Written by Prem Shunyo
Enlightenment Day, March 21st. I left London airport for Uruguay with four bodyguards. Hasya and Jayesh hired the security men who were specialists in counter-insurgency, counter-terrorist work, and trained in communication, demolition and firearms; each one with his own particular skill. They were to guard Osho while he was in Uruguay, as we had no idea what we were walking into. They stood around me like soldiers and looked threatening, and I felt well taken care of.
Osho was staying in a hotel in Montevideo when I arrived and that same day I went to tidy his room for him. He was sitting in a chair next to the window and he looked tired. Devaraj told me that Osho had been very weak in Ireland, and could not even walk the distance of the corridor outside his room. I touched his feet and sat beaming at him. I asked him how he was and he nodded that he was okay. He wanted to know if I was fully recovered from the accident, and I told him that although I knew I had been stupid to go on the motorbike in the first place, I had found it a valuable experience. He didn’t say anything, and I gave him a drink of water and then tidied his room while he sat silently. We did not celebrate his Enlightenment Day that year, and I remembered that in Kathmandu he had already said that he did not want special celebration days, but we were to celebrate every day of the year. At the hotel were Anando, Vivek, Devaraj, John, Mukti and Rafia and they were soon telling me of their days spent in Ireland, penned up in the hotel, not allowed to even leave the second floor where their rooms were. It was like a voluntary house arrest situation. They saw only the four walls of their rooms, or someone else’s – which was identical anyway – all day. The local police said they had received threats from the IRA regarding Osho, so security men guarded him twenty-four hours a day, and the hotel was filled with whispered motorola conversations and mattress barricades. When Osho left the hotel after three weeks the hotel staff were there to say goodbye to him, and Osho told the manager that he had been very comfortable in the hotel, it had been a home to him. Now, in Uruguay, Osho was asking us to please telephone the hotel in Ireland and ask them for the recipe of the chutney they gave him; and to tell them that it was the best chutney he had ever had.
Hasya and Jayesh had arrived in Montevideo and found a house for Osho in Punta del Este. It was said to be the riviera of South America, and proved to be so beautiful that we were in wonder that the rest of the world did not know about it.
The next day, Jayesh, Anando and I drove for three hours through the flat, green countryside, to Punta del Este. The house was three minutes’ walk from sand dunes that led to a long flat beach and the sea! The sea air in that area was reputed for its healing powers and it smelt clean and sweet.
The house was magnificent, and as it was built originally as two houses, then joined into one, it was huge. Outside, framed by tall eucalyptus trees with their multi-colored peeling trunks, was a lawned garden, swimming pool and tennis court. The neighborhood excelled Beverly Hills, said Hasya and John, who had been living in Hollywood before moving to Rajneeshpuram. Osho’s rooms were at the top of a winding staircase. On a small landing we put his dining table, opposite a thirty-foot-high narrow window, through which trees could be seen. There was a small corridor and at one end was a large modern bathroom, almost as good as Osho’s bathroom at Rajneeshpuram, and at the other, a bedroom. The bedroom was not the greatest, but it was the only room in the house with an air conditioner and complete privacy. It was dark and one third of the room was partitioned off by a sliding oak panelled door. This small room had a strange feeling to it and always had a weird smell. We used to joke that there was a ghost there. But the house was spotlessly clean, and Osho was pleased When he arrived he walked around with his hand on his hip admiring the house and gardens. After a couple of days he came to sit in the garden every day. It was such a joy to see him walking down the steps, holding Vivek’s hand, past the pool and to his chair that was placed ready for him. One day he came out wearing what I call his nightie – a long white robe, and no hat, but with his Cazal sunglasses on, the ones we used to call his mafia glasses. The scene had an intimate and eccentric touch. Sometimes he would do work with Hasya and Jayesh and sometimes with Anando, or he would just sit, in perfect stillness, for maybe two or three hours, until Vivek would come to collect him to tell him that his lunch was ready. He never read anything, he never even shifted his body in the chair, just sat motionless.
While he sat by the pool we would all stay discreetly out of sight. Osho, without asking, always creates a feeling in people to respect his privacy. When he is with us in discourse, he gives so much, that if he walks around the garden, or when he eats, he is left entirely to himself. Should he meet anyone just by chance then it is quite something to see with what totality he will greet that person; his look will penetrate, and I have been left shaken from accidental meetings with him – but still, it feels much better to give him his privacy. So although we were living in the same house as Osho he sat silently alone when he was not talking to us in discourse.
Anando told me about one day when she was sitting with Osho in the garden reading him newspaper clippings and letters that had arrived from disciples. A strong wind from the sea blew up and the tall fir trees towering over the house started to sway and shake their pine cones down like a shower of small rocks. The cones were landing around her and Osho, thud! thud! and she urged Osho to move under the shelter of the roof. He said in a voice, totally matter-of-fact, “No, no, they won’t hit me,” and he calmly sat there, while Anando jumped as cones rained down on either side of them. She was to remember just how relaxed he was and how ordinary was his certainty that he would not be hit.
After about two weeks, the police put us under surveillance, and they watched the house twenty-four hours a day from their car, slowly circling the house. This meant the end of Osho’s walks in the garden. He was now confined to his room, with the blinds drawn for safety. We were always in fear that some harm would come to Osho, and it often meant that his life was restricted to his room. But he always said that anyway he just sits silently with his eyes closed, so it makes no difference. He said that if one is happy with oneself, centered, there is no need to go anywhere because you cannot find any place better than your own inner being. “ÉI am always myself wherever I am. And because I am blissful wherever I am the place becomes blissful for me.” Osho
The neighbourhood was quiet as the tourist season was just finishing and winter was approaching. This quiet secluded place was to become a diamond mine for me; an exploration and discovery of treasures within myself, as Osho gave one key after another that opened new doors of mystery.
For the next few weeks I forgot the world completely; it felt quiet and peaceful. The private security men went home, and we even made friends with the police. Our fear and disillusion with the world because of its treatment of Osho were answered by him:
“Trust simply means that whatever happens we are with it, joyously, not reluctantly, not unwillingly – then you miss the whole point – but dancingly, with a song, with laughter, with love, whatever happens is for the good.
“Existence cannot go wrong. If it does not fulfill our desires that simply means our desires were wrong.” (The Path of the Mystic)
Hasya and Jayesh were constantly visiting different countries trying to find a home for Osho, in case Uruguay should not work out. They made a forty hour flight to Mauritius, at the invitation of the prime minister, only to discover that he wanted six billion dollars for Osho to enter his country. France asked for ten million dollars for what was virtually a five year lease. Twenty-one countries had now denied Osho entry, even countries that we had not even thought about! Such fear that Osho would destroy the morality of their country, just by landing in the airport.
Osho started giving discourses twice a day. He would come down the winding staircase, cross the shining red-tiled floor, hands in namaste, and enter the beautiful open sitting room where there was room for about forty people to sit. His talks were much different here, as it was a very intimate situation and he spoke quietly and slowly. He no longer spoke with the fire with which he had delivered his talks at Rajneeshpuram and in Poona. Finding questions to ask was a great “cleansing of the unconscious,” as Osho said; sometimes he would answer five or six questions in one sitting and he did not always accept the questions we asked. Maneesha had quite a job collecting questions from us, because it is not always easy to find a question when the last one you asked maybe got you a zen stick for an answer.
“…Remember one thing, when you ask a question be ready for any answer. Don’t expect a certain answer that you would like; otherwise there is not going to be any learning, there is not going to be any growth. If I say you are not right at a certain point, try to look at it. I will not be saying it just to hurt you. If I am saying it, I mean it.
“And if you start feeling hurt by small things, then it will become impossible for me to work. Then I have to see what you would like. Then I will not be a help, then I will not be a master to you.” ÉOsho
Osho would also speak about the beautiful space that a disciple arrives at when there are no more questions:
“That is the real work of a master, a mystic, that sooner or later the people who are with him start feeling questionless.
“To be questionless is the answer.”
“This morning, as you spoke of the ‘questionless answer,’ I watched my questions dissolving into silence, which I shared for a moment with you. But one question survived, and that is: If we don’t ask you questions, how are we going to play with you?”
Osho: “That’s really a question!
“It will be difficult, so whether you have the questions or not, still you can go on asking just the same. Your question need not be yours, but it must be somebody else’s, somewhere. And my answer may help somebody somewhere, sometime. So let us continue the game.
“I cannot say anything on my own. Unless there is a question, I am silent. Because of the question it is possible for me to respond. So it does not matter whether the question is yours; what matters is that the question is bound to be somebody’s, somewhere.
“And I am not only answering you. I am answering, through you, the whole of humanity…not only the contemporary humanity, but also the humanity that will be coming when I will not be here to answer.
“So find out all the possible angles and questions, so that anybody, even in the future when I am not here, who has a question can find an answer in my words.
“To us it is a play. To somebody it may become really a question of life and death.”
With a sickening thud, the realization hit me that Osho knew he would not be recognized or understood in his lifetime. This was for posterity. My hopes, my dreams, that somewhere in the world his work would flourish and hundreds of thousands of people would come to see him, had no reality. That he would be giving discourses on satellite television to millions and that he would be able to see hundreds of his disciples attain enlightenment was not to be.
While answering a question from Maneesha, he said:
“It may take time, but there is no scarcity of time. And there is no need that the revolution should happen before our eyes. It is contentment enough that you were part of a movement that changed the world, that you played your role in favor of truth, that you will be part of the victory that is going to happen ultimately.” (Beyond Psychology)
I would be spun, delirious, while he spoke on techniques for leaving the body, hypnosis as a technique for remembering past lives, ancient Tibetan, Sufi and Tantric techniques – but he always brought us back to witnessing. He said that techniques for leaving the body are good to give an experience that shows that you are not the body, but that is all. To understand past lives and to know that you have been here before, it is good to see that you are moving in a circle, to know that the same mistakes have been made before, but meditation and witnessing are needed to jump out of the wheel. He gave us techniques to experiment with that showed the power of mind over body, and experiments in telepathy to see how in tune and interconnected we were with each other.
It was the birth of the Mystery School.
In the garden was a thatched roof games room, and it was here that Kaveesha would hypnotize a group of us at a time. We experimented with telepathy, and as the group became harmonious and close, the daily routine of cleaning the house and cooking was so smooth it felt as though no one was really working. The whole day revolved around Osho’s talks and our experiments with different techniques. We used to report to him how things were working, or not working, for us, and he would give further guidance – each time taking us one step further into unknown territory.
Osho, while taking us on great flights of mystery, continued to tell us that the greatest mystery is silence and meditation.
“Spirituality is a very innocent state of consciousness where nothing happens, just time comes to a standstill, all desires are gone, there is no longing, no ambition. This very moment becomes all…
“You are separate, totally separate.
“You are only a witness and nothing else.” Osho
He said that witnessing has to be done in a very relaxed state. It is not concentration: it is an awareness of everything you do, breathing, eating, taking a walk. He told us to start with simple things – watching the body, as though we are separate from it – watching the thoughts that cross the screen of the mind, as though watching a movie, and watch when emotions come and know that they are not us. The final step is when we are absolutely silent and there is nothing to watch: then the witness turns upon itself.
To one person he said that she was not yet ready for witnessing, because she would feel a split within herself. He told her that first she had to express negative emotions (but only in privacy – never throw it on other people) because to witness you have to be without repression. I think if a person feels comfortable with witnessing, if a feeling of peacefulness and joy is there, then it is a good criterion that you are ready for it. Like any method for meditation, if you feel good, then it is suiting you.
He spoke on the seven levels of consciousness, and the limitations of psychology and psychiatry in the West – which is far, far behind the East in this field. I listened to these discourses with my antennae quivering, I was listening with such a sense of urgency and fascination that my head tingled. This was new for me because I had always sat and meditated while Osho spoke, not too concerned about what he was saying. I asked him about it and he said that I had been listening from the heart, and
“…When the heart is completely full of joy, it starts overflowing in all directions; the mind is not kept apart. That is what is happening: you suddenly started listening with an effort to understand, and you feel your head is full of a strange tingling. That means something is overflowing from the heart, because that tingle cannot be possible by understanding only words…The heart and mind are getting into tune; their conflict is dissolving, their antagonism is disappearing. Soon they will be one thing. Then the very hearing is both – it reaches to your heart as a vibe, a thrill, and to the mind as an understanding – and both are connected with you.”
I heard him say:
“One distinction has to be understood, the distinction between brain and mind. The brain is part of the body. Every child is born with a fresh brain but not with a fresh mind. Mind is a layer of conditioning around the consciousness. You will not remember it; that is why there is a discontinuity.
“In each life when a person dies the brain dies, but the mind is released from the brain and becomes a layer on the consciousness. It is nonmaterial; it is just a certain vibe. So on our consciousness there are thousands of layers.” (The Path of the Mystic)
“You don’t see the world as it is. You see it as your mind forces you to see it. And this you can see all over the world – different people are conditioned in different ways, and the mind is nothing but conditioning.” (The Transmission of the Lamp)
Mind, as I understand it, is that which has been given by society, family. The religion you were born into, for instance – your race, nationality, class, morality; all conditioning is preventing you from functioning as an authentic individual.
During these weeks I was going through a process of trying to distinguish reality from imagination. I asked Osho four or five questions about reality and imagination and was starting to think that nothing in my life was real. I spent many hours alone walking up and down the beach trying to get it. I finally understood when Osho said that he never did tell us to discriminate between one and the other: that reality is that which never changes, and imagination, if watched, disappears. The two can never be present at the same time so there is no question of discrimination.
Looking back, I can’t relate to the questions that were burning me up then. Maybe because Osho has helped me to understand them. I think that without a master I would have gone crazy with the existential angst and I would have become stuck on one question, maybe for life.
I used to walk alone through the beautiful streets lined with fir trees and eucalyptus, the mansions empty of life because of the season, trying to understand who I was. All my thoughts amounted to nothing. I couldn’t work it out.
Was I simply the energy that surged through me when I closed my eyes?
Was I the expression of that energy?
Or was I the awareness of that energy?
Osho said that energy, as awareness, is the closest to the very center of existence. He said that it is all one energy, but in thinking, or expressing, then the energy is moving towards the periphery… “Drop backwards step by step,” he said. “It is a journey to the source, and the source is all that you need to experience…because it is not only your source, it is the source of the stars and the moon and the sun. It is the source of all.”
While I was doing the laundry and while cleaning Osho’s rooms, I was thinking of questions and at the same time still trying to digest the discourse that had happened just a few hours before.
“Where is the definition between my inner world and the outer world? When each event outside is seen through my eyes, my perception, it seems to become my world, so is therefore inner. And on the other side, if the witness is my inner reality, and yet the witness is universal, then I seem to have flipped inside out once again,”
I asked.“Chetana, you are getting crazy!” said Osho.
I was. As I walked around the sand dunes and the beach, the dialogue with the inner master would continue:
“Maybe I exist only because I think I do!”
“Maybe without thoughts I wouldn’t exist at all!!”
Osho has said that the mind will never understand truth because it is far above and beyond the mind, but I had to try somehow, if only to fall exhausted and realize that my mind was useless in the world of the mystic. I had heard him say that the mind could not grasp the inner world, but it was not my understanding, I had not experienced this for myself. So day by day I was driving myself crazy, trying to work it all out.
Osho told a beautiful story:
“A mystic king built a great city and within that city he made a temple with red stones outside, and inside it is made of small mirrors…millions of mirrors inside. So when you go inside you see yourself reflected in millions of mirrors. You are one, but your reflections are millions.
“It is said that once a dog entered and killed himself in the night. Nobody was there: the guard had left the temple, locked it and the dog remained inside. He would bark at the dogs – millions of dogs. And he jumped from this side to that side and hit himself against the walls. And all those dogs were barking… You can see what would have happened to the poor dog: the whole night he barked and he fought, and he killed himself by hitting himself against the walls.
“In the morning when the door was opened the dog was found dead and his blood was all over the place – on the walls – and the neighbors said, ‘The whole night we were puzzled about what was the matter. This dog continued barking.’
“That dog must have been an intellectual. Naturally he thought, ‘So many dogs, my god! I am alone and it is nighttime and the doors are closed, and surrounded by all these dogs…they are going to kill me!’ And he killed himself; there was no other dog at all.
“This is one of the basic and essential understandings of mysticism; the people we are seeing all around are only our reflections.
“We are unnecessarily fighting with each other, unnecessarily afraid of each other. There is so much fear that we are gathering nuclear weapons against each other – and it is just one dog, and all others are just reflections.
“So Chetana, don’t be intellectual. Don’t think about these problems; otherwise you will get more and more puzzled. Rather become aware and you will see the problems disappearing.
“I am not here to solve your problems but to dissolve your problems – and the difference is great.” (The path of the Mystic)
Without asking Osho questions, he would not speak, and when he did, he was telling us of great mysteries and secrets and I heard him say that although he knew that much of what he was saying was going above our heads, it had to be said. I had the feeling that he had to say everything he could to us because time was running short.
I spoke with Rafia about this and he said that he was reminded of the story Osho told many times:Gautam the Buddha and his disciple, Ananda, were walking in the woods in autumn, and Ananda asked Buddha if he had said everything that he knew or had something been left unsaid. Buddha had been speaking for forty years, but he bent down and with one hand scooped up a handful of leaves. He said to Ananda that he had spoken this much (indicating the handful of leaves) and this much has not been said – he waved his arm showing the whole forest floor covered with leaves.
Rafia said to me that he felt Osho in Uruguay had picked up a whole armful of leaves and showered us with them.
“Truth is pure awareness” Osho
Osho told no jokes during these talks, but that does not mean that they were without laughter. One night we were laughing so much that we couldn’t stop. I remember looking at everyone – Hasya was there that night – and I remember looking at her and we made each other laugh even more. Our laughter continued uncontrollably long after Osho had left the joke behind and was talking on something “serious.” Japanese Geeta had a shrill and startling laugh which used to make Osho laugh whenever he heard her. He would stop speaking and they would simply be laughing together, apparently at nothing, while the rest of us would catch the infectious laughter and eventually everyone would be laughing. He said that laughter is the greatest spiritual phenomenon:
“The master’s laughter and the disciple’s laughter have exactly the same quality, the same value. There is no difference at all.
“In every other thing there are differences: the disciple is a disciple, he is learning, groping in the dark. The master is full of light, all groping has ceased, so every act is going to be different. But whether you are in darkness or in full light, laughter can join you.
“To me, laughter is the highest spiritual quality, where the ignorant and the enlightened meet.” (The Transmission of the Lamp)
Geeta had her own unique relationship with the master, that of laughter, and Milarepa too had an extraordinary way of playing with Osho. He used to ask questions that always made Osho laugh, and provoked Osho to tease him. It was a great game.
But the reality of the political situation regarding Osho’s visa was serious. Although it had been decided to give a permanent resident’s visa to Osho and even a press statement prepared to that effect, the very next day it was cancelled. Sanguinetti, the President of Uruguay received a message from Washington. He was told that if Osho became a resident of Uruguay then the loans that America were about to give Uruguay would be cancelled. Simple!
Hasya and Jayesh were travelling most of the time. The idea of living on an ocean liner was in the air, and Hasya and Jayesh had travelled to England to check out the situation with buying redundant aircraft carriers, and they had then gone to Hong Kong to look at a ship. Osho felt dizzy even if he saw someone else sitting on a swing, so it seemed impossible that he would be able to be on a ship. But despite this, he went totally into making intricate plans for living on a ship. I have never heard Osho say no to anything. When Hasya said that we thought living on a ship would be bad for his health, he said: “Well, if I have got used to being on this planet, my body will get used to being on a boat. This way you people will have freedom.” When not flying all over the world Hasya and Jayesh were in Montevideo with Marcos. Marcos was a Uruguayan businessman who had contacts in the government. He was a big-hearted, innocent man, and he was working very hard to enable Osho to stay in his country.
One night Osho called Vivek and Devaraj to his room and said to them that he no longer felt safe in Uruguay. He wanted to go back to India.
Uruguay lost its charm at this point and I felt we were surrounded once again by menace. Two days later the police, who had been diligently watching the house for the last ten weeks, stopped. This felt weird to us: maybe someone was going to harm Osho, and the police did not want to be involved? We got in touch with the police, and this time, even paid them to stay outside the house.
The atmosphere was getting tense, as Hasya and Jayesh were away and John and a Chilean sannyasin called Isabel, who had just arrived, were now continuing the liaison work with the government, but with a different contact. They did not feel to work with Marcos, and instead they worked with their own contact and friend in the government, called Alvarez. He too was a beautiful man, and he became a sannyasin, but I never quite trusted him. He was just too charming, too handsome.
When we first arrived in Uruguay the government had received telex messages from NATO sources, marked “diplomatic secret information,” the source of which was the U.S.A. The information in these telexes was that we (Osho’s disciples) were drug traffickers, smugglers and prostitutes!
One day during the last few weeks of our stay the police turned up on our doorstep wanting to search the house. We had heard that this was dangerous because it was a common thing that drugs were “planted” on people if they were undesirable in any way and no crime had been committed. Keeping them on the doorstep, because they had no warrant, I raced up the stairs to Osho’s room, where he was talking to Hasya and Jayesh. I entered, and said that the police were here. Osho continued talking to Hasya as calmly as you like, as though nothing was happening. I left the room and five minutes later Hasya appeared and said that she had to finally stand up and say to Osho that she was sorry, but she was unable to listen to what he was saying, her attention was downstairs with the police, and she had to go and see what was happening.
The police went away, but already the situation was complicated and undesirable, and now that Osho said he wanted to leave it was finished.
But it was not quite finished, because we refused to see the reality of the situation. In the second week of June, John and Isabel were given a promise by Alvarez that it was okay for Osho to stay for at least another six weeks, and after that it was almost certain that he would get a resident’s visa. This was good news to us, something that we wanted to hear.
I went to Montevideo on June 16th to the dentist, and as usual called in to see Marcos and his family. He was frightened as he told me that he had heard that if Osho was not out of the country by the 18th June, then he would be arrested. President Sanguinetti was in Washington meeting Reagan, negotiating the new loans for Uruguay, his first visit in many years.
I went straight back to our house, told Vivek, who told Osho, and immediately plans were made to arrange a private plane, and a new country to land in.
Jamaica was to be our new hope. By the end of the day I was packed, and early the next morning I left on a flight to Jamaica with Rafia. Osho was to follow in a private plane with Vivek, Devaraj, Anando and Mukti.
The day Osho left Uruguay telephone calls from Washington were received in the Uruguay Home Office, every hour, on the hour, asking whether Osho had left the country.
In the afternoon of the 18th at 5.00 p.m. Alvarez telephoned saying that he had received a telegram from the Immigration Department saying that Osho had to report to the immigration department before 5.30 p.m., or else he would be arrested.
I heard that at about 6.30 p.m. Osho left the house that had become our mystery school, just as three police cars were arriving. The police followed Osho’s car to the airport, and while all the sannyasins from the house, with Marcos, celebrated with songs and danced with Osho, they watched with stunned faces. The tense atmosphere at the airport was diffused in the celebration as Osho made his way to the waiting jet.
More police cars screeched into the airport as the jet climbed high and only two flickering tail-lights could be seen, disappearing into the night sky.
The United States of America announced on 19th June that Uruguay would receive a new loan of 150 million dollars.