Shobhana remembers an event while travelling with Osho; excerpted from Savita’s book, ‘Dinner with Osho: Intimate Tales of Two Women on the Path of Meditation’.
So I took my seat beside Osho on the plane to Udaipur.
Sitting close in cramped airline seats, he began to be playful with me, holding my hand and fiddling with my bangles. The glass ones I was wearing – which had replaced the gold ones I’d sold – made a clackety-clack sound, as he made them fall onto each other again and again like the beads of an abacus. It seemed to amuse him.
As usual he was dressed in a white lungi and shawl, which immediately identified him as a spiritual teacher, a holy man… So while all the passengers seated around us craned their necks to see what the sadhu was up to with the lady, I sat as silently as I could beside him, haunted by the memory of our night together.
Despite all the thoughts that were churning in my mind, I was too shy and self-conscious about it to mention my sexual desire. I remained deeply uncomfortable with it and didn’t dare use the word.
Desire – it was so new to me! It came upon me almost like a sickness, a fever; something so overwhelming that it seemed to dangerously alter my view of what was around me. I felt it could, at any moment, go beyond my control, unleashing itself and making a fool of me. And always hovering over such thoughts was the guilty knowledge that a woman in my position was only permitted to have such feelings for her legally bonded spouse – and then only in her domestically assigned bedroom.
Breaking the silence, Osho turned to me and asked: ‘What has happened today? You’re so quiet.’
Then everything I had been holding inside began to spill out.
‘The experience of that night…’ I stammered. ‘I’m ashamed…’ I paused for a moment, contemplating the source of my unease. And then, as if talking to myself: ‘How can I face myself, having feelings like that for a man of god?’
‘No, no, Shobhana, don’t feel ashamed about it,’ he urged. ‘Love starts with the physical, yes. But it doesn’t end there.’ He stroked my hand.
‘The meeting of two bodies is still incomplete. You hanker for it; you want it again and again. But it never satisfies you. You still feel craving for the partial energy of sex because that’s the only means you know to feel love. But when you meet mentally…then in the oneness of your two minds, you go deeper together into love. The bonding of two minds takes love to a new level.’
He paused a moment to see if I had taken in what he was saying.
‘Yet ultimately even that cannot satisfy you,’ he went on. ‘Even that is not enough.’ He waited again before adding: ‘If you want me totally, if you want to merge with me completely, then you can only meet me in samadhi, in ultimate consciousness – beyond the body and beyond the mind.’
I tried to grasp his meaning even as I let what he was saying fall into me. He seemed to point to a realm of experience so far beyond my understanding it was as if he stood on a lake’s edge pointing far across it to a mountaintop on the distant horizon. So, even as I absorbed his words and the love they embodied, I found I was still preoccupied with what was really bothering me.
‘Couldn’t that be called a sin, what we did? Wouldn’t it have been a sin if we had gone fully into the act?’
‘No,’ he affirmed immediately. ‘It is not a sin. As long as it comes naturally, spontaneously from both sides, because it is what both people want, then it is not a sin. Only if one person wants it and the other one doesn’t and forces himself on the other, only then is it a sin.’
And then he looked at me and asked, ‘You love me very much, yes?’
I said yes, and I then I recalled the reverie I had once fallen into while watching a movie about Meerabai. Suddenly, spontaneously, my own version came tumbling out.
‘I want to be the lungi you wrap around your waist or the shawl you hang over your shoulders!’ I told him. ‘I want to be the hanky you put against your cheek or the tea you drink when you are thirsty. I want to be swallowed up by you, that’s how much I love you!’
Osho listened to my outpouring attentively. And then, in response, repeated, ‘Shobhana, we can only truly meet in samadhi.’
Over the months that followed that conversation, everything started to change. The guilt, self-consciousness and preoccupations I had previously felt slowly began to vanish. I could be playful and at ease with him, hug and make mischief with him like a child. I’d come up to him from behind as he sat in his armchair reading after the discourse, and cheekily tap-tap the top of his head to draw his attention to me. But he’d just smile and keep on reading. I’d even try to take the book out of his hands, wondering all the while out loud what on earth he was doing wasting his time with all these words on white paper. I was not a reader myself and could not understand why anyone would sit all day and stare into a printed page for hours together. He’d just smile gently at me and read on. Perhaps I was feeling like a lover might be after the tensions of desire had subsided and the friendliness of companionship took over.
I got more and more chances to be intimate with him in this way as I took on the role of his caregiver, concerning myself with his needs and providing the small items that eased his way on his many long journeys and exhausting camp gatherings.
Excerpt from ‘Dinner with Osho: Intimate Tales of Two Women on the Path of Meditation’
Read the review by Roshani: ‘Dinner with Osho’