Written by Prem Shunyo
Osho became enlightened on March 2lst 1953. Since that date he has been searching for people who will be able to understand him and seek their own enlightenment. He has helped hundreds of thousands of people along the path to self-realization. I have heard him say:
“Man’s quest for truth continues through many lives. One achieves it after so many births, and those who search for it think that they will experience relief after achieving it. But those who succeed in finding it, however, discover that their success is only the beginning of a new travail, without any relief whatsoever. Truth, once found, gives birth to a fresh labor.”
(In Search of the Miraculous)
He speaks of a flower that has to distribute its fragrance; a rain cloud that needs to shower.
He wandered for twenty years continuously in India, searching for disciples. In return he got stones, shoes and knives thrown at him. his health was ruined from so much travelling on Indian railways, they are so dirty and unhygienic. Some train journeys take as long as forty-eight hours, and he was on the trains for three-quarters of those thirty years. He visited every village and town in India, talking to people, and later, holding meditation camps. At these camps he would lead the meditations and encourage people to try and taste what he was talking about. He created new meditations for the modern man, whose mind, he says, is so busy that he does not find it possible to sit silently. These meditations usually include a cathartic stage where repressed emotions can be thrown out, and gibberish where the mind is given full rein to unravel all its madness, before sitting silently. Osho would help people to throw out all their madness. They would cry, scream, jump, go crazy and he would be there with them in the dust and the heat.
In l978-79, energy-darshans started in the Poona ashram. It was an opportunity for all his disciples to have a “taste” of what I can only call the other world – the world of magic. Darshan was held in the circular Chuang Tzu Auditorium, and about two hundred people were present each night. Osho sat in his chair at one end and twelve mediums would sit on his right side.
As each person was called forward separately for their darshan, so Osho would arrange the mediums around that person. Osho called his mediums “bridges” at one time. We would kneel behind the person who had requested a darshan, one medium would sit in front, holding his hands, and usually someone would support the person in case he fell backwards.
After a bit of shuffling around, silence would settle, and then Osho’s voice could be heard:
“Everyone close your eyes, and go totally into it.”
Music began – crazy music – and everyone present in the auditorium would be swaying and allowing any feeling that arose to move through their bodies. It took a very determined “guest” to resist being carried away on the tidal wave of letting go.
Osho would touch the energy center on the forehead (known as the third eye) of a medium and with his other hand the third eye of the person who had come for darshan. An energy transmission would happen that, to an outsider, might look as though people were being charged with high voltage electricity. There was a team of strong men to carry people out, if they were unable to walk, which was not unusual.
During this part of the darshan, the lights would be out throughout the entire ashram and so even people for whom there was no room inside the auditorium would sit in their rooms, or outside the gate, in the garden – wherever – and the whole six acres that was the ashram would be joined with one energy phenomenon that was radiating from Osho.
Lights went on as the music reached a crescendo, and bodies danced, and swayed; screams and laughter filled the air, and for some people, silence.
Osho spoke to everyone about how he was working with our energy:
“To become a medium means to shift the energy. And the only possible way to shift the energy, I say the only way is through your sexual energy. Your sexual energy is still part of the right-side hemisphere, otherwise everything has been taken possession of by the left side.
“So while you are absorbing my energy feel utterly sexual, sensuous. In the beginning it will look very sexual. Soon there comes a point of intensity when it starts changing, when it starts becoming something that you have not known before at all, something that can only be called spiritual – but later on, and only if you go totally into it. If you inhibit, your taboos come in and you stop yourself, then it remains sexual, it never becomes spiritual.
“All taboos, all inhibitions, have to be dropped; only then at a certain intensity does the transformation happen. Suddenly you are thrown from the left hemisphere to the right hemisphere – and the right hemisphere is the hemisphere of the mystics.
“This is the first thing to remember. The second thing to remember is: when you are joyous your energy flows into the other; when you are sad you start sucking energy from the other. So while functioning as mediums, be as joyous, ecstatically joyous, as possible; only then will you start overflowing. Joy is contagious. So you are not to be a medium out of duty; it has to be joyous celebration…
“This is not only a small experiment to help the guest; this is to transform the whole energyfield of the commune.” (Won’t You Join The Dance?)
To be on the receiving end of those high voltage hands was a psychedelic experience. It felt natural to be aware of energy shooting out of the heart center (like I had seen only in a superman comic book). At times, even amusing.
Riding downtown in a rickshaw one day the “superman” beam suddenly appeared and struck a man walking by in the street. Not even a friend in orange, just an Indian man minding his own business. My rickshaw whizzed past him and before I could even see his face the episode was over. I never questioned what was happening because it felt so normal in a way. It was something that was happening and I was not doing anything.
Years later Osho said something to me that confirmed that I had not imagined it. It was in America, in Rajneeshpuram, where sannyas initiation meetings were held by one of the group leaders in our meditation hall. Osho said that the energy was not very high at these celebrations, and he was going to choose some mediums to juice it up, so to speak. He said that a beam of light would emit from the mediums’ chest. He looked at me when he said it and I nodded as though to say, yes, I know that. But nothing more was said.
My body felt like a vehicle and I never knew what to expect next: a song in an unknown language, a flight into a nearby tree, the sensation of being pulled upwards into the sky: I sat there, simply aware of all the colors and dances of energy.
The feeling of expansion – that my body filled, not only the darshan area, but the whole ashram – was becoming an almost everyday experience. In answer to a question many years later, Osho explained that a tantric meditation technique is to feel the body expand until the whole sky is filled. He said many ancient meditation techniques happen naturally to children and this is because in a past life that technique had been used and it is stored away in the unconscious.
As a child, I often had this experience while lying in bed, that my head would expand until it filled the room. Sometimes it grew so big that I felt as though I was outside the house in the sky. It seemed perfectly normal and I was surprised when I discovered that it did not happen to everybody. It became an enjoyable experience in darshan.
My parents had sent me a cheque, so one morning, I went straight to the bank from morning discourse. Sitting on a bench, awaiting my turn in the queue, my head started to expand until I filled the whole bank. An Indian bank is as chaotic and busy as an Indian street, but I felt perfectly relaxed.
I felt wonderful, but I couldn’t move. A woman in the bank, sensing something was happening to me, took me by the hand and led me from counter to counter, and then stood in line for me and gave me my money. I was taken care of.
Mystic experience or not, money is for spending, and I wanted to go shopping immediately. I got into a rickshaw and went to Laxmi Road. This road is the busiest, most crowded shopping area in town. But strange, as I walked down the street, shopkeepers were closing up shop and pulling down the shutters. Slam! Slam! Street vendors were grabbing their wares and running off the streets. Cars, rickshaws and oxcarts disappeared. It was like a cowboy movie just before the baddies rode into town.
I was no longer spread all over the universe, but I did feel spaced out and too happy to feel any alarm, even though I was by now the only person on the street.
I walked along the empty street, turned, and saw that coming behind me, filling the street completely, were hundreds of men, shouting. It was a riot. An Indian riot was coming in my direction.
Suddenly, a rickshaw raced towards me and stopped.
“Get in,” said the driver, “and lie down in the back. Don’t show yourself.”
Without even asking where I wanted to go he took me straight to the ashram.
The strange thing is, everything felt as real, as normal and natural as any mundane activity of the day. That is why it was never frightening. I never felt the need to talk to anyone about it, or to have an explanation.
I tell you these things, simply to give an idea of my life at that time. Osho has said quite definitely that these “mystical experiences” have no value spiritually, they do not help inner growth. Only awareness and meditation can do that.
I felt very protected and taken care of through these times. Vivek often came to me to ask, from Osho, how I was feeling, what was happening for me. This helped me to stop for a moment, and take note. That is to say I would become aware of where I could feel my energy moving. This deliberate “look” into myself would act like a still shot in a movie and help me to recognize what was happening later.
As each individual darshan session ended, Osho talked us back very gently. “Come back now, slowly. Come back.”
It was fascinating how different everyone felt. Even with closed eyes I knew which medium was close to me. Sometimes a man would have soft energy like a woman, and an old person might feel like a child. It was a light, playful, dance.
There were times, however, when the old habit of mind would penetrate and try to find a problem, such as: “Why does Osho use that medium, and not me?” Once, while “Why her?” was actually moving through my mind, he stopped and looked up at me, straight in the eyes, and I caught it, the thought was frozen – and still is.
I think Osho was not only sharing energy with us so that we might glimpse what is possible beyond what we know as life, but we were given the great opportunity to learn that we are the masters of our own emotions. Without suppressing an emotion, I could see it and take it higher, beyond jealousy into celebration and ecstasy. It was possible to turn a dark emotion into light. I only had to consciously drop the voice in the head and throw up my arms to the sky and I felt showered with golden rain.
It happened once that I felt I lost the “knack” of meditation. Day after day I felt happy and as though I was flying, and then suddenly one day came when I felt I couldn’t tune in. I had lost it! As energy darshan started I felt dull and closed, my celebration felt false and I could not feel any of the euphoric feelings I had known before. After this happened a few times I began to feel sad, and thought I would never meditate again.
My mind had been waiting patiently like a vulture for this opportunity and jumped on me with full force:
“Of course, it (meditation) was all imagination anyway!” was the loud voice, and it repeated itself over and over – it was on to a good one! I was basically angry that I couldn’t “turn on” the magic feeling. It seemed like it wasn’t mine to turn on, and I felt cheated. I felt like it had been taken away from me. I thought Osho must be giving the magic to someone else and so I certainly was not going to ask him for help. I decided to die.
I planned to walk to the mountains, and sit there until I died. Poona is situated on a plateau and is surrounded by mountains. You can see them from any spot, on a summer night, black against the pinkish glow of the polluted sky.
I took the road to the black mountains, walked for about an hour and came to a dead end. I walked back to the ashram, chose another road – and arrived at the gates of a factory!
Getting desperate, I set off again.
The road I took finished in a pile of rocks, beyond which was wasteland, and in the distance I could see the lights of a village. Beyond that – the mountains.
I felt like I was in a Sufi story.
I remembered hearing Osho say that the master takes away everything from the disciple and it struck me that He had even taken suicide away. This made me feel angry.
Standing in the darkness, nowhere to go, nothing to be done, I saw the absurdity of the whole performance and laughed at myself. I had stretched the whole drama to its ridiculous end and now there was only one thing to do – go home to bed.
I then imagined that I removed my mind, like a hat, and left it on a rock. Each time a thought came into my head I went back to the rock and left it there and started off again. I was soon swinging from the banyan trees and dancing all the way back to the ashram.
Every night for two years I went to darshan. I was later to hear Osho say:
“I used to touch people’s third eyes with my fingers, but I had to stop it for the simple reason that I became aware that stimulating the third eye from the outside is good if the person continues to meditate, continues to watch – then the first experience coming from the outside will soon become his inside experience. But such is the stupidity of man that when I can stimulate your third eye, you stop meditating. You rather start asking more and more for energy meetings with me, because you have not to do anything.
“I also became aware that for different people a different kind and different quantity of energy is needed from the outside – which is very difficult to decide. Sometimes somebody falls completely into a coma; the shock is too much. And sometimes the man is so retarded that nothing happens.” (The Rebel, 1987)
My love affair with Tathagat was still fresh and exciting, and then Rishi came back into my life for a few weeks and for a while I was happy and overwhelmed that I was fortunate enough to be in love with two men. One day, at the time that in the East is known as sandhya – that gap when day is changing into night – as I was standing on the roof watching the cranes fly across the setting sun on their way to the river to nest for the night, I was struck by a sadness. I had everything I could possibly want and still I had that nagging feeling that, “No, this is not it – there is more.”
As the months passed, Tathagat and I were not able to give each other what we wanted. I didn’t know then that another person cannot supply what I am missing in myself. What I yearn for is inside myself, it is knowing myself – and the other will always fall short. The more time we spent together, the more I demanded and I became jealous every time he looked at another woman. I decided that with this man I was going to transcend jealousy, but I was simply stuck in a pattern that continually played the tape in my head called self-torture.
I wrote to Osho about my attempts to transcend jealousy and how I was becoming unhappy. I received an answer that, “This is not the way to go beyond jealousy. Drop him, and be alone.” So, I finished my love affair and each night sat on the roof in “meditation.” But, I couldn’t meditate. I was expecting a satori. The line ran: “Well, I’ve dropped the boyfriend, where’s my reward? Where’s the bliss?”
After a week, Vivek brought me a message that Osho had seen my face in discourse and “I was obviously well pissed off with him. So go back to the boyfriend.” I went back with him, but with more awareness. What was I actually going back to?
Fortunately, his visa ran out and he had to leave. I took him to Bombay to catch the plane. I had to give him a good send-off.
This was the first time I had been away from Osho. We stayed in the 5-star Oberoi Hotel, and the same day we arrived, while in the lift, the lift attendant, noticing our clothes and malas, casually turned to us and said, “Oh! Someone threw a knife at your guru this morning!”
We ran to telephone the ashram. It was true. There had been an attempt on Osho’s life during the morning discourse. Suddenly, the boyfriend, the holiday in Bombay, all seemed futile. What was I doing there in Bombay? Chasing dreams.
A Hindu fanatic had stood up during the talk and thrown a knife at Osho. There were twenty police in plain clothes in the auditorium that morning. The assassination attempt had leaked out and the police had arrived to “protect” Osho. At least, that was their story. It proved to be the opposite.
There were two thousand eye-witnesses to this attack, including the police. The man, Vilas Tupe, was arrested and taken away. He was then released, scot-free. The judge said that because Osho had continued with the discourse, then an attempt on his life could not have occurred!!
That Osho did not stop his talk because a knife was thrown at him says something of Osho’s tranquility and centeredness. I watched him closely in a darshan once, when the person sitting at his feet, about to take sannyas, suddenly leapt up and, waving his arms threateningly, shouted that he had been sent by Jesus. Not a muscle in Osho’s body flickered. He sat, relaxed, and chuckled a “very good” at the raving crackpot.
During l980 I remember Osho speaking a lot about politicians and how corrupt and cunning they are. I could not quite believe that it was true. My conditioning had been such that I thought whoever ruled the country was a good man; maybe mistakes could be made, but basically he must be a good man.
I was to learn from my own experience. From November 1985 to January 1990 I was to witness an innocent man dying slowly of poisoning, administered by the United States government. And myself handcuffed and in chains in an American jail, for a fictitious crime.
Osho, like any genius, is years ahead of his time. Whatever he says is difficult to digest. It always takes time. The patience of a Master must be phenomenal. How must it be to speak to people day after day and to know that they do not understand? To see on their faces that they are daydreaming, and can only understand one percent of what is said; and yet to keep trying to tell them. Osho has been speaking for thirty years. He used to give five discourses a day.
Towards the end of 1980 Osho began speaking of a new commune. We were at that time going to move to Kutch, in India. He told us that in the commune there would be a five-star hotel, two lakes, a shopping center, a discotheque, living accommodation for twenty thousand people…. We laughed heartily. It seemed so impossible. “In the new commune…” became a catch phrase, and even T-shirts and baseball caps were seen with these words. Lucky for us we were not made to eat our words, because it all came true!
In the late seventies in Poona he spoke every morning. his discourses were totally spontaneous, as they always have been. I can never understand how no man of the press ever picked up on this fact. At 8.00 a.m. He went to the auditorium and talked for one and a half to two hours. He has said that even he does not know what he is going to say next, and that just as we listen to what is said, so does He. his words are recorded and become a book, verbatim. There are now seven hundred books in his name.
In these early years (1975- 81) a lot of the people with Osho, like myself, were young “flower children” of the sixties. Long haired, flowing robes, no underwear, our conditioning just beginning to crack, our consciousness growing, and we had a certain innocence. Maybe we were not very worldly, very grounded. We were children in a new world of spiritual dimensions.
In the beginning of l981, I sat in discourse and without reason I wept and wept. I sat with my face contorted, beyond embarrassment and my eyes and nose streaming. I cried, not knowing why, for about a week.
This is always a mystery to me how some part of oneself is aware of an event before it happens.
Early in 1981 Osho developed severe back problems and a specialist from England came to treat him. His back was not healing though, and he could not give discourse or darshan for several weeks. This was the beginning of a three-year period of silence.
When he could move comfortably again he sat with us each morning, while musicians played.
People tell me that the music was beautiful and it was a very special time. But it was lost on me. I was filled with fear and dread that something terrible was going to happen.
Osho went to America.