitled ‘The Narrow Road to the North’ – the title of one of Basho’s books), the USA and South America, most specifically Chile, where Aseema, a former girlfriend, now best friend, has an Osho Meditation Centre.
In conclusion he attempts to put his experiences with Osho and the ups and downs of commune life into a few words – so very, very difficult – and succeeds rather well!
“I personally did not go there to find a paradise that would last forever, or that would change the world. I went there to be close to a person, Osho, who I knew was on a level of being, Spirit, awareness, and reality, much higher than me. And I accepted that the price of being near him was to watch and participate in the whole show, the whole commune affair with all its joys, irritations, expansions, mutations and insults entailed in that. Most of the time it was incredibly fun, meaningful and transformative, taking me to a state of expanded love, compassion, and joy. Sometimes it was oppressive and heavy. But I got to see it, the whole process of it, face to face from beautiful dreamy beginning to tearful bittersweet end. I consider that to be a great gift, a crash course in life, as it were, which put me in touch with tremendous resources and possibilities of transformation which I never knew I had. (…) He took us, existentially speaking, to states of being where our perceptions changed to an unimaginable new level.”
And so, beloveds, I conclude my review by saying that ‘In the Eye of the Hurricane’, as well as being a positive antidote to the recent ugly misrepresentations in the ‘Wild Wild Country’ debacle, is an informative, precious, wonder-filled book that is infinitely worth reading.
Review by Veena