I am still surprised!

Remembering Here&Now

Ajit remembers how he tried to get Osho to a photosession at the Hanumantal Jain Dharmshala, located close to where he was staying.

Jabalpur route
Palace of Seth Govind Das
Hanumantal Jain Mandir, hostel was close-by

I remember a time when I was staying near Hanumantal Jain Dharmshala (hostel) in Jabalpur. During those days it was trendy to take group photographs in schools, colleges or hostels. Some well-known people were invited for group photographs to be taken at the hostel and several students thought of inviting Osho (then Acharya Rajneesh) as the chief guest. As Osho was leaving after giving a lecture at the Jain Dharmshala, a few students who were acquainted with Osho went to him with the request.

When asked, Osho smilingly said, ”I do not partake in such photography sessions. If you like you can invite the famous Hindi writer, Seth Govind Das, who lives nearby.” Saying this, Osho declined their appeal.

However, the students then approached me, saying, “Brother, we went to Osho but he refused to come to the photo session. Can you try to get him to come?”

I was also keen for such a photo session to take place and asked them what time I should bring Osho to the hostel. When they told me to come the next day at 4 pm I said, “Fine. You go now; I will get him to agree.”

Although I had to figure out a way for Osho to consent, I didn’t go to talk to him. The next morning the students approached me and asked if Osho had given his consent. I only said that I would show up with Osho at 4 pm, knowing I didn’t have his approval and what would happen!

After a few hours, around 3.30 pm, I reached Osho at his house and said, “Acharya Shree, are you doing something?” He said, “Nothing important,” and asked, “do we have to go somewhere?” I responded, “Yes, please.” Within three minutes he got ready, got into the car and asked me to come sit inside. I thought, ‘Osho has not even asked where to drive to.’ I kept watching which direction he was taking and when we approached the Ranital crossing, I thought he would ask where he was to go.

He didn’t say a word and turned the car towards the Damoh barrier. Although there are many intersections on that Damoh road, Osho still did not ask. While I continued to wonder about it all, Osho turned the car towards the palace of Seth Govind Das and then to the Hanumantal Jain Dharmshala. He stopped the car in front of the Dharmshala at 4 pm sharp and said, “Was it here we had to come to?” All I could say was, “Yes, please.”

I was so surprised that Osho hadn’t asked where we were going yet we had reached the hostel where several students greeted and escorted him as the chief guest to have the group photo taken. I also sat with the group. The photographer was from the Adarsh Studio.

After the session Osho got into the car and left with me towards Gwarighat. While he was driving I asked him, “You did not even ask me once yet you drove to the place where I wanted you to come to.”

Osho said, “Ajit, you came to me at 3.30 pm and told me to go somewhere. I know that the students from Hanumantal Jain Dharmshala had come to ask me yesterday [about the photo session] but I did not consent. Hence, they would have certainly gone to you to try and make me come for the photograph. So I understood that we had to go there.”

Although he replied to me, hidden in the background is the unknown, the unknown mysteries of life known to Osho.

In Ajit’s so far unpublished memoir, he included several short stories from the time he was around Osho. He offered a few to Anuragi for publication. This second piece was translated by Anuragi and Keerti.


Ajit Jain (Swami Prem Akshat) is a former advocate and editor of the Hindi magazine, Yukrand.

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