A true story by cheeky Nirav.
A few days ago, Julia, a new friend in the community where I live, asked me, “Why did Osho have so many Rolls-Royces? I don’t understand.”
She sounded disturbed at the idea, and I could see that those cars, although long gone, were a barrier between her and Osho. She could not see past the cars.
I told her that those Rolls were probably a simple device that Osho created years ago to show people how greedy and jealous they were. “Everything that I have done in my life has a purpose,” Osho had said, “it is a device to bring out something in you of which you are not aware.” And, “The function of a master is very strange. He has to help you come to an understanding of your inner structure of consciousness: it is full of jealousy.” 1
My friend didn’t seem convinced that 93 Roll-Royces were needed to teach people about jealousy. And anyway, who were those people loaded with so much greed?
I gently changed the subject, and we soon found ourselves singing and playing music together.
We are a loving and aware community of friends after all; many of us have been with Osho for years, many are renowned meditation leaders who spent years with Osho while he was in his body. We care about each other. Why should we bother about old Rolls-Royces?
The next evening after dinner, I noticed with frustration that I was feeling that Julia’s question had not really been answered – it was nagging inside me. The only relevant understanding, I thought, would need to come from a direct experience with greed and jealousy, here and now.
While sipping a glass of red wine, feeling mischievous and provocative, I grabbed my phone and wrote a little message in our local WhatsApp community group: “Brand new iPhone to give away for free. PM if you want it”.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into as I jokingly posted those few words, and it took me a few minutes to realize that I had intuitively looked for a direct and present-day experience that would answer Julia’s question.
I had hardly pressed the “Enter” button than my phone started to ring. And ring. And ring. Messages were arriving at the speed of light, and I received more phone calls in those first three minutes than I had in the last month. Suddenly, there was a queue of love hearts and rose flowers from people who usually take 48 hours to answer my messages. A friend who had not found it necessary to answer when on Christmas day I had called him with an emergency and who the previous week had commented against advertising my new creative venture on this platform, suddenly sent me messages sweet enough to break a lover’s heart.
Friends who just two weeks ago over dinner in their million-dollar house had remarked that they had more money than they could use, suddenly needed a new iPhone more than anyone else here; everyone used their talents to communicate an urgent need for my phone, with a blend of pressure, subtle ass-licking and guilt-tripping verbosity. “I wonder if I am the first person who sent you a message,” said one who had been among the first to show his interest, “and maybe I can come and collect it tomorrow if that’s the case.” I shook my head, wondering if I had mentioned somewhere that the first person to show up would qualify for the iPhone. But No I had not. What if I had other criteria for choosing the winner, like someone who really needed a phone but couldn’t afford one? By not specifying such a qualification, though, I’d left an open field.
I let the phone ring and the messages come, but I didn’t answer any of them. About fifteen minutes later, in a state of shock and about to puke my dinner, I wrote a short notice back on the group: “I wish I had 20 of them to give away, but it was just the one, and it’s gone.”
I turned off the phone and crashed down onto my sofa.
As I sat there staring at the night outside, I remembered Osho telling us about Wasco County’s Bishop, who for almost five years had been condemning his Rolls Royces. The day Osho was leaving Oregon, he received a letter from that same Bishop that read, “Now that you are leaving, it will be great kindness on your part if you can donate one Rolls-Royce to this church.” When Osho informed him, “Would you like all ninety-three, or only one?” a letter soon came, “If you can give all ninety-three, that is just the right thing. You are really great. I’m very sorry that I condemned you for five years. You are a man to be worshipped.”
And Osho commented, “It is a very strange world if you understand people: whatever they are saying shows more about them than it shows about the person they are talking about. Those cars fulfilled their purpose. They created jealousy in the whole of America, in all the super-rich people. If they were intelligent enough, then rather than being my enemies, they would have come to me to find a way to get rid of their jealousy – because it is their problem. Jealousy is a fire that burns you and burns you badly.” 2
The morning following my experiment, I bumped into Julia on the beach. “Hey Nirav, I saw your post about the iPhone last night, and I immediately sent you three messages. Why didn’t you answer? Did you give it to someone else? I really needed a new phone. Who did you give it to?” I could feel her distress and covert anger as more and more questions arose.
I took her hand and stayed with her while she calmed down.
“You remember how you asked me about Osho’s Rolls-Royces the other day,” I said, “well, it was an excellent question, and I felt that I didn’t answer you properly.” I paused for a moment, looked at her and continued, “I never had an iPhone to give away. I was just being mischievous.”
Julia stared at me in disbelief, stepped back, took a few moments to recover, and then hugged me. I could see with delight that she had finally gotten the message.
My little experiment, spontaneous and accidental, not only answered Julia’s question, but it showed me once again how our shadows are insidious and never very deep. Yes, it is easy to see cracks in people I don’t appreciate, but heavy-duty devices are often needed to see crippling limitations in myself and those I love.
Osho predicted that he would only be contemporary in 200 years. Meanwhile, his Rolls-Royces are just around the corner – parked in our very backyards.
Source of quotes:
1 – Osho, Beyond Psychology, Ch 9 , Q 1
2 – Osho, The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here, Ch 12, Q 2
Illustration credit to Naveen