The call of the willow tree


Aruna and Punya remember magical moments on Nirvana Road.

willow tree

We were living in one of the three trailers along Nirvana Road. Each bedroom with two futons on the floor, the whole place with thick wall-to-wall carpets, fake wood-panelled walls, like most trailers on the Ranch. We loved it there.

Aruna remembers that one evening while they were having tea together on the porch and listening to some music, Punya suddenly said, “Aruna, maybe you will believe this since you are Indian and have started playing with those Tarot cards… What I want to tell you is… I felt a tree was calling me.”

“Where exactly was that?” asked Aruna.

“At the crossroads into Nirvana Road. I was driving my taxi truck so could not stop.”

“Opposite Jesus Grove?”

“Yes,” Punya replied. “How do you know?”

“It seems like it has been trying to call me too, since quite a while…”

Nirvana Road had been built specially for our Master so that after his drive out to Madras he could return home straight to Lao Tzu House without encountering traffic in downtown Rajneeshpuram. It was practically running parallel to the bus route to Magdalena, on the other side of the creek. There was an unwritten rule that we would use that road only if absolutely necessary or if you lived in those trailers.

After having totally forgotten about this conversation with Aruna, one night when Punya was walking home after a late shift as a bus driver, she felt as if one of the trees was calling her. As if the tree had little fingers that could catch a piece of her clothes. Even if it was dark it was reassuring, not scary.

She thought that maybe Osho liked that tree in particular and looked at it when he drove by, but these were just rationalisations. Nevertheless, every day on her walk home she stopped at the tree and bathed in the lovely feeling. She started to call that energy ‘the squaw’s grandmother’.

And to Aruna something wonderful happened when Osho drove back one day from his drive – that would have been around 3.30 pm – his daily routine! Her break from work at the restaurant was around the same time and while walking home on Nirvana Road, she suddenly heard a very soft voice, “Arunaaa…!” as if someone was calling her. She turned around to see, “Who is calling me on this lonely road?”

There was nobody and so she continued to walk and forgot all about it! The following day – again – the same thing happened. Someone called, “Arunaaa!” This time, she tried to pay more attention to where the voice was coming from. To her surprise, it was coming from one of the trees! She turned back and gave the tree a hug and continued her walk.

On the third day again, the tree! – now her friend – actually yelled at her, loudly, “ARUNA!” She went back and gave the tree a longer hug and stood underneath it for a little while. Then the miracle happened. She saw Osho’s car approaching. He was returning from his drive. He waved at her, smiled at her …actually giggled, in fact he stopped the car, rolled down the window – as if he already knew what was going to happen.

In gratitude, with tears in her eyes Aruna bowed down to her beloved Master and her friend, the tree, also bent its branches, over her head towards Osho… as if it had been waiting for a long time to find the right moment to greet him! At this moment Osho, the Tree, and Aruna, all three were One!

After that day, the tree never called Aruna by her name, in fact she hugged it every single day without fail! They were both overwhelmed with the Master’s blessings.

Punya visited the Ranch a year after it had been closed, to see one of her friends who was there taking care of the place while it was being sold. She did not forget to go and visit ‘her’ tree. The willow tree was there but it seemed ‘grandmother’ had moved on, as if her work was done there and could move elsewhere.


Aruna gives individual Tarot Reading and workshops. She is presently living in India.


Punya is the founder of Osho News, author of many interviews and of her memoir On the Edge.

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