Part 2 of ‘Tales from Arjuna’, the singing security guard in Rajneeshpuram.
Lino and Arjuna fight the battle of Desiderata
It must have been still 1983, early in the evolution of Rajneesh Security. We had to wear those silly Rajneesh Security uniforms by then. But thankfully not yet those maroon police caps manufactured in the land of Trabant cars, the DDR, otherwise known as the democratically “communist” Deutsche Demokratische Republik of East Germany.
We were dressed for battle in violet shirts. Me with my maroon tie and jacket. My Prince Valiant hairdo at the ready, armed with a cup of deadly instant coffee. Lino, bravely wearing those ridiculous culottes, still looking like a gorgeous blond-locked and loaded Valkyrie. We fought the Battle of Desiderata maybe in late September 1983.
Lino and I helped create the coordination of posts reporting the whereabouts of heavy vehicles at the Desiderata post at the bottom of the most treacherous part of the County Road coming down from Antelope. In those days the road was a glorified gravel path that wound its way down the high hills into settled valleys of the Ranch past too many treacherous blind turns to count. Lino and I coordinated the movement of heavy truck loads of materials for constructing our city, using walkie-talkies connected to man and woman guard teams at the post called Top of the Ranch, the half-way point at Buddha Grove post to the bottom at Desiderata where the barbarian road became civilized the rest of the way to the ranch hostesses (the ‘Twinkies’) and town.
I don’t think the Twinkies or their pyramidal welcome center were constructed yet. There definitely wasn’t the Gurdjieff Dam post, though there was a dam by then. I would later enjoy many nights guarding in my watchman’s booth at the top of the dam next to the county road. It was a witchy place that required a lone ‘warlock’ to play with the ghosts that thumbed rides into the Ranch from there. (That’s another story.)
The Battle of Desiderata happened on a 12-hour shift that was one of the most intense days Lino or I ever had as Rajneesh Security guards. I hope she shares her experience in her book. It had the quality of being under fire. We were learning AND creating the job of coordinating and communicating to the other security positions up the county road, every car and especially every heavy cargo, double-semi, or dump truck. Fall was impending and in the latter half of 1983 the ranch was in the full throes of building the city as fast as we could.
Lino and I… both very spirited with strong views about what needed to be done while the doing was overwhelming us. We tried to make our ideas work when we weren’t clashing.
We both took this job very seriously – too seriously. But with reason. The responsibility was scary. Lives and equipment were at stake. The roads were a chaos and crowded with all things that wheeleth and rolleth, creeping and crawling and freaking out the truckers, many of which were sannyasins as new at driving huge trucks as we were directing them up and down the road safely. We had the only booth; Buddha Grove and Top of the Ranch were crewed by couples in old cars with walkie talkies rather than the comfortable huts they would have a few months later.
The job at hand was as complicated as composing a symphony, while playing it with two conductors battling over different tempos. The pressure was immense but Lino and I were flamingly alive when living the INTENSE.
We had a few close calls that first day. Missed signals or losing the thread of who was where, rumbling up or down on that dangerous road while we were trying to create and communicate to other guard positions a language for communication being made up as we “thunk” it up.
Then, gripped in the middle of one of our most violent arguments, to our horror, we both suddenly realized, we had lost Subhuti!
We lost track of Subhuti’s huge double-semi rig with heavy cargo descending down uncertain gravel roads and had granted access to some non-sannyasin trucker with an equally large double semi-rig thundering up the road from Desiderata.
Subhuti, if you are reading this, I’m sure you remember your close call.
Lino and I were horrified waiting out the seconds grinding into eon-length minutes. Hoping to see him lurch his semi around the final turn before Desiderata.
At last, there he was! A very pale Englishman, coming to a stop before our booth.
Subhuti, Lino and I thought we lost you, like REALLY lost you – like its burnin’ celebration time and there was no crematorium built yet. But there you were, rig-and-all crushing the edge of a road in real need of gravel grade-rehab. I remember running out of the booth as Lino kept working the radios. I climbed up onto your rig as you opened the passenger side door, me saying, “We are soooo sorry! We are so glad to see you alive.”
Your face said it all what you must have just gone through, getting around that other monster rig we mistakenly sent up the way-too-narrow treacherous road to easily pass. Rather than erupt, your face resigned and nodded, accepting the situation and you drove on.
After I got back to the booth, Lino sobbed in my arms. That shock of nearly getting Subhuti killed did something to both of us. We somehow got over ourselves and just clicked into the job. We found a way to pool our big energies and intuition as a team. That’s how the basic plan of traffic radio coordination as well as recording who was up and down the country road began to get a foundation and a coded language of a great system.
Reading Lino’s observations about security in Osho News (see link below), I can tell you that her memory is spot on and accurate in her security stories according to my recollection of what happened.
She captures the spirit of what security as a worship was like. Intense hard work but rewarding, requiring an ability to move beyond your limits into its device of sharp-edged awareness where you had to anticipate potential threats but at the same time let it go and just be in the here now.
A security guard’s meditation can go for years with nothing but the watching a big nonevent. That is until “a situation” suddenly happens and you jump on it like a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed buddha in those god-awful maroon culottes, East-German, commie-made maroon police caps and bleach pink-n-itchy nylon slacks. Button that pink shirt! Snap on that pin tie! Otherwise, don’t just do something, SIT THERE for years!
At the Top of the Ranch
Top of the morning to you
At top of the ranch
Where every day
Is a good day to die…
I did a lot of Top of the Ranch tours in the two years that followed. Every time a car full of strangers pulled up, I had to leave my partner in the booth, walk down and politely ask what I could do for them. As I approached each car and the window was wound down, there was always lurking in the background of my awareness that this could be it.
Top of the Ranch was the most exposed position of all our guard posts. It was an honor as well as a danger to be picked to guard there any day or night shift
Rather than a happy face poking out of the window making an inquiry for directions, one had to accept the outside potential that the double-barrel of a shotgun would instead poke out the window blowing you in two-pieces of corpse for the crematorium to sort out and burn to the happy songs of celebrating sannyasins.
So when Lino talks about taking the bullet, I get her. That potential came with the worship. Fortunately none of us died and the greatest weapon we had to face in those booths was drinking that instant coffee!
I took to heart what we were told in Rajneesh Security, when it began to form. That our worship was to protect and deal at times with the negativity and threats of the outside world but keep that away from all the friends and lovers inside the Buddhafield. If we did our job, nobody was disturbed by that negativity. Nobody saw the fires set or the shots fired at us.
Being a watchman was my favorite worship under Osho’s physical guidance. I believe I was the only one of the original six that never got transferred from Rajneesh Security until I left the Ranch in mid-January 1986. I would enjoy guarding again in Pune 2 at the Front Gate and later for over a year, mostly doing nights, in Osho’s “guard”-en, in Lao Tzu compound.
Many more stories to tell you all. In good timelessness.