Jayadip wrote, “This morning during my morning meditation I heard the strong voice inside nudging me to share some of my experiences while living with Chinmaya in Pokhara 1986/87.”
When I travelled for the first time to Pokhara, I was following an old call from my youth, to go to the Himalayas. And as Osho was feeling unwell at the time to give discourses in Mumbai, I decided to visit Nepal. Some people recommended I could visit a sannyasin community in Pokhara, run by Swami Yog Chinmaya.
I arrived in the late evening and was very tired from a long 3 day’s overland journey. It was dark and a meditation was going on. Chris, who was the right hand of Chinmaya, gave me a room and I just fell asleep.
Waking up in the morning I saw for the first time the mighty Himalayas rising behind the commune building. I was shaken by the beauty and majesty. This place was on such a magical spot!
I was welcomed, shown around the quite large property and quickly integrated into commune life. The main building held a long row of rooms and at the center was the big meditation hall. A smaller, octagonal house, was where Chinmaya lived. It was very simple; we even lived without electricity, but which I installed at a later point. Usually there were always about 15 devotees of Chinmaya present at the commune, including a few westerners. Almost all were also Osho’s sannyasins.
Daily routine consisted of enjoying three meals, which could be with or without Chinmaya’s presence. Everybody was always waiting eagerly for him to show up or not, which was quite random. If he showed up, we could ask questions or he would share some spiritual insights. Those meetings could then last for hours. I learned a lot about Osho’s more personal life and aspects of his teachings, the Indian understanding of spirituality, inner work, and also personal things about myself.
Finally, there was an evening meditation with him which was kind of an energy darshan. It started with listening to the latest discourses Osho was giving in Mumbai.
Later Chinmaya would be sitting in the front and individually we just allowed our energies to flow. We might be sitting silently, or moving the body, dance, allow any kind of sounds. It was at times very cathartic and a deep cleaning and opening of the different energy bodies.
Although I felt doubtful about it in the beginning, I slowly tuned in; on several occasions I experienced very strong releases and felt like being taking by unknown energies to the point that at one occasion I had to run out of the hall in fear and yet feeling a deep inner breakthrough. I cried and screamed for a long time until I felt a hand touching my head. It was Chinmaya, who had come out of the hall to support me. This was a big turning point in my spiritual life; I understood something which is beyond words.
To me, the whole flavour of the work was in the spiritual context of Bhakti, the way of devotion. Chinmaya was considered by his people to be enlightened. Yet Chinmaya never put himself like this in my presence. And Osho was clearly the teacher he was devoted to. In my understanding, Chinmaya tried to realize Osho’s vision; he certainly had an aura or energy field, which I have rarely encountered in others.
In short, I got to know the Indian viewpoint of how they relate to a guru and the spiritual world.
The time spent with Chinmaya gave me one of the two opportunities in my life to be very close and intimate with a spiritual teacher. As a westerner, I felt privileged. I was respected by others here for being open to understand those views.
Often other western people passed by. And they had often doubt, criticism or even outbreaks against Chinmaya. This in turn helped me to understand some blind spots on both sides, East and West. However, this division between Indian and western sannyasins is operating in many ways in the sannyas world to this day.
Occasionally I had also private meetings with Chinmaya at his house. Those events were highlights of my inner growth and understanding. It is too long ago now to recall the details. But I remember they were always very touching, deeply transformative, highly personal to my inner work and with a lot of love, even as it confronted me and my structure strongly.
Chinmaya shared with me the passion for the Himalayas; he always was on the lookout for great views of the mountains. So it happened that my first ever trekking experience in the Himalayas was together with him. We flew to Jomsom in the Annapurna region and walked for about a week to reach the holy place of Muktinath. In those times tourism was still low key and it felt like a pilgrimage. I think the seeds of my ‘Inner and Outer’ meditation journey group were sown on that occasion.
For some time, I became a residential member of the community until I realized, towards the end of 1987, that Osho would not be around for much longer. And even though I highly respected Chinmaya, I felt a calling to go back to Pune and be with Osho until he would leave.
Having become a permanent member of the Pokhara commune, I had contributed my almost last funds to the commune. When I shared with Chinmaya that I felt the need to return to Osho, he totally supported this. He even gave me back the money I paid to the commune. When he did that, I felt his love and understanding very strongly; he was genuinely interested in my inner truth and growth.
Incidentally, a short while later, Chinmaya was also called by Osho to stay at the Pune Ashram and the entire community moved together with him.
After Osho had left his body, I twice visited Chinmaya and his community in the new commune he had set up in Bageshwar, Uttarakhand.
The last time I met him personally was by coincidence, around 2005 in Manali, the very place where he was among the first people who took sannyas from Osho.
I had already found my very own Himalayan retreat and living space near Manali. My partner and I were shopping in the busy center of Manali, when I suddenly heard a voice calling my name. It was Chris, driving along with Chinmaya. We quickly made an appointment for the evening to have dinner at his hotel. After so many years, we both had become older, yet he was still looking good and even more radiant. My partner and I were so touched being in his presence. It was undoubtable so tangible. We talked about daily matters and as usual he added to the talks his beautiful spiritual touch.
Farewell beloved teacher and soul. You touched and transformed me deeply! I will be forever grateful for your gifts.