Prachi writes about her observations during a recent visit to Oshodham, New Delhi.
Xenophobia is fairly visible amongst many people during this pandemic. I notice animosity against people who can be termed as ‘foreigners’ because “they can spread the virus.” Of course, it is wise to be alert and take every precaution to safeguard yourself, but there can be loving ways to do that. Here I share a real-life story of being careful without hatred and prejudice for people who are of a different origin.
I visited Oshodham in New Delhi for a day, just before the coronavirus lockdown. I was greeted at the gate by the guard with a hand sanitizer. After cleaning my hands I walked to Reception where another large bottle of sanitizer was offered. I was also given a list of precautions that included having a hand sanitizer on me at all times.
Regular meditations continue to be held, with the exception of Dynamic, and the number of participants are limited to no more than 50; for now, a namaste replaces hugs and handshakes and friends are asked to keep a one metre distance while talking to anyone. And finally:
The most important is to be loving and conscious, aware of the situation – in the here and now.
Posted notices about washing one’s hands regularly and thoroughly can’t be ignored as they were visible in all the key places. In the cafeteria I found the chairs were spread out 2 metres apart.
A few meditators who had planned to stay at Oshodham for a long time were not asked to leave; rather, they were given all necessary information on how to continue to be healthy during their stay. In the meditation hall, nobody was sitting too close to each other.
Presently there are also two western Osho sannyasins staying at the ashram. I found out they had been in India since early February and want to return to their home countries after the Covid-19 situation settles down a bit. With travelling being presently unsafe and erratic, they prefer to stay in a meditative environment. They were at first living in quarantine and now follow the guidelines to be safe like all of us. This is in contrast to stories we have heard about foreigners having been expelled from countries they had been visiting in the middle of the night.
I know of one older British couple who were visiting India and were ejected from their hotel by armed police and then had to wait at the railway station for 12 hours for a train to Delhi because no other hotel would take them in. Luckily, they managed to secure expensive tickets for the next possible flight back to the UK. This is not a debate about if asking them to leave was right or not but the way they were treated was ruthless and uncaring.
Not all spiritual places and retreats are well-informed and alert about the ‘outside’ world. However, visiting Oshodham the other day was such a positive experience. The managing team is intelligent, informed and caring. They take every precaution and add love to it.
Once we are on the other side of the virus, I recommend you consider visiting Oshodham. It is a buddhafield which can help you intensify your journey inwards.