Fatima remembers a darshan in Sumila House, Juhu after Osho’s return to India.
“Rajneesh is back!”… “Rajneesh comes home!” screamed tabloids into a sultry afternoon of Bombay. My room was suddenly abuzz with a phone call; it was Ma Darshan verifying the screeches of the tabloids: “About thirty of us have been asked to meet Bhagwan at Sumila, the villa in Juhu where he will reside during his sojourn in Bombay. Be on time,” she warned, and hung up.
Bhagwan back in India! Ecstatic to the extreme, I landed in Juhu well before the appointed hour. A sannyasin led me to a room with a sofa at one end and, facing it, a few rows of chairs. After four unbearable years of his absence, Bhagwan was now just a few minutes’ away from me! I was thrilled to the bone.
Gradually, sannyasins trickled in and filled the room. I had my eyes glued to the door awaiting the arrival of my beloved Bhagwan. Minutes weighed upon me like hours, and then suddenly, there he was, framed in the doorway, glowing in his divinity. His hands joined in a namaste, he made it slowly to his sofa.
When he started to speak, I was in for a shock. He was barely audible! Oh God, has he gone that frail? I broke down, with sobs and tears taking turns on my face. Slowly, minute by minute, he regained his voice and treated us to a short discourse in his uniquely inimitable style.
He then called Swami Manu to his side and whispered some inaudibles to him. Manu walked up to me and said that Bhagwan wanted to see each one of my drawings and paintings that I had done during his absence. He also wanted me to arrange his press interviews.
Back in my room, I called up journalists and fixed their dates. Given the mediocrity of our press, these interviews never excited me. It is not often that one gets to meet a great enlightened Master like Bhagwan. Instead of asking him about his sannyas, his enlightenment and such, they come up with silly, inane questions like “Why did Vinod Khanna leave your fold?”, “Why do you give sannyas to non-Indians?”, etc. But interviews had to be done anyway as people wanted to know about Bhagwan’s stay abroad.
After the third interview, Bhagwan, accompanied by Ma Hansa, was retiring to his room when Hansa gestured for me to wait. On her return, she brought me an invite that had me on Cloud Nine! She said that Bhagwan wanted to meet me tomorrow afternoon! That night and the next morning of my wait were sheer torture. Then, with the first brush of a hot, humid afternoon, I hopped into a cab and made it to Juhu.
Besides me, there were three other sannyasins awaiting Bhagwan’s call. Shortly, Ma Neelam appeared and asked Swami Chaitanya Bodhisattva (aka Jayanti bhai) to Bhagwan’s room.
Next, it was my turn. I stood by the door, taking in the sparsely furnished room with Bhagwan seated in his easy chair. The air was calm and meditative. As I walked up to his chair, Bhagwan extended his hands to me. I took those soft, velvety hands in mine and placed my face in his palms. I could have stayed thus for an eternity but for Neelam’s desperate whisper, “Fatima, please!” I raised my face to Bhagwan’s glowing, divine presence and had a taste of heaven.
With his angelic smile, he pointed me to a place next to Jayanti bhai. As I squatted, he asked me if I was doing well with my assignments. “Yes, Bhagwan, but for the stale questions reporters ask you.” “Yes, they are very repetitive,” he said softly.
Entered Swami Prakasham, a sober, amiable sannyasin. He came and sat at Bhagwan’s feet, head-bent and tongue-tied. Lastly, it was a Ma who came with a question. Bhagwan gave his reply, and with that, we were dismissed. I watched my feet walk my body out of Bhagwan’s room but my heart stayed behind. Forever and forever.
My beloved Master.
I am always at your feet.
Ma Prem Fatima