Written by Prem Shunyo
It was mid-February and the water of the Aegean was cold, but it felt wonderful as I swam naked in the deep, clear pool formed by the rocks with the sea gently breaking over them. The sun was shining and I looked up at the house built into the cliff, and the winding stone staircase cut into it.
The top rooms of the house were where Osho was staying, and the circular window of his sitting room overlooked the sea and cliffs. His bedroom was tucked away in the back of the house, so was dark and cave-like. This was the time he took his afternoon nap. The bathroom was between the two and Ma Amrito had done much work to modernize it for him. Ma Amrito had rented the house for one month from a film director friend of hers, Nikos Koundouros.
The room in which I was to live and do Osho’s laundry was halfway up the cliff, with a white arched balcony. Above my room were our friends from Hollywood – Kaveesha and David, who were lovers from the beginning of time, John and his girlfriend Kendra, an extremely beautiful blonde woman who had been a sannyasin since she was a child, and Avirbhava. Avirbhava is a Tennessee millionairess. When worried that men only loved her for her money, Osho said to her that her money was part of her. He told her that she was not only a beautiful woman, but a beautiful rich woman. He said, “Do you think that I worry that you love me only for my enlightenment?”
They had just got back from visiting an island in the Pacific which had been offered as a possible home for Osho. It was Marlon Brando’s island, but proved to be unsuitable as a hurricane had recently flattened it.
Our group was growing – a beautiful Chilean family of sannyasins, father, mother, daughter and son had arrived from Rajneeshpuram, just by chance, not knowing Osho was coming, and had helped with the preparation of the house. Besides the domestic side of the work many sannyasins flew in to deal with the world press. Almost every country in the world was represented by journalists from magazines and newspapers. Television crews came from Germany, Holland, U.S.A., Italy and Australia.
Osho started giving discourses the day after he arrived and within a few days there were five hundred sannyasins from the U.S.A. and Europe. He sat under a carob tree in the courtyard, and musicians sat together on the stone patio and played as Osho entered and when he left. Everyone screamed with surprise and delight as he danced with Vivek playfully dancing around him; they moved together and then apart and laughing all the time they danced up the steps together and through the large oak doors into the house.
On the days when the spring weather was stormy we sat inside the house in a huge room on the ground floor; but we filled that room to capacity and it overflowed with people sitting up the stairs and on the window sills.
Osho answered questions from disciples and the world media in discourses held twice a day. It was as though we were reliving the times when the wise man was sought after and consulted for his guidance. The press asked Osho questions about their political leaders, the pope, birth control, the death penalty, marriage problems, women’s lib, money, health – both of body and mind – armaments and meditation. Yes, there were a few questions about meditation, but of course, the usual yellow journalism was there with the same old questions:
“You are also known as the sex guru……?”
Osho: “The definition which calls me a sex guru is not only false, it is absurd. To put it right: I am the only person in the world who is anti-sex. But that needs tremendous understanding. You cannot hope for that understanding from journalists.
“There are at least four hundred books in my name, and there is only one book about sex. Only that book is talked about; the three hundred and ninety-nine, nobody cares about, and those are the best. The book on sex is just preparing you so that you can understand the other books and go higher, dropping small problems, reaching to the heights of human consciousness – but nobody talks about them.”
And the subject asked most by journalists:
“Do you miss the Rolls Royces?”
Osho: “I never miss anything. But it seems the whole world is missing my Rolls Royces. It is a very insane world. When the Rolls Royces were there, they were jealous; now that they are gone, they are missing them. I am simply left out! They may be there again, and people will start feeling jealous….
“Just the other day a few beautiful photographers were here. All my people tried to prevent me from being photographed by the side of a Honda, but I insisted that this picture should be taken. The Honda does not belong to me, neither did those Rolls Royces. But let people at least enjoy; they will feel good. It is very strange that people’s minds should be concerned about things with which they have no concern at all.”
Osho: “…I am sorry to say I don’t understand anything about finance. I don’t have any bank account. I have not even touched money for thirty years. I have been in America for five years – I have not seen a dollar bill.
“I live totally trusting existence. If it wants me to be here it will manage. If it does not want me to be here it will not manage.
“My trust in existence is total.
“The people who don’t trust in existence trust in money, trust in god, and trust in all kinds of idiotic things.”
Question: “Is the name Bhagwan written in your passport?”
Osho: “I have never seen my passport. My people take care of it. When I was in jail in America I had no phone numbers of my attorneys, or of the commune, or of my secretaries – because in my whole life I have never phoned. The U.S. Marshal was surprised and asked, ‘Who should we inform that you have been arrested?’ I said, ‘Whomsoever you like. As far as I am concerned, I don’t know anybody. You can inform your wife, she may enjoy hearing what her husband is doing – arresting innocent people without any warrant.’
“I have such a different way of life that it sometimes looks unbelievable. I don’t know where my passport is right now. Somebody must be carrying it, somewhere.”
Osho was asked: “How would you like to introduce yourself to the Greek people?”
Osho: “My god, can’t you recognize me? I am the same person you have poisoned twenty-five centuries ago.
“You have forgotten me, but I have not forgotten you. And just being here for two days – I was thinking that in twenty-five centuries Greece would have evolved towards some better qualities, towards more humanity, towards more truth. But I am feeling sad, because in just two days there have been articles in the Greek newspapers telling absolute lies about me, making allegations which have no foundation in reality, absurdities.”
Osho had just left Nepal, the land where Gautam the Buddha was born, and here we were on the first step of the world tour, in Greece – the land of Zorba.
Osho: “Zorba is the foundation of the temple.
“Buddha is the temple itself.
“For the New Man I have given the name Zorba the Buddha. I want no schizophrenia, no split between matter and spirit, between the mundane and the sacred, between this-worldly and that-worldly. I don’t want any split because every split is a split in you, and a personality, a humanity divided against itself, is going to be crazy and insane. And we are living in a crazy and insane world. It can be sane only if the split can be bridged.
“Zorba has to become Buddha, and Buddha has to understand and respect its own foundation. Roots may be ugly, but without those roots there are not going to be any flowers.”
On vegetarianism Osho said: “The people who have been vegetarians for centuries are absolutely non-violent. They have not created any wars; they have not created any crusades, any jihads. The people who are meat eaters are bound to have little sensitivity, they are more hard. Even in the name of love they will kill; even in the name of peace they will go to war.
“In the name of freedom, in the name of democracy, they will murder….
“It seems to me that killing animals for eating is not very far away from killing human beings. They differ only in their bodies, in their shape, but it is the same life that you are destroying.”
Osho was asked many questions about bringing up children and teenage problems. This was strange because while the world press was asking Osho’s advice on young people, this was the very “crime” for which Osho was arrested in Crete – “corrupting the youth.” This was also the accusation made against Socrates twenty-five centuries before.*
Osho answered questions on AIDS:
“Do you feel, as some people do, that AIDS is a curse from God due to licentiousness?”
Osho: “It is certainly a curse from God, but not due to licentiousness. It is a curse from god because of the teachings by the church of celibacy – which is unnatural; of keeping monks and nuns separate – which is unnatural; which is bound to create homosexuality. Homosexuality is a religious disease, and the church is responsible for it. God himself is responsible for it because in the Christian trinity god is there, the father; the son Jesus Christ is there, and who is this guy the holy ghost? There is no woman there; it is a gay group. And I suspect this holy ghost is a boyfriend of God’s.”
He said that society and the priests give us two lies and they are God and death.
“There is no God.
“There is no death.
“These so-called religious leaders – cardinals, bishops, archbishops – they are representing the only begotten son of a hypothesis. These are the most unintelligent people in the world. They are living in a hallucination.” (Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries)
The archbishop of Crete responded in a way that proved that everything Osho had said about the hypocrisy of priests was correct: “Either he stops preaching or we use violence,” threatened Bishop Dimitrios. “Blood will flow should Bhagwan not leave the island voluntarily.” The archbishop was quoted in the local papers as saying he would dynamite the villa and set fire to it with Bhagwan and all his followers inside.
Ma Amrito and Mukta, with her silver hair and deep brown eyes, went to visit the archbishop to see if there was some misunderstanding. As they approached the church one of the local people shouted to Amrito, “You are the devil’s daughter! Get out of here!” After they had stood on his doorstep for a few minutes and tried to explain to him that before condemning Osho he should at least hear what he has to say, the bishop screamed at them in anger, “Get out of this house.”
Veena and Gayan, who had been Osho’s seamstresses at Rajneeshpuram, arrived and the three of us had great fun repairing the damage that had occurred to Osho’s robes and hats in the buckets of snow-water in Kulu.
Many friends were arriving and the atmosphere was festive, but I felt ill-at-ease. I had a nightmare that men were climbing through my bay windows and imagined boats moored below in the cove filled with menace. I remembered that this was the island where Gurdjieff had been carried off in a coma, after he had been shot. I was accident-prone, there was a gigantic bruise on my thigh from falling down the steps; I broke things, and my washing machine did nothing but flood the floor and give me electric shocks.
A strong wind swept the island one night. The sea was wild and the trees bent as the wind thrashed and sang its whining song. Avirbhava’s boyfriend Sarvesh and I thought it would be “fun” to go for a motorbike ride and feel the wind in our hair. Ma Amrito stood in front of us and with arms outstretched said, “No, I will not let you get on this bike.” It was a racing bike, 750 ccs., and Sarvesh admitted that he hadn’t ridden a bike since he was in college fifteen years before. But our minds were set and we drove down the hill to the small town of Agios Nicholaos. After five minutes I sensed that Sarvesh could not handle the bike, and as we took a corner on the seafront, the wind took us. The bike slid from under us and I felt my face slide down Sarvesh’s back and then I was laying face down in the middle of the road. I had the taste of blood in my mouth and I examined my teeth with my tongue – all there – good. Blood was coming from my face and nose, hands were cut, trousers torn, one shoe missing, ankle swollen, but I felt very clear. I had never had an accident before and I was amazed at the clarity and calmness I felt. Sarvesh was lying face down in a pool of blood coming from his head. I looked at his body, and in some strange way he looked okay. I then watched his breathing and it seemed normal and relaxed. I bent close to him and said his name but he was unconscious. I watched myself give instructions to the onlookers – you, ring the police, you, take care of the bike, you, ring (and I remembered a six digit number of the villa). We went to the hospital where Sarvesh remained unconscious for forty minutes. I knew absolutely that Sarvesh was going to be alright. I got in touch with such clarity within myself that night, that the experience was worth it.
The next day I got a message from Osho. He said that I was “Stupid!” to have gone on the bike.
We went to pick up Sarvesh from the hospital and his face was blue and unrecognizable. He had severe concussion, but he did recover fully in time.
I slept all the next day and night and ventured out the following morning. After just a few minutes in the sun I felt dizzy and John, who is a doctor, told me that dizziness is a symptom of concussion, so I went back to bed.
Ma Amrito telephoned that morning from Athens, where she was meeting the chief of security, to say that everything was going well and there was nothing to worry about.
About 2.00 p.m. I heard a lot of commotion. Getting out of bed I wandered over to the door and saw Anando who told me that the police had arrived, but I should go back to bed.
Go back to bed! I got dressed quickly, remembering from my last experience with the police that what you wear when the police arrive may be what you wear for the next few days in jail. I approached the house and saw it was surrounded by shouting aggressive men in plain clothes with guns and about twenty police in uniform. Anando was being dragged off to the local jail by four policemen, as was another friend who had come to help. I ran up the steps of the porch and stood in front of the door and said to the policeman there that, “There must be some mistake. Please wait, our lawyers are contacting the Chief of Police, and this will soon be sorted out.” He said to me, “I am the Chief of Police!”
I insisted that there was a mistake and higher authorities would be contacted. “I am the magistrate,” said another man!
I was convinced that a terrible mistake was happening and that if only we could stop the police from entering the house until help arrived, then everything would be alright. But these men were acting as though they had been sent on an emergency, dangerous mission. It reminded me of the arrest in Charlotte when the men arresting us did not know what they were doing, but thought they were arresting dangerous terrorists.
The men had split up in groups of two and three and were prowling around the house trying to find an entrance. I ran after two of them who were about to climb in a window and stood in front of them and screamed “No.” They tried to push me aside but I wouldn’t let them near the window.
My face was bruised and cut by the bike accident of two nights ago and I think that gave me courage that they would not touch me. If they did, I knew for sure that I would have made things very bad for them by accusing them of creating my wounds. Maybe they knew that too, but whatever went through their minds about the mess my face was in, they let me get away with harassing them a lot.
Japanese Geeta came to help and, although she is less than five feet tall, she was a strength to be reckoned with as she pursued the men trying to climb in windows.
I ran around the house and each time I saw them about to break in I stood in front of them. On one corner of the house a plain-clothes policeman stood, legs apart and in his hands held above his head was a huge rock. He looked like Goliath in the biblical story, and he was about to throw the rock through the window. I saw that behind the window were Asheesh and Rafia and our video equipment. If he threw the rock through the window then they would be hurt very badly. I stood between “Goliath” and the window and shouted at him:
“I thought the Crete police were friends of the people, but you are just fascists!” Two more policemen in uniform came to join him and one of them, his face turning bright red, shouted back at me, “We are not fascists!” Goliath put the rock down.
Then I heard the sound of breaking glass, and running around the corner I was in time to see three policemen climbing up the four feet of wall and entering through a window into the house. I saw them crossing the floor towards the staircase, and out of the corner of my eye saw that the main door was also being opened. I clambered through the broken window after them and ran towards the spiral staircase that led to Osho’s rooms. I made it up the stairs before them. I knew where I was going and they hesitated – expecting machine guns, maybe.
As I reached the top of the stairs Rafia was poised with his camera taking photos of the men as they ran up the stairs. I got to Osho’s bathroom and at the same time I saw two or three of the men grab Rafia and take him forcibly into the sitting-room. I thought for a minute that they were going to beat him up, but there was nothing I could do. Kendra followed a few minutes later and went into the sitting room after the men and I saw that Rafia was lying on the floor with two men on top of him, but he managed to slip the film from his camera to Kendra.
John was standing next to me and we called to Osho through a crack in the door to let him know what was happening. He said to tell them He would be out in a minute. “Goliath” appeared at the top of the stairs and the spiral staircase was now crowded with police all trying to get up, as was the corridor outside Osho’s bathroom. I said, “Please, we are peaceful people and there is no need to use violence.” Goliath said that it all depended on us whether or not they used violence. I said that we had not been violent with them.
They tried to move me away from the bathroom door, but again I think my battered, determined face stopped them being violent with me. I was saying to them, “Please, just let him finish in the bathroom. Some of the men kicked down Osho’s bedroom door and rushed in, guns at the ready.
John was also in the corridor as Osho emerged and a great lot of shoving started. I turned to the Chief of Police and said that so many men were not needed, to please send the thugs back downstairs, so he did, leaving about eight or ten of them clumsily escorting Osho into his sitting-room as he calmly walked to his armchair and sat down.
I saw Rafia as we entered. He was sitting on a chair facing the door and his face was flushed, his hair all over the place, and he looked shocked. I noticed that as Osho sat down he gave Rafia a penetrating look, and I presumed he was seeing if he was okay.
John sat on one side of Osho’s chair near the window and I sat on the other side. The police surrounded the chair in a circle and commenced shouting all at once in Greek. This went on for what seemed like five minutes and Osho turned to me and said, “Get Mukta to translate.” I went down the stairs accompanied by the Chief of Police and called across the downstairs room for Mukta, who came running. Now with a translator we were not much better off because the police were still shouting.
Osho calmly asked them if he could see their papers and why they had come. They waved papers that Mukta started reading, but it was very chaotic in the room. I had the feeling, then, that these men had been ordered to get Osho out by a certain time because they kept looking at their watches and their anxiety and aggressiveness would rise.
Osho said that he would leave, no problem, but to give his people time to arrange a plane and pack his things. They could stand guard over him until it had been done, but why arrest him? They shouted, “No!” – he had to come with them, “Now.”
They seemed so insistent on taking him away with them that I shouted at them that they could not take him before we packed his things. I said: “You have a very sick man here, and the whole world is watching what happens to this man. If you should harm him in any way then you will be in trouble.” I said to take him without his medicines would cause him much harm. I remember at the time feeling a little embarrassed to be calling Osho “a very sick man” right in front of him, knowing that he is much, much more than that!
I looked across at John. He was sitting motionless and silent, his face a blank screen on which anything could be projected. I projected that his very stillness was a warning for them to take it easy.
The confusion continued and the men argued and shouted amongst each other. The tension seemed to be mounting and subsiding in a rhythm not unlike big waves at sea.
One policeman had enough of the delay and roughly moved towards Osho and placed his hand on Osho’s wrist, which was resting on the arm of his chair as always when he sat relaxed. He said, “We take you now!” and made as if to yank Osho out of the chair. Osho gently, with his free hand, placed it on top of the policeman’s and patted it. He said, “There is no need to use violence.” The policeman dropped his hand and took a respectful step back.
The Chief of Police was saying that he had to arrest Osho and there was nothing he could do about it. It was his orders.
It was decided. Osho stood up and as they started to lead him away, I rushed to Osho’s medicine cabinet and stuffed my pockets with everything I could lay my hands on and was in time to walk down the spiral staircase with Osho, holding his hand.
Osho turned to me as we walked down the stairs and in a gentle and concerned voice asked me, “And you, Chetana, how are you?” I couldn’t believe it! We could have been going on a quiet afternoon’s walk without a care in the world and he was asking after my health. I said, “Oh, Bhagwan, I’m fine.”
We walked across the downstairs room, surrounded by police, where we had enjoyed such beautiful discourses only a day before. They had got their prey and were not going to let him escape. We walked through the huge wooden doors out on to the porch and there were a few stunned sannyasins looking shocked and helpless. Mukta was having a screaming match with two of the policemen in Greek and Osho turned to her and said, “Don’t bother to talk to them, Mukta, they are idiots.”
We reached the car and Osho turned to me and said that I was to stay behind and pack the trunks and suitcases. I nodded my head and he got in the car, followed by a policeman. It was a small car and Osho had a policeman on either side of him. Devaraj and Maneesha were on the scene and I shoved all the medicines I had into Devaraj’s pockets.
It looked as though they were going to drive off with Osho to god knows where, without any one of us with him. I stood in front of the car and leaned over the bonnet and shouted to the Chief of Police, who I was beginning to feel I knew quite well by now, very slowly and very loudly, “The-doctor-goes-in-the-car! The-doctor-goes-in-the-car!” Devaraj was standing at the ready and although the car door was just being closed, one of the policemen got out of his seat and Maneesha pushed Devaraj in, followed by the policeman. They looked very crowded in that back seat, with Devaraj balancing his doctor’s bag on his knees and Osho pushed up in the corner.
As the car sped down the dusty driveway out of sight, it registered in my mind that Osho was wearing that dress – the one I had dreamt about in Rajneeshpuram.
We did not know where the police were taking Osho, and one story was that they intended to send him to Egypt on a boat. That story was true and it took twenty-five thousand dollars to bribe the police in order to allow Osho to leave the country safely.
I found Mukti and Neelam, thinking that if Osho was to be deported then they should arrive with him in India. The idea of Osho arriving in India alone was terrifying – you heard what he said about money and his passport.
I packed about a dozen giant-sized metal trunks. Osho’s chair was put in a wooden crate; there were suitcases and smaller trunks – altogether about thirty pieces of luggage.
I then went to Heraklion Airport where Osho was waiting for a flight to Athens. His treatment from the police had improved tremendously since they had received twenty-five thousand dollars.
Osho was sitting in a small room surrounded by armed police and giving an interview to a reporter who was from Penthouse magazine, of all places.
It was raining, but that did not stop the hundreds of sannyasins from celebrating outside the building. We were singing and turning the disaster into a festival! Planes were coming in to land from all over Europe and the U.S.A., and sannyasins were pouring off them having just arrived to see Osho. I hugged one friend after another that I hadn’t seen since the destruction of Rajneeshpuram, and with everyone in tears the news spread quickly that Osho was already leaving the country. They had arrived just in time to wave goodbye to him.
The airport was filled with thousands of sannyasins and all the local people from the village, Agios Nicholaos. As the time drew closer for Osho’s departure I went into the airport lounge, and it was an incredible sight – thousands of people in red and orange. A voice would call out, “There he is,” and everyone would rush to one area of the airport, and then another voice would call out “No, there he is,” and the thousands of people would move as one body. I was reminded of a huge ship on a rough sea, where everyone is tossed from one side to the other by the waves.
We were expecting Osho to walk through the airport, so the air was tense with expectation, excitement and songs.
I was standing with Anando, having rushed up the stairs to the terrace to watch the planes. We saw Vivek, Rafia, Mukti, Neelam and a few other sannyasins board and naturally thought that Osho was to get on that plane. Our hearts fell to our stomachs when the plane took off without him and our fear was that some trick was being played. But then we saw a car pull up alongside a small plane on the runway and that was it – yes, it was Devaraj and Osho. They were getting in the smaller plane going to Athens and Anando said, “I have a ticket for that plane,” and with that she disappeared into the crowd, calling over her shoulder for me to please send her clothes after her.
I watched as the plane took off surrounded by thousands of friends in various stages ofconfusion and sadness, and then I went back to the empty villa to wait and see what was to happen next.
Osho’s last words to the press before leaving Greece were:
“If a single person on a four-week tourist visa can destroy your two-thousand-year-old morality, your religion, then it is not worth preserving. It should be destroyed.”