In this third part of Radhika’s journey we travel to India…
India My Love
Osho was on his remarkable, unintended world tour; and the uncertainty of when and if we would ever see him again was challenging. But one day the news arrived that he was back in Mumbai. Not much later he returned to the ashram in Pune which set off the Pune Two phase. My earlier nostalgic longing would now find its fulfilment. With my arrival in India I experienced a feeling of coming home, and as soon as I stepped past the Gateless Gate, of being where I should be. There was no Buddha Hall roof yet and much was being improvised within the ashram, soon to be renamed an International Commune. The atmosphere was more intimate than within the vast area of the Ranch and renovating the ashram was an exciting task. Osho was speaking twice daily at Chuang Tzu auditorium, what a gift! I immersed into commune life.
And meditating in India was a special experience in itself. Staying as long as possible and returning as much as possible was of utmost importance to the majority of sannyasins in those days.
The Mystery School
It was clear that this Buddhafield was also a mystery school. Not uncommonly, unusual or inexplicable things happened. Many of these I regard as nearly mysterious, and feel therefore they should remain so. But one experience around meditation can be shared. Though not being a morning person I practised Dynamic Meditation for many years. One morning while standing frozen in the silent phase in the refurbished Buddha Hall, a pestering smell entered my nose. I suddenly recognised it; it was the stench of a tiger, and very close to me. How could that be? An automatic fear set it. It was so bothersome that I was tempted to lift the blindfold and open my eyes. Suddenly I came to the understanding that it must be I who was smelling! That very moment both my hands began to feel bigger, heavy and furry. Two large paws had developed. I could feel that I had the strength of a massive body. I had turned into a tiger! I felt dangerous and was enjoying immense power. My prior fear transformed into a proud, majestic stance. I liked the might of my paws and the fearlessness that came with it. All too soon the music of the last stage set in and broke the spell. It had not been a visual experience from the outside, but right from within my body. The tiger never visited again, but the experience was exceptional and totally surprising.
How I loved Buddha Hall! Then, and still today, it appears to me like a unique amalgam of an ancient secret temple and a future spaceship. The white shimmering marble floor, its large size and oval shape, wrapped by a mosquito net and encircled by a lush jungle of plants. The mighty bamboo trees always whispering and rustling, wild birds singing. Cascades of tiny lights, hanging from the elegant tent-like roof, were lit at night. Osho’s podium made of white and grey marble in the shape of a half circle with an entrance to the hall on each side. It was a joy to dance there alone when it was empty, with or without music, during the day between meditations. It was a joy to dance during singing groups. Or even to just lie down peacefully in a corner or in the centre on the floor.
And when thousands of Buddhas entered for the evening meeting with the master, it was filled with celebration, dance, music, joy and the deepest silence possible. Osho’s chair was carefully placed on the podium. And then a Rolls Royce pulled up slowly, the wings of the glass door were opened and Osho entered the podium from the right side, his hands in namaste, greeting each and every one of his sannyasins. There are no words to describe these festive moments and the quality of that gathering in his presence.
Osho’s love and creativity brought us the gifts of the Mystic Rose, No-Mind and Born Again meditation therapy groups. I say ‘the’, and not ‘his’, because as his people we were part of exploring or partially even co-developing the new processes. I felt so privileged to participate in the very first of each of these groups in the commune. These processes were all wild in a way and always leading to an even deeper, often much deepened level of silence and meditation. Exceptional was the experience of laughing and crying on a collective level during the Mystic Rose – which was overwhelming as an immanent experience that the collective actually does exist. And that the inner child is always intact and very much alive in every adult was brought to light in the Born Again groups. The gibberish and let-go meditations conducted by Osho in Buddha Hall at the end of the daily evening meetings were profound and exquisite, unlike anything else.
Now and then I sent jokes for the discourses to Osho and sometimes small personal questions when in need of his guidance. There was always an answer. I still have those little pieces of paper, in pastel yellow with a watermark, still folded in three. The answer was written on a typewriter in the middle of the note and folded in such a way that it was invisible from the outside. One’s name was typed on the front. Most questions were about my meditation practice. I had had a physical issue during the last phase of the Mystic Rose group which I had shared in one of my notes, asking for advice regarding the process. When months later I asked him for guidance when I was about to return to the West, Osho still remembered my issue and included it in his answer.
Hide and Seek
The commune had expanded and now included a beautifully-shaped swimming pool, tennis courts, the wonderful Teerth Park and much more. Osho was generous in so many ways and I felt we were all showered with his blessings. And there was also the challenge of his absence. The chair was empty before his arrival for the evening meeting in Buddha Hall (and he claimed that the chair was also empty when he was sitting there). I tried to assimilate this: The chair is empty even now, the chair will remain empty one day. Osho was always coming to the meetings, but then there was a period of weeks when he didn’t and nobody knew the reason. When one day he returned, he spoke of his health deterioration and that only the love of his sannyasins had kept him alive. I knew, one day, the chair would be carried inside Buddha Hall and remain empty.
There were times when I could not sit at his feet. For a while some of the sniffers thought that my shampoo was too intense and I had to stay outside and watch the discourse on a video screen on Krishna House roof. I was heartbroken each time. And the incredible thing was that I used exactly the same shampoo as everyone else! Humbly I sat there with those who had a cold and thought: “I’m here, I’m really sitting here in his presence, just at a little wider distance than those in Buddha Hall.” I knew that this was a good practice to anticipate his not being in the body any more. And I also had to return to the West again and again.
It was not always easy to leave. One time it was especially troublesome for me and I took a counselling session regarding my difficulty. I was told, “He wants you to come and go.” I knew that Osho wanted his sannyasins to be in the world. But every so often he said, “Come back, and stay a little longer.” And I received a note from him: “Blessings. Being in the world is an opportunity to crystallize all that you have experienced here, so relax, enjoy and be watchful.” And there were also many evenings when I sat in a front seat. Some of them I received for the last discourse before departure. I vividly recall a third row seat right in front of Osho’s chair. After discourse, moving his arms up and down, breathtakingly fast, he stopped them suddenly when lifted, and we all shouted “Yahoo!” and so did he while he looked into my eyes, holding contact for a long time before continuing again with the music. An overwhelmingly beautiful heart energy exchanged between us, a blessing from the master. A message to remain in a space of pure celebration, no matter what life brings. How does Osho manage to have a direct and deep connection with each and every one of his people?
So much is Possible
Not only the separations were challenging. Going through transformational processes, I occasionally experienced uncommon states of being. One particular time, I felt as if I was separate from all and everything throughout the day. I watched and waited quite some time for that peculiar state to dissolve. It didn’t. One day I decided that it was enough and to send a note to Osho, describing my condition. Waiting for his answer, I anticipated something like: “Try this session” or “that process,” or “do Dynamic Meditation every morning for three weeks.”
The little piece of folded paper addressed to me was finally waiting in the pile of notes inside the little wooden box where the answers were kept. I searched for a quiet spot behind Buddha Hall, unfolded the message and read: “Blessings – this is a beautiful insight, the whole conditioning is for separation.” Wham! The whole thing disappeared in a single moment. The note continued with the suggestion of putting my whole energy into meditation and ended with: “So much is possible.” Osho’s clarity and unconditional love had simply wiped it away. I should have asked much sooner.
Illustration by the author – read the whole series: Jewels on the Path by Radhika