Sumati and I finally arrived at the Ranch in Oregon in either late November or early December. We had started out from New Jersey on September 1st and crisscrossed the U.S. as well as driven into Canada.
All along the way, we stopped in bookstores and visited distributors taking orders for Osho’s books. The response was very, very good. Of course, all the publicity surrounding his coming to the States did not hurt. Neither did the ads that Chidvilas had placed in Time magazine with his quotes. People were very curious and going into their bookshops wanting to find out more.
It was also a tremendous learning opportunity finding out exactly how the book business worked, and what the bookshops and distributors wanted from us in order to aid them in the sale of the books. Many strong connections were forged that lasted for years.
Every couple of days, we would call Vidya and check in. Occasionally, she would relay something Osho had said concerning the selling of the books.
When we did finally arrive, I had a bit of a debriefing session with Pratima, who was in charge of book publishing. We had gathered a considerable amount of constructive feedback that we could use to chart our course with publishing.
After a couple of days, we were invited to Lao Tzu House to see Osho. This was the first time I had had such an intimate (Osho, Sumati, myself, and I think, Sheela) meeting with him, except for when I had programmed the VCR at the Castle. He gave both Sumati and me gifts; mine was a leather cowboy hat. I don’t remember what she received but it might have been the same.
Then it was down to business and he asked when we would be going out again. This was rather ironic. In Poona, when anyone arrived back from the West, the first thing he would ask was, “How long will you be staying?” In this case, it was, “When will you be leaving?”
I explained that now was not a good time to be out selling books because the stores had already made their orders for the holiday season. It would be best to wait until at least mid-January. He nodded and that was the end of the discussion.
Many times later, I would look back on that situation. If I hadn’t been so involved in the book distribution, and so very interested in doing it right, I might have answered Osho’s questioning with more of a desire to say what I thought he would have wanted to hear. But as it turned out, I was not tuned into that at all. I simply told him how I saw the situation and he understood. I give this as an example not of how I was above wanting to please, I’m sure I can come up with many examples of that, but rather of what happened if one did not.
This was one of the lessons that so many of us learned at the Ranch — we had so many opportunities. On the one hand, everyone wanted to stay close to the master so they would do whatever was necessary to make that happen. But the reality is to be true to yourself (and by yourself I do not mean the whims of your mind or the pitfalls of the ego, but that silent inner voice) is the way to be close to the master.
Another of these situations involved Sheela. Rama was the coordinator of Buddhagosha (the book distribution department). Because I was the one most involved with the bookstores, I would often suggest things that we should do to support the stores. One time, (I think it involved a catalog or other marketing material) I had made a suggestion to Rama, but he was concerned with how Sheela would react. He hesitated to pass it on. For one coordinators meeting with Sheela, Rama was ill and so I had to stand in for him. During the meeting, I made the proposal to Sheela and she accepted without hesitation.
It is important for us who were at the Ranch to look to what our own experience was. What do we know from our own experience? After the Ranch, it became increasingly apparent that we had not all had the same experience. We have different conditionings, resistances, proclivities, needs and desires, and because of that, found ourselves in differing circumstances.
This is not just a lesson concerning the Ranch but this applies to life. It illustrates how the commune was a large laboratory, a stage for learning about ourselves, and the inner obstacles that prevent us from living a life of love and understanding. The commune provided opportunities for lifetimes of growth in both.
When I was not working with the books, I was a Peace Force (police) officer. This mostly involved driving around the Ranch and dropping in for tea at different locations. This provided another opportunity to bring the bliss down into the real world. As you can see from the photo above, Osho did not make it easy on those who were charged with keeping his body from being mobbed. You can also see that he enjoyed the whole affair.
Sometimes our duties became more serious. During the last festival (1985), while on patrol, we were called to an emergency at Krishnamurti Lake. There had been a swimming accident, apparently someone had drowned. When we finally got the body out of the lake, to my surprise, I found it was Adinatha. He was the Japanese sannyasin Sumati and I had stayed with for some time in Tokyo. The investigation showed it may not have been accidental. He might have just allowed himself to sink into the timelessness of the lake and never resurface.
This is from the collection of stories, essays, poems and insights that is compiled to form the book From Lemurs to Lamas: Confessions of a Bodhisattva. Download a PDF or order the book Here.