Osho sent me on a journey to the other side of The Wall

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The adventurous history of his sannyas, by Samudroprem.

Samudro in St. Petersburg, 2001
2001 October in St. Petersburg, Russia at the Neva River at night. My 2nd year of visiting Russia

I am in East Berlin, it is 1985, Bhagwan has sent me to East Berlin to teach meditation to the people who live on the Communist side of Germany. An East German soldier tries to stop me, a struggle ensues, he is about to shoot me…. But I escape and now I am on an airplane flying back to Oregon. Halfway over the Atlantic Ocean, a mysterious voice says into my ear, “But Bhagwan is no longer there.” I wake up from this prophetic dream – induced by a high fever – and the nurse from Home Care, in Rajneeshpuram, brings me a mug of hot ginger-lemon tea and tells me the news: Bhagwan has been arrested in North Carolina, on the other side of USA.

After a few weeks, Osho would be deported; and just a couple of days later I am also on a flight, over the Atlantic, back to Hamburg, Germany. In the following years this dream has turned out to be prophetic in other ways that I could not imagine at the time. But first let me retrace my journey.

I was born in England. I came across Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s books and meditations at the age of 19. As soon as I could, I flew to India and felt ‘at home at last’ as soon as I stepped out of the airplane door into the scorching heat and horrid stench of Bombay.

India was repulsive to the physical senses, and, to my shy English-conditioned mind, the place even seemed dangerous – but I had come to meet my spiritual master, and would certainly get enlightened soon! At my Sannyas darshan I was overwhelmed by Osho’s energetic presence, and was sure he was seeing deeper into my soul than I myself ever had. My mind was racing like a stampede of horses and I did not hear him ask me, “And how long will you be here?” Shiva, the bodyguard, shook me out from my spaced-out state, as Osho repeated the question and added, “Mmm, do many groups!”

And so, I did – as many as I could until my money ran out. Centering was just a few fun days; Enlightenment Intensive was a great breakthrough of awakening awareness; but in the Inner Journey group another participant, a tall Australian swami, took adamant advantage of the new rule to “only hit other people with pillows.” Even without his fists I still got a bloody split lip. I was shocked – I had come to India to meditate with an enlightened guru, not to be picked on by bullies again as I had in my childhood! I nearly ran away at that point, but an inner voice told me to persevere and to trust Bhagwan.

So I booked more groups: Bioenergetics (pain, pain and more pain), Massage (ah, so nice), Tantra (scary and surprisingly funny, but I still felt inhibited by my shyness). So I forced myself to finally face my fears and do the dreaded Encounter group. Yet actually, apart from avoiding the fights of others, what I mostly remember was the loving tenderness of the group assistant Gambeera, as well as Teertha’s insights and support for me to just be myself: “It is no use for a deer to try to become a lion.”

Fast-forward past the years working in Mariam Canteen, returning to England and joining the Medina Commune, where after a year in construction I landed the coveted job of barman. I was really loving the life of being a sannyasin, and by showing enthusiasm when Sheela came to announce the merging of the European Communes, I was chosen as one of the first four to be sent to disco-based communes in Germany: firstly to Hanover, and later to Hamburg.

Despite being a model surrendered sannyasin, I felt isolated in Germany. Not because of the language, but because I could see Bhagwan only once a year during the short summer festivals at Rajneeshpuram. The possibility of being selected for the RHT (Rajneesh Humanities Trust) could mean going to the Ranch for 3 months. So many of my friends had already been, and had returned with glowing tans and auras – but again and again I was told it was not my turn.

Eventually, one day when I did not expect it, Sampat, the new Hanover commune leader, sat me down and informed me, “You are going to the Ranch! You are going to join the Counsellor Training. You are going to become a therapist!”

“What?” I replied, “but I hate groups!”

“Well, do you want to go or not?”

“Of course, I will go.” Even my trepidation at becoming a group participant again after so many years, would not put me off from finally getting those precious three months on the Ranch – most importantly, to be in Bhagwan’s wondrous presence again. For me, Commune life was never the attraction to be a sannyasin; there was only one reason, and that was to be in my Master’s presence, to imbibe his spirit, to dissolve into blissful devotion.

Those of us who were blessed to be there during those glorious days of Osho’s enlightened presence know how futile words are to convey an indescribable experience. The energy of Osho’s Buddhafield was tangible to my senses. On the bus trip from Antelope to Rajneeshpuram, as we drove over the hill at “the Top of the Ranch,” Osho’s blissful yet peaceful aura began. Sitting in a discourse or Satsang was like sunbathing in that golden aura. Perhaps others who came to the Commune and became sannyasins had their own motivations. But as I saw it, we were definitely not brainwashed into being in a cult against our own free will.

(Yet, in respect to those who were children at the time and had no choice but to be there, it is understandable that many of them recount a very different and painful experience. Now it is with great remorse that I wonder if, out of naïveté, I had any part in making any moment of our experimental commune life a cause of hurt for anyone else there. In retrospect, there were many mistakes made by many of us as we immersed ourselves in the “Experiment to Provoke God.” Many years later I have come to understand the energies that we were immersed in through living a communal life, especially from a Chakra Energy perspective. But that would require a separate article.)

There I was standing in a group room again after five years, and being the longest-term sannyasin present – but feeling like the new kid in the class. But, wow, what a three-month experience that was! I joined as a 25-year-old boy, but left as a grown man. Group after group after group, 12 hours a day, with days off at the Ranch farm. That was my commune job!

I had expected to be in construction again, but no, I had been sent as an experiment – to train as a new type of therapist. Not one who wanted to be a group leader, as proof of their charisma, or because they had already studied psychotherapy or psychology as a university degree. But it seems I was chosen because in those dark winter months after a full night’s shift in the disco I did Dynamic Meditation for myself. And in the early evenings, which were our mornings, before our shift began, we had 2 hours of watching the latest video of Osho talking (after he had resumed talking in 1984).

The video discourses were my life-saver, I sat bolt upright in the middle of the room, hanging onto every word Osho was saying. It was renewing my sense of purpose for being in the Commune… but others slumped against the walls to catch up on some much-needed sleep. Thus, it seemed I was gathering a bit of a reputation for being spiritual or meditative and thus a candidate for the Counsellor Training scholarship. Whatever the reason, I was delighted to stay on the Ranch and even have front seats in discourses as a silver-beaded mala-wearing commune worker (in the non-Ranch communes we got a silver rather than a brass bead, as a very minor compensation!)

As another stroke of good fortune, I fractured my arm! It was around the time that Sheela had left – with all that drama in the atmosphere – and I had been doing the daily Dynamic Meditation for over two months at 101% totality. I fell off a bicycle going down the slope between the two ponds near Osho’s house. So then I could skip Dynamic and get a closer seat in the morning discourse, and often I chose to sit close to Osho’s mother, which was an extra blessing.

After the Counsellor Course finished, I was again so fortunate – I was gifted an extra 3-week esoteric course, all paid for by the European Commune. And then that fateful day came when Osho was finally deported and the dream of our commune began to fall like the first snow in that mid-November 1985 in Oregon. Coincidentally, it was the very last day of the last group, and I asked Sagarpriya her opinion of me as a possible group leader. She simply asked me, “What does your heart say?” I placed a hand on the centre of my chest to feel my heart and it replied, “Yes.”

A few days later, I was back in Hamburg leading meditations, Bioenergetic evening events and giving individual therapy sessions. But as the Commune had decided to close and less people were coming, and giving Palmistry reading in Zorba the Buddha restaurant only paid for a few cups of coffee, I had to take a break from my budding therapist career.

Fast-forward again, past a return to England whilst Osho was in Uruguay, until it is January 1987 and news arrives of Osho returning to Pune. I bought the next flight to Mumbai and was soon back in Commune life and leading meditations in Buddha Hall. Turiya remembered me from the Counsellor Course and invited me to be the first general group assistant.

Thus, for the next 6 months I had my internship: watching and absorbing the personal skills of group-leading from Vasumati, Rafia, Anam, Ramateertha, Purna, Prasad, Pradeepa, Gopal, Leela, Salila, Wadud and Waduda. I was soon leading the Awareness Intensives… and later on Breath groups and Intuition of the Heart.

I then had to return to Europe to earn some money, but again and again Osho and groups was my destiny. There are so many incredible experiences of those years of being in Osho’s presence, the amazing sense of being part of a team of experimenters in new forms of meditations and therapy. I learned so much from my three principal teachers: Wadud (truly a wizard), Waduda (Queen of the Heart) and Sagarpriya (the most respected therapist for therapists).

From them I learned about the Chakra system, even though their concepts and methodologies differed, and the teachers were placed in different faculties of the developing Multiversity. Later on, I incorporated the Aura Soma colour system into my understanding of the chakra work. This beautiful method has become one of my major specialities.

2001 October in St. Petersburg, Russia, Childhood Therapy group. My 2nd year of visiting Russia
2003 Moscow, 1st Chakra,group, My first visit to Moscow
2009 Ufa, RCB Childhood Therapy
2009 Ufa, RCB Childhood Therapy party
2009 August in Crimea, Fresh Beginnings Two, Sexual Deconditioning
2011 in Crimea, 4th Chaka on a hill top in Crimea
2018 in Kyiv, 1st Chakra group in a hotel that was bombed by Russians in 2022 *

Another leap in the storyline to the year 2000, when I was invited to present childhood and past-life therapy groups in St. Petersburg, Russia. That was just the beginning of a wild adventure of being a group leader in 13 cities throughout Russia, spending up to six months a year there, even buying two apartments and building a retreat centre – that later burned down! If I had to choose a single word to describe the 21 years of visiting and living in Russia, it would be: intensity.

Ukraine is also a major part of my fate and destiny. Before the war I would travel so frequently between the two ex-USSR nations, that sometimes I could not remember if I was in Kyiv or Moscow or Ufa or Crimea, especially as often the same participants would follow me from group to group and the translator spoke the same language, Russian. There were also groups in Lviv in Western Ukraine and occasional visits to Lithuania and Latvia.

For 9 months per year, for 20+ years, I had been fully in the ex-USSR, presenting intensive therapy groups. I have seen so much of the collective unconscious that the populations of these nations experience! I noted in those years that many of the people did not follow the news or watch as many films as the average Westerner did, because their daily life was so intense and often tragic that to learn of what other people in other parts of the world were passing through was just so banal in comparison.

The ex-Soviet people, and especially Russians, are intensity-addicts. They often talk about wanting a “bright experience” because their society has created a dullness, especially in the workplace. Soviet conditioning also stifled individual creativity. Even in the 21st century, the atmosphere of offices is similar to a conveyor belt factory, and the red-tape bureaucracy is still Communist red.

As in Osho Therapy and Active Meditations we teach totality as one of the key principles for transformation, Russian-speakers in groups were so willing to do everything 1000%. Sometimes I experimented with extending the time of the third stage of Dynamic from 10 to 15 or 20 minutes, and they would just keep jumping without hesitation.

Leading groups was like being back in Pune One again. And this was my greatest attraction to continue returning to Russia and Ukraine: to have a group of participants who are so willing and enthusiastic to practice any deep psychotherapy technique with such totality, providing an environment for powerful transformation.

I present groups and trainings in five directions of my work with people: Chakra Energies; Childhood & Past Lives; Conscious Love, Sex & Tantra; Intuitive Sciences; and Meditation. In Meditation, it is the “Stream” or series of Chakra groups, that are most in demand, especially for the masculine, active chakras.

The First and Third Chakra groups involve multiple physically and emotionally intensive methods. As does the Fifth Chakra which, I discovered, is the one that is most damaged by Communist conditioning; whereas in the West the Third Chakra is regarded as the most damaged chakra due to power issues and the social pressure to express oneself. Authoritarian regimes repress the throat chakra themes of freedom of speech and individualist creativity. It is very dangerous to speak out against the establishment. People who spoke freely were jailed, or sent to the Siberian tundra, never to be seen again.

All my therapy groups evolved to respond to the deep wounds that hundreds of years of Tsarist, and then Communist, authoritarianism had caused. When I brought the Forth Chakra group to Moscow in 2004, I began to lead it in the familiar “Intuition of the Heart” style that I had learned from Waduda – but it was not working. Participants gave me the feedback that it was the most difficult group for them because it was too subtle. They wanted, but just could not feel, the fine qualities of their heart chakras.

So, I thought about what the colours indicate about the heart chakra. Green is the colour of nature and balance, but it is also the colour of jealousy. It is “the Green-Eyed Monster,” also “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.” Even the Chinese say one who has been cuckolded (their lover had sex with someone else) “wears the green hat.” Although in Russian green is more associated with despondency, I did introduce exercises to release the emotional wounds of jealousy and betrayal. After such deep emotional releases we were finally able to move onto the more subtle heart chakra energy exercises that require empathy and intuition, like ‘heart telephone’ and ‘senses absorbing in the heart.’

The ex-Soviet people are like the proverbial hard chocolate with a soft centre; i.e., emotionally exoskeletal, a hard shell protecting a vulnerable core. Although that can also be said about many nationalities, it is just more intensely true for those born on the other side of the Berlin Wall. Oddly enough, it was only recently that I remembered my prophetic dream that had come to me one night 15 years before I had set foot in those countries. Although from 1993 till 2000, in between my trips back to Pune, I was exclusively working as a therapist in Taiwan with Chinese Mandarin speakers; and after 2000 also in Hong Kong with Cantonese people. Now I wonder, if those travels that were even further east than the Iron Curtain, have been also part of the dream’s message.

Well, everything is changing now. The covid pandemic brought a new current into the flowing river of life. I am now based in Turkiye. I came here on holiday in between lockdowns with my beloved who is from Ukraine. We instantly liked the Mediterranean lifestyle here and bought an apartment. Tanmaya now helps in organisation of my courses, which we present twice a year in Turkiye, as well as in Northern Cyprus and Armenia – where many Russians have emigrated to.

The war is spreading the intelligentsia of Russia around the world. Every one I have met is not in favour of Putin’s war, and they intermingle peacefully with the Ukrainian refugees. In the Russian-speaking diaspora there is still a sense of brotherliness that used to pervade all Soviet countries; it was one of the positive qualities of Communism. In my last group in Cyprus, we had Russian, Ukrainian, and Kazakhstani participants. They are all just people, who happen to speak the same language.

Personally, I always loved Osho’s vision of a humanity living without borders, without identities based on nationality, religion or race. One of the great assets of Osho Multiversity groups in Pune and in Oregon was that we had many nationalities participating together. That helped us realise that we are in essence all human, and it is only our conditioning that separates us.

It is a tragedy to see nations further divided. To see that even families are split by a war caused by the ego identity of politicians, supported by their priests who bless soldiers and their tanks. The war has also caused a schism in the Orthodox Christian Churches of Moscow and Kyiv. Despite the warnings Osho gave to us about the power of the priests and the politicians as the “Mafia of the Soul,” they are once again causing painful divisions. Regretfully, I see that the Osho Neo-Sannyas community is also still split down the Westerner-Indian divide, concerning the situation of the Koregoan Park property. It is sad to see that even Osho sannyasins cannot find a way to stop blaming each other.

The Berlin Wall was pulled down, but there is still so much more for us to do to remove the psychological walls that separate humans from humans, and humans from nature and the oneness of the universal existence. Sometimes I ask Osho, “Do I still have to work with the people from the other side of the wall? When are you going to send me to somewhere like Hawaii?” The Osho in my heart replies, “There are still so many walls everywhere, including in yourself. Cross over those barriers, then you are doing my work wherever you are.”

Note: names change over time; Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh became Osho; Poona became Pune; Bombay became Mumbai; Wadud became Prasad; Waduda became Leela; Swami Phil became Sarovara who became Samudroprem.

* The destruction of that hotel, where I and many Osho group leaders had many groups before the war can be found at nytimes.com ($) and the photos of how the front of the hotel Babushkin Sad and its rebuilt state now can be found on Trip Advisor


Samudro is the director of IMAP – The International Multiversity of Awakening Psychology, with diplomas in Psychology and Counselling. AwakenIMAP@gmail.comtaplink.ccinstagram.comfacebook.com

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