Written by Prem Shunyo
After my first night in an Indian hotel, in Poona, I decided to abandon the search for Truth. The hotel had appeared to be a good one from the outside, and I arrived tired and shaken at my first experience of an Indian airport and train station. The station looked like a refugee camp with whole families asleep on their pathetic bundles of possessions, right in the middle of the platform, where passengers rushed past and over them. Maimed, starving people pulled at me, begged from me, and stared as though they wanted to eat me. Porters and taxi drivers shouted at each other and even had a fist fight, punching each other’s faces and half strangling each other over who was to have a customer. And so many hundreds of people – everywhere. Population explosion!
On the wall of my hotel room was the most repulsive, crusty-backed creature I had ever seen. It was a three-inch long cockroach, and it flew at me. It actually flew, and I screamed so loud that people came running. I can still remember the incredulous look on the man’s face when he saw that I was making so much fuss over a cockroach.
Turning on the bathroom taps I was surprised when the water went straight through the sink and splashed onto my feet. The plumbing had never been completed and there was no pipe connecting the sink to a drain. I went to the reception desk and tried to explain what had happened, and then took the manager to my bathroom and pointed at the bottomless sink. But he could not see the problem, and anyway didn’t have another room free.
The bed was a metal frame that had once been painted blue, with springs that almost penetrated the thin mattress, and on top of this were two well-worn sheets that hadn’t been changed in a long time. But the worst thing was what I understood to be a large swastika painted in blood on the wall. This, I thought, was some kind of black magic. I didn’t know then that the swastika originated in India and is a symbol of good fortune. It was Hitler who, reversing the direction of the cross unknowingly changed the swastika to symbolise evil. And it was not painted in blood but a herb that, when chewed, becomes red. It has a similar effect to tobacco, and it’s very popular and spat everywhere.
It was late at night and I didn’t want to go back out into the madness of the street, so I sat fully dressed on the bed all night, not daring to lie down on it – and cried.
Awaking in a crumpled heap on the bed to the sounds of a very loud radio playing Indian film music and people shouting, I decided to take a quick holiday somewhere in the sun and go back to London. I had some books to deliver to the ashram for Osho’s library, so I took a rickshaw to the ashram and from there was leaving for the coast. I had only one foot outside the rickshaw, and as I looked up I saw Rishi. He was the man who, in my dream, had handed me my “gift” for which I had been striving for two years. He took me to his house, put me in the bed and there I stayed for one week. Then I was ready.
I started attending Hindi discourses. Osho used to give discourses every morning, one month in Hindi and one month in English. This was the Hindi month. I didn’t have the eyes to see Osho’s grace and beauty at first, but I was certainly feeling something. The Master is on a level of consciousness that average human beings can’t begin to understand. It is only that hidden part – the mystic part of a person – that has one small feeler out for the magic in life, and it is that feeler that somehow finds the way to the Master and can recognise him.
To sit and listen to a language that one doesn’t understand, for two hours sitting on a marble floor, seems a bit daft. But Chuang Tzu Auditorium, with its extremely high roof supported by pillars and open on all sides to a garden, so lush and exotic, was a very special place. Osho’s voice while speaking Hindi was the most beautiful music I had ever heard. I never missed a Hindi discourse; I even preferred them to English.
In monsoon there were very few people (sometimes no more than about one hundred) and the rain would be pelting down on the surrounding jungle. It was the easiest way to slip into meditation and not even know it. Discourse would end with the Hindi “Aj Itna Hee” (enough for today) after two hours, and I would think, “Oh, no! I just sat down.” I had sat there feeling so much energy that I was all over the auditorium, like a wild stallion galloping, head thrown back, mane flying; and by the time I settled and sat silently it was as the last words were being spoken. Osho always lowers his voice as he reaches the end of a discourse, in a way that one is gently nudged over the edge, into oblivion. Time loses all meaning when sitting with Osho; two hours can be as two minutes.
I was feeling tremendously alive. It felt as though Osho had given me life. I was alive before, in body; I was enjoying myself, but I could feel a qualitative difference now.
The first few days that I attended the discourses a strange thing would happen: I would leave the auditorium and run straight for the bathroom and vomit. The rest of the day I would feel perfectly okay, but then the next morning the same thing would happen again. There was nothing I could do. I didn’t want to stop attending the discourses because I was enjoying them, and I certainly couldn’t write to Osho – “Beloved Master, your discourses make me throw up.” So, I continued to go each morning and throw up.
After the sickness stopped, crying began. Each morning I would run out of the auditorium and head for a large clump of bushes in a secluded spot of the ashram gardens, crawl under the bushes, and howl my eyes out. Sometimes I would sob and blubber until lunch time. This continued for months. I never understood what I was crying about. It didn’t feel like sadness, more like an overflow of awe.
The body can certainly have strong reactions to meditation in the beginning. Any sickness we got while we were doing intense meditation camps, or groups, we were advised to wait five days before seeing a doctor. These sicknesses always changed and went without medicine, because they were basically being created by the mind. It became quite obvious that the body and mind are interconnected in a way that, if understood, could enable us to avoid many sicknesses.
As each month passed, marked by the change from Hindi to English discourses, I would marvel that I was still in Poona with Osho. Even though I had come “forever”, I had no idea how this was going to happen. Rishi was taking his spiritual path quite seriously at this time. He was celibate and eating only brown rice. So after the first week of taking care of me he asked me to find my own place.
When I became a Sannyasin I had found the Sannyasin men too soft and effeminate. I thought, “well, obviously my love-life is finished if I get into this trip.” But I didn’t care. At twenty-nine I felt I had done enough. However, walking into the “Cafe Delight” one morning to drink a sugarcane juice, I met a tall, slim, blond Englishman called Prabuddha, and “fell in love”. We were staying in the same hotel, and after a week decided that we might as well live in the same room as it was cheaper. It was not quite as bad as the first hotel I stayed in, but did not lack cockroaches, stinking bathrooms, and screams in the night. It was the hottest time of the year and the electricity was continually being cut off, but I had never been happier in my life.
Each night Osho met about twelve to fifteen disciples on the porch of his house overlooking the garden. This was called darshan (literally translated it means seeing). In this intimate atmosphere He would meet new people and help anyone who was having difficulties with meditation, or as happened a lot with Westerners – relationship problems. I was sitting by the side of Laxmi, a small Indian woman who was Osho’s secretary, when my name was called. I can’t remember him walking in as I was so overwhelmed by the impact of his energy that surrounded me like a cool mist that made my head swim. His eyes had a different light, his gestures had a different grace to anything I had seen before and he had a powerful gentleness that I had not been aware of sitting in the discourses. As I sat in front of him unable to speak he shone a light on my forehead, and then gave me a meditation technique to do each night and told me to come back in two weeks to report. He said that much had to come up. I had been watching for something really dramatic and “spiritual” to happen to me, but I found that only happiness was “coming up”. I told Osho and He said:
“More happiness will be coming, because once you have the opening for happiness, then there is no end to it. It goes on growing. Once you open yourself to unhappiness, that goes on growing. It is just a turning within you, a tuning within you…as if you tune the radio to a certain wave-length and it catches a certain station.
“Exactly like that, if you try to tune yourself towards happiness, you will become receptive to all the happiness that the world makes available. And it is tremendous; nobody can exhaust it. It is oceanic…it goes on and on and on. It knows no beginning and no end. And the same is with unhappiness; that too is unending.”
He said that once you know how to turn your face towards happiness, then it goes deeper and deeper until a moment comes when you forget that unhappiness exists.
I had a falling dream and as I hurtled down, down, arms stretched out and caught me and it was Osho.
I have my own idea that possibly something like a honeymoon happens with meditation, because when I first came to Osho many strange experiences happened. I think it was because I was not expecting anything, and so I had a certain innocence about the esoteric.
Sitting in discourse one morning, not near the front, but close enough to make eye contact with Osho, I felt a surge of energy, like an atomic mushroom moving up inside my body and exploding around my chest area. For the next few years my “heart centre” was the area that was feeling most of the action.
When I first heard Osho speaking about awareness I did not understand. With my first few attempts at awareness, I found that whenever I tried to be aware my breathing would stop. I could not breathe and be aware at the same time. I must have been trying too hard, and been too tense.
I was beginning to understand what Osho was saying about conditioning and about the mind being a computer programmed by parents, society, teachers, television, and, in my case – pop songs. I had never thought about it before, but there were many things I began to notice about myself, my reactions to situations, my opinions. When I stopped to re-examine, I remembered that my teacher had taught me that…my grandmother thought this way…this is what my father believes in. “Where am I in all this?” I would ask myself.
Meditation happened for me naturally, from just sitting in discourse and listening to the sound of Osho’s voice, and the pauses between his words. I sat and listened to the rhythm and in that way meditation came to me rather than me trying to do it.
Discourses became so important for me that I would wake up several times during the night and jump out of bed ready to go. After my emotional outbursts of crying in the bushes cooled down, discourse became a nourishing and essential beginning to my day.
I began to see how differently Osho moved from anyone else I had seen, and I became fixed sometimes for a whole discourse just watching his hands. Each movement was graceful and poetic, and yet he had a vitality and strength that emanated great power. The way he spoke to us was seductive, but seducing us to meditate, to walk the spiritual path. His hand was offered to us and he beckoned, and as if we were children taking their first steps, he reassured us and kept calling us forward.
He laughed with us and told us never to become serious, that seriousness is a disease and life is playful. When he looked at us we immediately felt accepted, trusted and loved as never before. I use the word “us” because he was the same with everyone. He loves everyone equally, as though he is love itself.
His compassion was something I had never experienced before. I had never met anyone who spoke the truth about a situation, risking his own popularity in order to help others.
I sent a dream I had to Osho, as a letter. I thought it was a beautiful, colorful dream and wanted him to see it. I received an answer that was: “Dreams are dreams, without any meaning.” I was furious. After all, was it not because of a very important dream that I was here at all? I had been keeping a dream diary for years, and considered the meaning of dreams to be very significant. I wrote a discourse question asking, “Why did you say such a thing, that dreams have no meaning?” Part of the reply I got was:
“I am not only saying that dreams are dreams; I say that whatsoever you see when you think you are awake is also a dream. The dreams that you see with closed eyes in your sleep, and the dreams that you see with your open eyes in your so-called awake state – both are dreams and both are meaningless….
“Mulla Nasruddin was walking into town one evening when he suddenly came across a pile of cow shit on the path. He bent over slightly and looked at it carefully.
“Looks like it,” he said to himself.
He leaned closer and sniffed. “Smells like it.”
He cautiously put his finger in it, then tasted it:
“Tastes like it. I’m sure glad I didn’t step in it!”
“Beware of analysis!” Osho said.
I was really hurt – how dare he say that my life is meaningless, so how can my dreams have meaning? Why couldn’t he be nice about it, I wasn’t asking him anything to provoke this! But although I felt a little singed by the fire, I did have enough understanding to know that I wasn’t yet in tune with existence the way he speaks of it. I didn’t feel as fulfilled and blissful as he looked, so maybe I had been fooling myself that my life had meaning. I only had to look at him and I could see in him that there was another reality, a far deeper dimension, something I could see in him but did not know for myself. I could see it in his eyes, and in the way he moved.
He had taken away a false notion I had about myself, and it left me space to explore the real.
Six months passed and Prabuddha needed to go to England to finish some business he was doing with his brother. He offered to take me with him, and as my sister was getting married and I knew I would be returning within a month, I agreed. I had another reason for going also, and although it was vague in my mind it was deep. I was feeling so secure in my new way of life that I wanted to test it somehow. My feeling to go was not clear to me, and when I saw Osho in Darshan to say goodbye and he asked why I was going, I cried and simply said, “I feel so secure here.” He smiled and said “Yes, love is very secure.”
I felt more loving and open to my family than I had ever been. My sister is ten years younger than me, so when I left home at sixteen she was so young that we never really met. I was always the big sister who returned for holidays and was gone again, almost like a stranger. On this visit at her party on the eve of her marriage we danced together all night, and I felt for the first time that we had really met. On introducing Prabuddha to my parents, my father thought I said “poor bugger,” and so that is what he was called. My parents were happily reassured that my new life was good for me, and so once again we said goodbye.
We returned to India and landed in Goa. Goa is, to Poona, like Brighton is to London – the closest seaside resort. Behind the house in which we stayed was a high, steep cliff and one day we climbed over the cliff to the other side to explore the beaches there. Green fields and lush jungle spread out before we reached the beach and after a few hours we walked back. As we reached the top of the cliff I saw, moving through my mind like a movie, someone shooting at us, and we were lying in the grass to avoid the bullets. I said to Prabuddha, “Someone could easily shoot us right here.”
The sun was low in the sky and just turning orange as we reached the top and began to climb down towards our house. It was very rough on this side with loose rocks, and extremely steep, and the path curved out of sight at many places.
I heard a sound behind us, turned, and thirty feet from us was an Indian man with a rifle. As I stood and looked at him, he placed the rifle on his shoulder, bent down on one knee, and aimed at us. I was in shock and reacted very slowly, considering the situation.
I tapped Prabuddha on the shoulder. He was in front of me, climbing down the slope, and when he turned I said:
“Look, someone wants to shoot us!”
“Fuck!!” screamed Prabuddha, and he grabbed my wrist and pulled me down the cliff. I swear that our feet did not touch the ground, running down that cliff.
We reached the bottom and our Goan neighbours ran towards us and took us into their house. They sat us down in a dark corner and “holy water” was sprinkled on us in a kind of ritual dance. (Goans are Catholics, but they add their own brand of voodoo to it.)
We explained what had happened and were told that only a few months before, two Westerners had been murdered on that hill.
I was fascinated. From where did my thoughts come of being shot at? Thoughts must be energy waves that travel, rather like radio waves, and all you need is to tune in to the right station. Radio waves are continuously in the air, but you need a radio to pick them up. Maybe thoughts are also in the air, just the same way. This explains to me how it is that lovers, or people closely related, will often have the same thought at the same time, and when staying in a new house, the “vibe” may be strange – thought waves left behind by the last occupants. I recently did an experiment with a friend, where he sat in one room and I in another and I sent him thoughts. We decided beforehand that the thought could consist of anything – a color, a sound, a word, a drawing – and he would write down whatever he received. He got six out of ten of my thoughts!
Prabuddha and I returned to Poona and I became engrossed in one of Osho’s old books The Mystic Experience. He had spoken to disciples in Bombay five years before in a much different way than he did now. He had talked of esoteric things then, explained ghosts, chakras, the seven bodies of man, but now he was very down to earth and didn’t answer questions on magic and the supernatural. Since Osho began giving discourses some thirty years ago he has changed tremendously depending on who the audience was. He was later to say that he cast his nets according to the fish he wanted to catch. When Osho would then speak against the same religious men he had spoken in favour of earlier many followers would leave him. But some would remain. And those few would be the people who had really been hearing the message that he has to impart.
Weeks passed and one day I was thinking that all this love and light was a bit much, a bit boring and maybe I would go to Bali and look for a bit of black magic. As a child in Cornwall I was intrigued by the idea of the devil. I had tried to provoke Jesus in churches late at night when no one was around, but had not come up with much. Just some light appeared in the church one time after I had called out “Show yourself, Jesus!” But calling up the devil was much more fun. Friends would freak out, furniture would rattle and glasses break. The darker side of life seemed to have more substance, seemed more real.
I wrote a discourse question to Osho: “You say take light into darkness and the darkness disappears. You are the light. Then where is darkness? And why do I long for darkness too?”
The first sentence he spoke in answer was enough for me. He said:
“When I say bring light and darkness disappears, what I mean exactly is: bring light and darkness becomes luminous.”
Luminous darkness!! The search for luminous darkness! I was afire. I never again had the yearning to seek for anything less. Luminous darkness epitomises for me the poetic majesty of the peaks of life that I yearn for. The peaks that I glimpse for a while and then are gone, leaving me drenched in an unforgettable sweetness.
Even though I had become a sannyasin in London, nine months before, I felt the first time I touched Osho’s feet was the time I took Sannyas.
One of the things that had shocked me the most around Osho was that after he left the meeting hall, Indians would go to the podium, bow down and put their heads where his feet had been. As a Westerner I had never seen such a sign of devotion and I found it quite shocking. When my day came it was Guru Purnima celebration. (The day of the full moon in July when all religious teachers and masters in India are worshipped and celebrated.)
Osho sat in his chair and surrounding him were musicians, people in various stages of let-go, laughing, singing, swaying, and then a line of people who wanted to touch the feet of the Master. The auditorium was filled to capacity and with everyone in shades of the rising sun, the atmosphere was festive and quite overwhelming. I joined the end of the line, which stretched all the way through the overgrown garden and out to the gate. I could see, from the people before me, that all I had to do was touch his feet and move on. As I slowly shuffled forward from the garden into the auditorium, I was no longer thinking about it, because the celebration was so contagious.
Suddenly, I was there, in front of him. I remember bowing down, but then there was a blank moment when I knew nothing. The next thing I knew, I was up and running. I ran, and I ran, with tears streaming down my face. A friend tried to stop me to comfort me, thinking something was wrong, but I pushed her aside – I had to run. I could have run until I disappeared off the end of the world.
In those same months I did a few therapy groups. I found them very useful as a beginning to awareness. Becoming aware of emotions, as a separate experience from oneself, is invaluable. I was for the first time able to accept and express negative emotions freely. To feel anger pulsating throughout the whole body, and just be with it (without punching anyone else) is, in fact, a beautiful experience.
The energy of a group of people sitting together for days in a room with the aim to “discover themselves” is very intense. I remember hallucinating and seeing the walls move and the room change shape and size. It must be connected with adrenalin rushes because certainly fear was present at moments, the fear of being exposed. And then, the bliss when it is discovered that all the fears are just projections of the mind.
I became “possessed” by the lovable hunchback once more during a group in which I horrified the other group participants, and even the seasoned groupleader was without any comment. And then once more, after a particularly beautiful darshan one night, while walking home from the ashram, I saw two Indian men having a fight. I was feeling vulnerable and the violence shocked me so much that as I walked away down the road I felt the hunchback taking me over, and I did not want to prevent it. I had enough sense to say to myself, “Walk in the shadows of the trees, and no one will see you.” I was not frightened by this gross distortion of my body because my physical body was nothing compared to the immense feeling of love that came with it. I thought about nothing, except one thought drifted through, that “I will tell the groupleader tomorrow.” It was a fifteen minute walk and I watched myself, hobbling along in the shadows of the old banyan trees, eyes rolled up in my head, tongue hanging out the side of my mouth. Just before I reached home I was beginning to straighten up and “he” was fading. That was the last time we met. I didn’t tell anyone though; I knew it would sound weird to them. And I never asked Osho about it because it didn’t feel like a problem.
I have heard Osho say that the conscious mind is only the tip of the iceberg and the unconscious is full of repressed fears and desires. In a “normal” society, without the protective and understanding environment of Osho’s ashram, I would never have allowed such an experience to happen. It would have been kept suppressed, and instead of feeling cleansed by what was a natural expression of something unknown, anxiety would have built up. Why do so many people go mad in the Western world – especially sensitive and talented people, like artists, musicians and writers? In the East it has never happened, and this has something to do with meditation. In a series of talks called The Beloved, Osho has said:
“Madness is possible in two ways: either you fall below the normal, or you go above the normal. In both ways you become mad. If you fall below the normal you are ill; you need psychiatric treatment to be pulled back to normality. If you go beyond the normal you are not ill. For the first time you are becoming really healthy, because for the first time you are filled with wholeness. Then don’t be afraid. If your madness brings you more sanity in life, then don’t be afraid. And remember, the madness that is below the normal is always involuntary; that is the symptom: it is involuntary. You cannot do it, it happens; you are pulled into it. And the madness that is above the normal is voluntary – you can do it – and because you can do it, you remain the master of it. You can stop it at any moment. If you want to go further, you can go on – but you remain always in control.
“This is totally different from ordinary madness: you are going on your own. And remember, if you go on your own, you will never be neurotic because you will release all possibilities of madness. You will not go on accumulating them. Ordinarily, we go on repressing.”
After each group there would be a group darshan in which each person would speak to Osho and he would help them with any lingering problems.
I attended a darshan in which I proudly told him that I had got in touch with my anger. I really thought I had experienced anger in its totality. I had felt it all over my body, just pure energy, almost orgasmic. Osho looked at me and said, “You have only seen the branches, now you must find the roots.” I was furious!
I mentioned to him that I was about to do the encounter group for the second time. Osho said with a sigh, that, yes some people miss the first time. It proved to be true because by now I had the knack. I could provoke, detect and then express whatever emotion was happening.
I finished this process with a group in which you ask yourself the question, “Who am I?” for three days, continuously. This was really the group for me. Something happened in which my mind became a voice far in the distance and it (the mind) was unable to function, whereas, “I” was there, present and utterly fulfilled in each moment. I had been listening to Osho speak about no-mind in his discourses, but the words had not prepared me for this. To hear the word fulfilled is one thing, to experience it is something else. The experience lasted about six hours, and I was tickled pink that no one could see what was happening to me. We went for lunch and as I was eating, Prabuddha walked into the restaurant. Suddenly there was a “no” in me. I didn’t want to see him, so I hid under the table. Either the food or the boyfriend broke the spell and at that point the experience started to fade. However, it took a few days to fade completely and I still have the memory dangling in front of me like a cosmic carrot.
I had a darshan in which I told Osho that I was worried that because I didn’t do anything useful, I would be sent away. I told him that I was worried that I did not trust enough. He explained to me that his love is in such abundance that he just gives and nobody needs to deserve it. He said that my being is enough, that I am not supposed to do anything to be worthy, that he loves me and accepts me in all my limitations.
“To have my love you need not deserve it at all; your being is enough. You are not supposed to do something, you are not to become worthy of it; those are all nonsense things. Because of those things people have been exploited and distracted and destroyed.
“You are already that which you can be; more is not needed. So you have to just relax and receive me. Don’t think in terms of deserving, otherwise you will remain tense. That’s what is your problem, your anxiety, continuously – that you are falling short, that you are not doing this, you are not doing that, that your trust is not enough. You create a thousand and one things.
“I accept all your limitations and I love you with all your limitations. I don’t want to create any sort of guilt in anybody. Otherwise these are all the tricks. You are not trusting me – you feel guilty; then I become dominant. You are not worthy, you are not doing this, you are not doing that – I will cut the supply of my love to you. Then love becomes a bargain. No, I love you because I am love.”
I understood that this was one of the foundation stones of my conditioning, because this unworthiness would surface for years. So many times Osho has told me to just be, that I am enough unto myself.
And then he laughed and said for me to simply relax and enjoy and if I didn’t trust, good. He needed a few Sannyasins who didn’t trust him – it made variety!
He has always had a way of dissolving problems like a magician, and I would be left standing in the present where there are no problems, and wondering what my mind would think up next. I was suspicious that maybe I made up problems sometimes just to go to darshan.
Lawrence came to visit. I hadn’t seen him for almost two years and it felt as though no time had passed at all. We connected as though it had been only yesterday since he had put me on the plane to India. I think he came to check out the situation and confirm that I was well and healthy and not a cult victim, as he must have read all the negative press about Osho by then.
The journalists who visited Poona, or even the ones who did not visit wrote about violence in the group therapy and sex orgies, which I have unfortunately all these years never experienced!
Lawrence stayed for a few days and came to darshan to see Osho.
Not knowing the ropes, Lawrence got left behind as we all charged into the auditorium. The first to arrive sat in the front, you see, and as much as we tried to control ourselves and walk meditatively, the feet would move faster and faster and, turning the last corner, we were running and finally kicking off our shoes in all directions, before skidding across the last few yards of marble floor. Osho came in after we were seated.
Because of my ungraceful entrance, Lawrence and I got separated. He was at the back and I was in the front.
His name was called for him to come and speak to Osho. Nobody knew we were together, and yet when Lawrence’s name was called Osho turned in his chair and stared at me as though a flashing light and buzzer had gone off from me. Strange, I never understood how I sent out such a strong message without knowing it.
Osho gave Lawrence a gift, and told him to come back to make a film of the ashram.
A year passed, as I marked off each month as another small miracle that I was still here. After spending most of the year sitting by the river trying to play a bamboo flute, I decided that to work in the ashram would make me more vulnerable, or available to the Master and whatever “work” he had to do on me. I went many times to the office looking for a job but was told that there were enough workers and unless I could do something in the office (for instance, “An accountant arrived today from England” – this was Savita with whom I had changed clothes years before) then there was no space for me. I was not going to let anybody know that I had worked as a secretary for ten years for priests, psychiatrists, newspapers, hospitals, a veterinary surgeon and a casino. The office life did not appeal at all and so I worked as a gardener and spent most of the day watering plants with a hose, making rainbows. Gardening was considered a luxury and not a job.
Finally, I got caught with a proper job and I was screenprinting book jackets. I took the job quite seriously for a while too, thinking that I might become boss of the department; until one day while travelling across town to get a film processed, I saw a man lying dead in an alley and I thought to myself, “Whoah there! you did not come to a Master to become the best screenprinter in the world.”
The first day I started work in the ashram, Sheela, who was one of Laxmi’s secretaries and who had also just started working, approached me and asked me if I would come to the office each day to inform her what hours my co-workers were doing and how many beedie (Indian cigarettes) breaks they took. I told her that I couldn’t possibly do that as they were my friends. She replied that I had to, because it was for their spiritual growth. “How can they grow if they are lazy, and how can they be aware of their laziness if someone doesn’t point it out to them?” she reasoned. At that point I could only say okay, but I never went to the office and when she came to see me to ask how my co-workers were doing I told blatant lies and enjoyed it. “Beedie breaks? No, never. Yes, every day they arrive on time and work hard all day.” It is strange, looking back to that period to see how Sheela right from the beginning started a game of recruiting trustworthy spies. This shows that she had great ambitions and lust for power that later were to blow up in full.
I was by now living alone. Once again I was finished with men, as I had just been in love with two at the same time and it had driven me crazy. It climaxed one day when one was tearing up my clothes and when I reached home Prabuddha was throwing the furniture out in the street. I decided to be alone and moved into a house by the river. At night I would simply sit and listen to the sounds of cicadas and frogs, the ticking of the clock and the bark of a distant dog. I loved the dark.
It happened, though, that when I was with certain people, I would feel that they overpowered me and actually took possession of me. I would walk like that person, my face would take on their expressions and I would feel I had no will to stop them. It continued for a couple of months and I was trying to solve it on my own. I thought these people must be having stronger energy than me or something. It finally became too much for me and I wrote to Osho about it and he said to come to darshan.
Osho would do things in darshan, like shine a torch at your third eye or heart chakra and he would stare at something invisible to anyone else. It was quite obvious in darshan, from his great understanding and insights, that he could see right into the person he was talking to. He has said that he can see immediately whether the person is a new seeker or one who has been with many masters before in past lives. That night he called me forward and said I was to hold his foot. I sat and held his foot in my lap and cried. He said that it had nothing to do with other people’s energies; it was not that someone was overpowering me. It was because I was becoming open to him and when a person’s heart first starts opening, then anything can enter. Being open to him meant I was open to everyone, and that is why most people decide it is safer to remain with their heart closed. He said that my heart was opening slowly, slowly, and it was beautiful, but then a stray dog would also enter sometimes. So chase the dog out!
“This is going to happen to many people here. Once they start opening up they will be flooded by anything. You are open: somebody passes by and immediately the vibe takes possession of you. But the reason is because you are becoming open to me, because you are becoming more and more possessed by me. So the doors are open and sometimes you may not like somebody’s energy; it comes into you and you feel difficult with it. Just put the locket of the mala in your hands and remember my foot. You will be able even to touch it, to almost feel it. And immediately the feeling will be gone.
“That’s why I am so interested in creating a commune as fast as possible – so that you need not go outside at all. Slowly, slowly, my people will start raising their consciousness higher and higher so nobody, even if you become flooded by anybody, will be felt as bad. It will be a joy. You will thank him, that he has given something beautiful to you by passing. That is what a commune means: where people are living a totally different kind of life, vibrating on a different plane. So each helps the other and everybody becomes a great tidal wave for each other. They can ride on each other’s energies and can go on moving as far as they wish. And nobody needs to go outside.” (Let Go)
Just a few more days, he said, and within three weeks it will all be finished.
A few days later Vivek, who was Osho’s caretaker, came to me and asked if I would like to change my job. She needed someone to do Osho’s laundry, as his dhobi (laundry man), who had been doing the job for seven years, was going on holiday.
Within three weeks I had moved into Osho’s house and had started my new work.