18 January 2017

Chapter Eleven

Written by Prem Shunyo, Posted in Diamond days with Osho

Nepal

Chapter Eleven


I could feel the magic of Nepal before the plane
landed, and I whispered, "I'm coming home!" The
airport officials were gentle, smiling people, the
people in the street had the most beautiful faces I
had seen anywhere in the world, and although
Nepal is poorer than India, they have a dignity and
bearing that denies this.
The road to Pokhara wound through lush green
jungle and when I got out to take a pee I walked
entranced into a grove where a small waterfall
cascaded down to a pool surrounded by rocks,
orchids wrapped themselves around trees like
huge spiders, and a small stream curved out of
sight into a mysterious looking dell. "Chetana!
Chetana!" My name was being called and I was
torn away from the magic spell. The van we were
in, driven by two Nepali sannyasins who had met
us at the airport, climbed up and down mountains
that overlooked neatly layered rice fields, bamboo
groves and gorges with fierce rushing rivers.
It was dark when we arrived at the commune in
Pokhara fourteen hours later. Very dark – there
was no electricity! We entered the dining room
carrying a bottle of vodka and asked that it be put
in the fridge, please. Maybe alcohol had never
been on the premises before. I looked around and
saw that the twenty or so sannyasins who lived
there were either Indian or Nepali, and mostly men.
The dining room was sixty feet long, with bare
concrete walls and floor. It was empty except for
the serving pots at one end and at the far, far other
end was a table and chair where Swami Yoga
Chinmaya sat. He was the commune leader and
"guru" to the residents, who made certain that
nobody entered the dining hall by "Swamiji's"
entrance. We were told that in respect no one said
his name, but called him Swamiji. But to us he was
Chinmaya, just as he always had been and he had
no objection to that. He had no objection to
anything that we did actually. he was treated as a
guru and he just said yes, and when we came
along and treated him like anyone else, he said yes
to that too. Chinmaya certainly has a presence; he
always moves very slowly and very rarely shows
much expression on his face. He represents the
holy man of maybe one thousand years ago. He
has been a disciple of Osho's since the early
Bombay days when he worked as Osho's
secretary. I noticed him ten years earlier in Poona,
when he and his girlfriend shaved their heads and
declared they were celibate.
Osho's sannyasins are from every country in the
world; here there are no nations. And every religion
in the world has been dropped at His feet; here
there are no Hindus, Christians, Mohammedans,
Jews. Every type of individual possible is here, all
mixed up in the cosmic cooking pot, from punky
teenagers to old sadhus; from young
revolutionaries to ancient aristocracy; the simple
person to the jetsetter, business man to
artistÉevery color of the rainbow meets here and
disappears in a prism of white light.
When I saw the diners sitting on the floor facing
each other with a distance of twenty feet between
each other, and the communal showers and
bathroom, open air and with no hot water, followed
by the rooms we were to sleep in, so small, bare
bricks and mattresses on the floor – I saw that this
was a completely different gig to what I was used
to, and would demand all the meditation I could
muster.
Next morning, as I found my way to the toilets
across a small patch of grass, I turned and saw the
himalayas. From where I stood three quarters of
the horizon was mountain peaks. They were not on
the horizon actually, they were neither of earth or
heaven, but in between. The snow-covered peaks
were suspended in the sky and they looked so
close that I felt I could touch them. As the sun rose
it touched the highest mountain first and turned it
pink, then gold before it moved on to the next. I
watched the sun rising on the himalayas one by
one and shook my head in wonder – why had no
one ever told me ? I had always thought the
himalayas were just a range of mountains, but they
are not! I watched, spell-bound, as the mountains
in the sky changed colors and threw my senses
into new dimensions. Without any doubt, I knew I
was going to be very happy here.
Days passed without any news of Osho. I would
look at the mountain range and think of him on just
the other side. A plan went through my mind to
take a bus into India through the mountains to Kulu
and arrive just in time for Osho's walk around the
Span garden, namaste him, and return to Pokhara.
Asheesh and I talked of our concern for Osho's
safety, even though we were happy that He was in
the gentle and capable hands of Neelam. Our fear
was that we might never see him again.
Weeks passed without any news, but we were well
into the swing of our monastic life. The land around
the commune was fascinating, and we went on
walks passing places where the land had been
washed away by rivers, leaving cliffs three hundred
feet high. Carefully approaching the edge I could
see cows grazing below, and rocks that had once
supported great waterfalls standing still, marked
forever and worn away by the once rushing water.
A gash in the ground would reveal, hundreds of
feet below, a small trickle of a stream. It would be
so easy to fall into one of these holes and never be
found, as indeed, had happened to one German
visitor.
I soon began to enjoy the morning ritual of washing
clothes and body in the open air, and even became
accustomed to a diet that included chillies for
breakfast. The sannyasins at the commune were
innocent, gentle people and we made a few very
good friends. Chinmaya was a genial host, and
though he was very spiritual, his sidekick
Krishnananda was a wild Nepali man with a flowing
mane of black hair, flaring nostrils, and a great love
of speed on his motorbike.
The challenge that I was facing of being in the
unknown, uncertain whether I would ever see Osho
again, made me realize that I had to live Osho. I
had to live as he had been teaching me to – totally
and in the moment. This brought a great feeling of
acceptance and peace and I might well have been
living there today, in a village maybe, quietly,
alone, if it hadn't happened that:
One evening while we were having dinner
Krishnananda rushed in and throwing himself in the
air shouted out the news that Osho was coming to
Nepal! – tomorrow! We didn't even take one more
bite of dinner, but rushed to pack and the whole
commune crowded into two vans and we were on
our way to Kathmandu.
The next morning, having moved into the Soaltei Oberoi
Hotel with Vivek, Rafia and Devaraj, where they had been
based while trying to find a house or
palace for Osho, we all made for the airport.
Arun was the Nepali sannyasin
who ran the meditation center in Kathmandu,
and he had gone to great lengths to arrange a spectacular
greeting for Osho. It was Nepali tradition to
line the streets with brass pots filled with local flowers, for royalty.
The local police were in fact miffed, saying that we should
not use the pots and flowers because only the King
should receive such a welcome. Sannyasins in red and
hundreds of onlookers lined the streets and the
airport entrance. The plane touched down, a white mercedes
pulled up in front of the exit for Osho:
the crowd pushed forward, everyone got
very excited and started throwing flowers in the air,
and then Osho walked through the glass doors of
the airport, waved and disappeared into the car.
We all raced off to the Oberoi where Osho was to
stay in a suite on the fourth floor, with Vivek and
Rafia in the room opposite him. Rafia had
performed an intricate operation of wiring up an
alarm system in Osho's room, so that if he should
want anything, he could call Vivek. It was about
midnight when the hotel security guard came
across Rafia on his knees, in the corridor with the
carpet pulled up, wiring the two rooms together.
Mukti and I shared a room on the floor below that
was to become half kitchen and half laundry room.
There were three big kitchen trunks and bags of
rice and dhal, baskets of fruit and vegetables, and
that was only half the room. The other half was full
of the whole laundry paraphernalia.
We arranged with the very accommodating hotel
staff that Mukti would cook for Osho in the hotel
kitchen. She had her own portion of the kitchen
where no meat would be left around and it would
be kept especially clean for her. I would be
washing Osho's clothes in the hotel laundry with
about fifty Nepali men. They were great people and
used to clean out the machine for me before I
arrived and wait, even after their work hours, to see
that everything was okay. Then I would take the
robes, carrying them up in the lift, high in the air on
large teak hangers, to the amusement of guests
and the staff. In our bedroom I used to iron on the
bed, amidst the increasing baskets of fruit and
vegetables that sannyasins were bringing as gifts
for Osho. The food in Nepal was inferior in quality
because of the poverty of the land, and Mukti, now
assisted by Ashu, was making plans for importing
vegetables and fruits from India. Meanwhile, the
Nepali sannyasins shopped at the crack of dawn in
the vegetable markets and with great joy, arrived
each day with the best of everything they could buy
for Osho.
The day Osho arrived he called us to his room to
see him. He asked us how we were, and said that
he had heard there had been a bit of unrest
between us. Mukta and Haridas had left the day
before for a holiday in Greece, having given up the
hope that Osho would be coming, and it was true
that Ashu and Nirupa had also been unhappy in the
Pokhara situation. When Osho heard the words,
"Well, it was not up to the standard that I am used
to living," he said that he also had not been living
quite the way he would have liked, and reminded
us that he had been in jail and living in Span
without electricity or water for a lot of the time. I felt
so ashamed, even though I had not said it myself.
We learnt that Jayesh had been making intricate
plans to get Osho safely out of India and to Nepal.
Two days before take-off, Osho walked out of
Span, got into an old Ambassador car with Neelam,
drove to the airport and took a commercial flight to
Delhi. Even the fact that there was a flight that day
was unusual, and that there were two spare seats
was a miracle.
The police had arrived a few hours after Osho left
to detain him and confiscate his passport. He
would have been in prison awaiting a trial that had
suddenly manifested itself, both unexpectedly and
ridiculously. The income tax department (F.E.R.A.)
wanted Osho to pay tax on the half a million dollar
fine paid to the United States government. They did
not believe that the fine was paid by friends of
Osho, and thought that somehow India deserved a
share in the booty.
Laxmi had confused the situation even more by
spreading rumors with the sannyasins who lived in
Delhi, that Hasya and Jayesh were trying to kidnap
Osho. In a valiant attempt to save their master the
Delhi sannyasins tried to snatch Osho back, but
were thwarted by Anando. Osho took the plane to
Nepal, just in time to avoid arrest by the Indian
police. The Span property that I had heard Laxmi
telling Osho about, had not been purchased by her,
it was not even for sale!
The Delhi sannyasins arrived a couple of days later
in Kathmandu with an offer of a palace in India in
which Osho could live. They didn't understand that
at this point he could not go back to India, but Osho
talked to them. A video of the palace had been
made for Osho to see, so he agreed and to my
surprise invited all of us to watch the video with
him.
We sat at Osho's feet in his living room and the film
began. After ten minutes of footage of trees in the
driveway of the palace, we saw a row of five or six
stone huts with the roofs completely fallen in.
These were the servants' quarters, and obviously a
lot of work had to be done on them – but that was
nothing, we have worked before on buildings. The
camera then scanned up and down a few more
trees and I thought to myself that someone must
have told the cameraman that Osho loved trees.
Osho asked if there was any water in the palace.
"Yes, yes," was the reply from Om Prakash, the
bearer of the video. After five more minutes
travelling up and down the trunks of trees, we saw
the "palace." It had only four rooms, and they were
in an advanced state of dilapidation. "Is there any
water on the property?" asked Osho. "Yes, yes,"
came the reply. The four-roomed palace must not
have been lived in for at least fifty years. "What
about the water?" began Osho... Aah! there it was!
A thin trickle of water ran down some moss
covered stones in the garden. "And do we have
rights to this water?" asked Osho. "The water
belongs to the girls' school, next door," said Om
Prakash, "but, no problem."
Now I understood. This is why Osho wanted us all
to watch the video with him, so that we could have
some idea of how difficult the situation was when
trying to get anything done with some of his
sannyasins. That their hearts are with Osho is
without question, but they must be crazy to want to
take him back to India, and even crazier to think he
could live in the remains of what was a four roomed
house, and without water!
Osho said to them that their asking him to remain
in India was out of love, but it was absurd. He said
that it would create trouble for him and trouble for
themselves, and he told them to go back, think
over it, and return after seven days. They never
came back and Osho said that they must have
understood the implications, and their insistence
had been out of love, not out of reason.
Wherever Osho is, in strong contrast to his silence,
there is a mad cyclone of energy surrounding him. I
asked him if this was his leela, or was it existence
creating a balance? He said that it was neither; that
the world is mad, chaotic, and it is his silence that
was exposing it, not creating it. He said that the
perfect balance in nature will be absolute silence.
The next morning Osho began talking to a group of
about ten in his sitting room. The first question was
from Asheesh and he was asking that "In these
times of uncertainty, the best – and the worst –
seems to be coming out in those of us who are
around you. Would you comment on this?"
Osho: "There are no 'times of uncertainty' because
time is always uncertain. It is the difficulty with the
mind: mind wants certainty – and time is always
uncertain.
"So when just by coincidence mind finds a small
space of certainty, it feels settled: a kind of illusory
permanence surrounds it. It tends to forget the real
nature of existence and life, it starts living in a kind
of dream world; it starts mistaking appearance for
reality. It feels good to the mind because mind is
always afraid of change for the simple reason: who
knows what change will bring – good or bad? One
thing is certain, that change will unsettle your world
of illusions, expectations, dreams..."
He went on to say that "whenever time strikes one
of your cherished illusions," then what happens is
that our mask is taken away.
He mentioned how people had worked hard at
Rajneeshpuram and just as we were putting the
finishing touches the whole thing disappeared.
"I am not frustrated – I have not even looked back
for a single moment. Those were beautiful years,
we lived beautifully, and it is the nature of
existence: things change. What can we do? So we
are trying to make something else – that will also
change. Nothing is permanent here. Except
change, everything changes.
"So I don't have any complaint. I have not felt even
for a single moment that something has gone
wrong...because here everything has gone wrong,
but to me nothing has gone wrong. It is just that we
tried to make beautiful palaces out of playing cards.
"Perhaps except for me everybody is frustrated.
And they feel angry at me too because I am not
frustrated, I am not with them. That makes them
even more angry. If I was also angry, and I was
also complaining, and I was also tremendously
disturbed, they would have felt a consolation. But I
am not...
"Now it is going to be difficult to make another
dream come true because many of those who
worked to make one dream come true will be in a
state of defeatism. They are defeated. They will
feel that reality or existence does not care about
innocent people who were not doing any harm,
who were simply trying to make something
beautiful. Even with them existence goes on
following the same rule – it makes no exceptions....
"I can see that it is painful, but we are responsible
for the pain. It feels that life is not just, nor fair,
because it has taken a toy from our hands. One
should not be in such a hurry to come to such great
conclusions. Wait a little more. Perhaps it is always
for the good – all the changes. You should just be
patient enough. You should give life a little more
rope....
"My whole life I have been going from one place to
another place because something has failed. But I
have not failed. Thousands of dreams can fail –
that does not make me a failure. On the contrary,
each dream disappearing makes me more
victorious because it does not disturb me, does not
even touch me. Its disappearance is an advantage,
is an opportunity to learn to be mature. Then the
best will be coming out of you. And whatever
happens will not make any difference – your best
will go on growing to higher peaks....
"What matters is how you come out of those
broken dreams, those great expectations that have
disappeared into thin air, you can't even find their
footprints.
"How do you come out of it? If you come out of it
unscratched, then you have known a great secret,
you have found a master key. Then nothing can
defeat you, then nothing can disturb you, then
nothing can make you angry and nothing can pull
you back. You are always marching into the
unknown for new challenges. And all these
challenges will go on sharpening the best in you."
The next question was from Vivek, and it shows
her down-to-earth, totally female approach to life.
"Beloved Master, What is home?"
"There is no home, there are only houses.
"Man is born homeless, and man remains his
whole life homeless. Yes, he will make many
houses into homes and he will get frustrated. And
man dies homeless.
"To accept the truth brings a tremendous
transformation. Then you don't search for a home –
because home is something there, far away,
something other than you. And everybody is
searching for a home. When you see its
illusoriness, then, rather than searching for a
home, you will start searching for the being that is
born homeless, whose destiny is homeless." (Light
on The Path)
Anando arrived, with Bikki Oberoi, the man who
owns all the Oberoi hotels. Hasya and Anando had
made friends with him in Delhi and he showed
interest in helping Osho at the time. They arrived
first class and the hotel staff put out the red carpet
and there was much hullabaloo. My eyes bulged
when I saw Anando, amongst all this fanfare,
proudly walking along with my small ironing board
tucked under her arm. It wasn't even disguised,
everyone could see it was an ironing board, and
yet she wasn't fazed at all. I had needed that
ironing board so badly, and I was touched that she
would carry it as hand luggage under such
circumstances.
The fourth floor of the hotel was now fully occupied
by sannyasins. A bedroom became an office, and
there was always a whirlwind of activity going on in
there. A few doors away Devaraj and Maneesha
worked day and night transcribing Osho's
discourses. Their room was always full, as people
turned up to help them – Premda, who was Osho's
eye doctor, handsome, conservative, German, and
a bad loser at tennis. It was in this small bedroom
that seemed always to be filled with breakfast
trolleys, that the German Rajneesh Times came to
sort out their questions with Maneesha, letters and
questions from sannyasins and as many people
who could fit in the room were welcome to help
check the typed manuscripts against the tapes of
the discourses.
Although Osho had rested for a few days, he did
not seem as strong as he used to be. We did not
know at the time, but the first diagnostic indicators
of thallium poisoning were evident. Osho's eye
doctor, Premda, had been called from Germany
because Osho showed symptoms that included
eye twitching, divergence or wandering quality of
eye movements, weakness of ocular muscles and
visual impairment. Premda treated the symptoms,
but did not know what could possibly be the cause.
I was helping to clean Osho's rooms with the
Nepali maid, Radikha. At 7.00 a.m. we would rush
into his sitting room, while he was in the bath, and
clean the dark, intricately carved wood furniture
that obviously, no one had ever attempted to clean
before. Although there was a vacuum cleaner it
was more efficient to rub the red carpet with a
damp rag. Rafia and Niskriya were on our heels, or
rather – our backs – as they then had to set up the
sitting room as a studio for discourse by 7.30 a.m.
In the evenings Osho talked in the hotel ballroom to
press and visitors, at first mainly Nepali, but as the
days passed the color of the audience was
changing from black and grey to shades of orange.
A Buddhist monk, small, with shaved head and in
saffron robes began attending these discourses.
He sat in the front row and asked Osho questions.
Osho began by saying that, "To be a Buddha is
beautiful, but to be a Buddhist is ugly." The
Buddhist monk got the full treatment and I was
surprised and in great admiration for the man,
when he turned up the next night, and the next. In
fact he came regularly for a few weeks, until one
day Osho received a letter from him saying that his
monastery had forbidden him to attend any more.
Each morning the very intimate talks in his sitting
room continued, and after being away from Osho
for the first time since I had come to Poona, seven
years before, I now felt each moment was a bonus.
I was living in an abundance of love, joy and the
excitement of exploring The Path with the Master.
I was beginning to learn that the search for truth,
the search for the "spot" inside myself that is
unpolluted by personality, is a great adventure. I
have no doubt that there is a "state" in which a
person can be totally relaxed without any desire or
need for more, a feeling so fulfilling that nothing
happening outside can disturb it. I know it is so
because I have glimpsed it for moments and I have
seen that in Osho it is a permanent state.
Osho began to walk in the grounds of the hotel,
past the tennis courts, and the swimming pool,
lawns and gardens. He couldn't see much of the
grounds though because his path was flanked by
visitors and disciples who came to greet him. Some
of them would simply smile and wave, but others
threw themselves at his feet, and that was
troublesome. Watching Osho coming through the
hotel lobby and out into the garden was a beautiful
scene. There was always space around Osho even
in a crowded place. I saw many tourists spin on
their heels with amazement at the sight of Osho.
Some, even Europeans, I saw namaste him –
though I am sure they did not know what they were
doing, because after Osho passed by they had a
dazed look on their face. Being totally without
experience of Osho, and not expecting anything,
they had been touched and were afire. Some
American and Italian tourists that I watched, really
saw Osho, but I don't know how their minds dealt
with it afterwards.
A few disciples arrived from the West, one of them
being Niskriya with his video camera. He just
turned up one day, literally on the doorstep with his
camera, unknown to anyone. But he had good
references – he had been thrown out of
Rajneeshpuram twice and had had his mala taken
away by Sheela. Without him none of these
beautiful discourses would have been recorded.
Niskriya is an eccentric German film man, and
when he first arrived he was experimenting with 3D
film. One day he called us into his room to view
these efforts at 3D, through a mirror contraption
balanced between two television sets. He was so
thrilled by his experiment that none of us had the
heart to admit to him that actually we couldn't see
anything. But Osho blew the gaff and made a good
joke of it one day in discourse.
It was always risky when Osho was speaking
because there was no way of knowing what he
would say next. On entering Nepal, Hasya had told
Osho that Nepal was, by law, a Hindu country, so
please... "Don't say anything against Hinduism." In
an evening discourse, in front of all the dignitaries
and press men, he said that his friends had asked
him not to speak against Hinduism, but what could
he do? This was the very place to speak against
Hinduism, do they expect him to speak against
Christianity? No, he would save that for when he
visited Italy.
At that time the film crew from Italy had got visas
for Nepal and Sarjano had arrived. Applications for
Osho to visit Italy were under way, and looked
promising. However, it would not be good if the
press announced he was visiting Italy before
arrangements could be made, so we were to keep
it secret. Sarjano was taking photos of Osho that
night during the discourse, so was next to Osho
facing the audience. I watched Sarjano, when
Osho declared that he would visit Italy, and I let out
a scream of laughter as Sarjano's eyes rolled up
into his head and mouthing the words "Italian visa"
he went through the actions of tearing up
documents and throwing them over his shoulder.
We were in Nepal for three months and it was time
to extend our own visas. We had not been able to
find a palace, nor even a small house for Osho,
and so we were still in the hotel. The situation did
not look promising, even though the local people,
and especially the hotel staff were loving and
respectful towards Osho. The men in the laundry
room were constantly requesting tickets for the
nightly discourses and the maids and waiters also
came. On one occasion when a waiter delivered
tea to our room, and Mukti was sitting in the chair
with her Walkman earphones on, the waiter
exclaimed: "Is that Bhagwan you are listening to?"
He then sat down and claimed the Walkman and
stayed for the rest of the taped discourse.
I loved the people so much, and one day while
shopping, the shopkeepers said to me, "Your guru
– no good" (Osho had said in a discourse that
Buddha had renounced wealth, and that is nothing
– "I have renounced poverty" said Osho). And even
though they had a criticism, there was no malice in
it. At least they were interested in what Osho was
saying.
Anyway, we went for our visa extensions and were
refused.
There seemed to be no hope in Nepal anymore.
The King had never had the guts to acknowledge
Osho, even though a couple of cabinet ministers
had come to hear him talk. Despite endless
searching, there was no land or property for sale.
And on top of that, trouble with the immigration
authorities only showed that the Indian government
had interfered. To get a three-month extension on
a visa in Nepal is routine. The country is desperate
for tourists, but in our case it was different. Once
again, Osho would be cut off from his foreign
disciples, and nine-tenths of Osho's disciples are
from Western countries.
It was in this situation and many, many others that
Osho was to show us his total trust in existence,
and his disciples. The idea of a World Tour was
born and Osho said okay.
Ma Amrito, a Greek woman, charismatic and
beautiful, who had many contacts in the Greek
government and high society since her days as
Miss Greece, waltzed into Kathmandu with her
husband and her lover. I first saw the trio in the
hotel lift and thought, "Mmm, they look interesting."
They talked with Hasya, Jayesh, Vivek and Devaraj
and it was decided that Greece would be the first
stop on the World Tour.
Arrangements were made to visit Greece, and
Rafia, Asheesh, Maneesha, Neelam and I would
follow with the luggage. Osho, Vivek, Devaraj,
Mukti and Anando would go first. Nirupa and Ashu
were to go to Canada, their home country, as the
caravan had to be made a little smaller.
The morning Osho left there were many tears. The
hotel staff were crying and Radhika, our maid, was
weeping uncontrollably. The private plane that had
been arranged for Osho had been held up in Delhi
for two days, and it was decided that Osho would
fly on a commercial flight. Cliff, Osho's pilot, who
had last seen Osho boarding a jet in Portland, flew
into Kathmandu on Royal Nepal Airlines, and he
was in the airport as Osho's car arrived. He ran
across the tarmac, and was just in time to valiantly
open the car door for Osho.
Cliff then came to visit us at the hotel. We ordered
tea for him and Geeta, his Japanese girlfriend who
was travelling with him. We were talking about
Osho's flight which was to go via Bangkok and
Dubai, and Cliff had already worked out a plan
where he could fly back to Delhi, and take his
private plane to Dubai to meet Osho. By the time
room service brought tea, Cliff was gone and he
arrived in Dubai in the private plane just before
Osho landed. It was pouring with rain, and as Cliff
saw Osho's flight coming in, he grabbed an
umbrella from an Arab gentleman in the airport,
and ran to the steps of Osho's plane. As Osho
alighted from the craft, Cliff was there, umbrella
poised, and Osho chuckled.


Written by

Prem Shunyo