Damini’s goodbye to Tathagat.
Once upon a time. On a full moon night in the valley of Dhauladhar Himalayas. A man took off his clothes and jumped into a mountain stream. Plonk!
Like a child, full of glee, of wonder. Looking at the moon, the trees, the ancient old rocks. He had found the land. The land he had been looking for, for long. As a garden of his guru, a home for seekers.
The man’s friend looked on in amazement. And so did a small plant.
Years passed. On that barren, rock-filled land, much creativity happened. Rocks gave way to huts. Pathways were made. Relations were built.
Our stream-jumping friend met with the nearby villagers. He shared their dreams, he shared their hopes. And he shared with the villagers the water coming from the newly dug reservoirs of his new meditation centre.
Soon much of Dharamshala was made a part of his story.
The subziwallahs, the doodhwallhas, the cow-wallahs, the taxi-wallahs, “Tathagat Baba aa gaye hain.” (Tathagat Baba is here.)
These words came out of reverence for a man who understood, empathised, resolved issues… and yet, he stood apart. Calm, collected. Watching. The drama of life.
The time came now for the foundation stone of the meditation hall to be placed. That small plant which had seen him once jump into the river? Yes, that had now become a bigger plant.
That morning. The plant saw. The plant heard. The plant sensed.
People asking for it to be uprooted. Remove it. The roots will weaken the foundation. No no. We cannot have it. It will become a problem later.
This stream-jumping, softly delighting man, looked at the plant. Smiled. And spoke. Something like this.
No, we will not destroy this plant. It has struggled. Made its way till here. And it is not in the way. My bet is that the plant will not destroy the foundation. It will, on its own, find its roots in the other direction. It’s a gamble. But I will gamble for life, for the plant.
Tathagat gambled for life. Always.
Not just for that plant’s life. But for all of us little plants who grew meditating on the land. In words, he spoke measured. But spoke with his full presence. He laughed our laughter. He cried our tears. And he allowed himself to melt into each of our lives, while remaining, the ever-watching self.
And how he watched!
Sitting at the corner table in the dining area. Beyond the Water-Lilly pond he worked so hard to put together. His eyes, silently but sharply, gauging each person in the meditation centre. Eagle-like. Everyone knew. Here was someone who’d keep everyone on their toes. His one look did the job of a hefty bouncer. You don’t mess with Tathagat!
None of us could. But something we call Death messed with Tathagat.
A year ago, this creator of one of the most serene meditation centres in the Himalayas, #OshoNisarga, was diagnosed with cancer.
He took the treatment, as designed. And then, came a time when the treatment stopped working. The body began to dissolve. He moved away from the mountain meditation centre to his family home in Lucknow.
Tathagat’s childhood friend from Banaras went to visit him a few days ago. He pressed his legs with love, with care. And Tathagat said something that only a man of deeply-lived wisdom can say.
“Zyada takat lagane se bhi kuch nahi hota.”
By putting too much strength, you achieve nothing.
These words reveal the depth, the flexibility and the range of a person who has:
Lived in the late 80s as a gatekeeper in Osho’s commune, gone on to become his commune in-charge; negotiated with all kinds of people on his behalf – the police, the courts – dealt with extreme politics within the commune; and finally created a heaven for meditators in the Himalayas.
But, you know how life is.
It has happened before. And it will happen again.
People forget the foundation stones. The ones who bear burden, who carry the weight, who shatter the rocks, make the rivers flow, the ones who dirty their hands, the ones who make happen. Our memory is fragile. We forget.
It has happened with all seekers, in all traditions, across the world. And Osho’s no-tradition tradition is no exception.
Ten years, fifteen years, may be fifty years. Swami Tathagat Anand will be forgotten. Like many of us reading this. Few will remember even us.
But, that garden of depth, of beauty that Tathagat has carved from his hard work, nay, his heart-work. Oh yes! We can only hope and pray. As it passes on from one generation to the next. That it sustains his wisdom, his empathy, his dignity, his grace. And most importantly, his embracing love that gave a sense of ownership to all who came there. Offering Osho Nisarga to each, as their spiritual home.
Somewhere Osho has said, something like: Leave this earth more beautiful than you found it.
Swami Tathagat, you left your body last night. You left this earth last night. I cannot say for others. But for myself and for that shehtoot tree I speak. You have left us both more beautiful than you found us.
And for the tree, I know, he shall be offering his fruits, his breath to all the seekers who come to your Nisarga. Making their lives more beautiful. I hope I can learn from him and you, and offer myself too.
From your Damini, here is a BIG Yahoooooo, Swami T, Yahooooo!
Photo collage by Damini
Comment by Osho News: Damini worked as a filmmaker (and sometimes camera assistant) with Tathagat for about three years at Osho Nisarga, creating detailed explanatory meditation videos on five of Osho’s meditation processes: Dynamic, Kundalini, Mahamudra, Gourishankar, Devavani. This had been Tathagat’s idea and became one of his pet projects.
Obituary on Osho News: