The first time I heard the name Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was on a bus from Pokhara to Kathmandu. My friend Randy, (who had traveled with me to India and Nepal from Madagascar), and I were trekking on the Annapurna route and reached the point where we decided to turn around. Ben and his girlfriend Kathy (actually I’m not sure of their names but will refer to them as Ben and Kathy from here on out), were coming down the path and said that they had run into snow. Being ill-equipped, without even sleeping bags, the decision was choiceless. We all spent the night in a teahouse.
There seemed to be some tension between Ben and Kathy. They were both involved in Tibetan Buddhist practice but it seemed that Ben was keener than Kathy and this was causing some friction.
On the bus ride back to Kathmandu, Ben and I sat together and Randy and Kathy sat together with a growing chemistry. Ben told me about his experience doing a Tibetan Buddhist meditation retreat at the Kopan Monastery in Kathmandu. Randy and I had visited Kopan a week or so earlier with another friend from Madagascar and had the good fortune to have a cup of tea with the head Lama, Lama Yeshe. He was a very sweet man and enormously generous. But as I explained to Ben, I wasn’t finding myself attracted to the Tibetan Buddhist practice. In fact, the words that I heard come out of my mouth as we talked were, “I’m looking for something more universal and more personal.” For one thing, it was the limitation of the “ism” in Buddhism that turned me away. My own intuitive spiritual sky was wide open and did not want to be confined into a container, however much I respected the teachings.
Ben told me that I should pay a visit to the ashram of a guru in India named Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and proceeded to give me the address. Ben had met one of Rajneesh’s sannyasins recently while he was on a visa run and so was visiting Nepal in order to return to India with a new visa. This sannyasin named Devanand had impressed him and what he heard about Rajneesh interested him but he was quite immersed in the Tibetan Buddhist dharma. So I put the piece of paper with the address away in my wallet. The bus ride was a few hours and so Ben and I had quite a long chat. He was a sincere practitioner, perhaps I thought a bit too serious, but regardless we had a very nice connection.
When we arrived back in Kathmandu, both Ben and Kathy returned to Kopan to continue their practice and Randy and I stayed in a guest house. Randy and I were intending on spending a couple more weeks in Kathmandu and so found a room in a private house. It was a lovely situation because the house had a walled garden and so offered a retreat from the daily busy-ness of the city. This house was closer to the Tibetan Swayambhu Monastery which we liked to visit.
We had learned that a very important Tibetan Buddhist teacher was coming to Kathmandu soon to perform an Empowerment Ceremony and this event was to take place at Swayambhu. I wasn’t really sure what an Empowerment Ceremony was but it sounded interesting. Unfortunately, we also learned that it was only open to practicing Buddhists.
The day of the event I spent meditating in our room. It was a silent, cool oasis. We were close enough to the monastery to hear the Tibetan horns and in my meditation I felt a humming sensation in the area of my heart.
During our time in Kathmandu both Randy and I became interested in Satya Sai Baba. He was quite popular with the Hindu Nepalis and his photo and books were everywhere. I was intrigued by the possibility of a “living” Master. I had been introduced to Meher Baba seven years before, six months, however, after he had passed away, so the idea of meeting a living Buddha very much appealed to me.
Randy and I decided to end our traveling partnership. We had different schedules. I wanted to go to India and head south and possibly meet Sai Baba. Randy also wanted to do the same, but he had become involved in a torrid affair with Kathy that hadn’t burned itself out. We bid our farewells with the idea that we would meet up at the Sai Baba ashram which was in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
Note: I will now intersperse my story with a letter I received from my friend Randy (Narayanadeva) after sharing what I had written of our journey in Nepal and India.
What a flash from the past. Thank you for this. It brings so much back. Your memory is like a video recording. My memory is patchy with particular moments fuzzily framed. If you don’t mind I want to share what I can.
I believe if we hadn’t stopped where we had at that last village at 10,000 feet that we would have gotten into serious trouble. There was a group with a broken leg still on the snowed-in trail was the story.
I remember the couple. The name Ben comes to mind and I can’t remember the name of the girl, Kathy is very close. This was a significant time.
She was from the east coast, living in an artists and musicians commune, a photographer and roadie with Jethro Tull, I think. The social and other experiments she participated in at such a tender age, this boy from Nebraska was challenged to comprehend. In this respect she was much more worldly, wiser than me, an elder in a killer 20 something body.
She was also the first lover in my life where the center of gravity and conversations were about spirituality, Buddha’s teachings in particular, and how to reconcile our limited understanding with what we saw in the monasteries and monks, which was then followed by the most present lovemaking for me up to that time. We flew high, were consumed with each other, and parted consciously in mid bubble, purposely in crescendo. I review that time with joy and sadness. It is hard to think of that extraordinary woman and time without sometimes tearing. She was finished traveling, wanted to return to her art. I knew I didn’t want to go back to anything. I was sure I wanted to go forward. We knew but unspoken that to go further would have brought reality into the mix. We wanted to say goodbye in full bloom. Things like that were easier in your 20’s. I must say probably the most, bitter sweet, intense affair I ever remember in a life riddled with less meaningful affairs.
I remember spending the winter in Kathmandu immersing myself in everything I could about the Buddha’s teaching, going to the temples, hanging with the monks, partaking in the local produce followed by the pie shops. I was completely blown away and still am today about the psychology, the profound understanding of the science of the mind, but could not get my head around the asceticism. Why the monks, western included had to walk around in winter without shoes or why the poor food needed to be covered in flies. Also the live translations of the Lama’s discourses by some very severe and grim western types. If there was any juice in the teaching, these translators sucked it out and everything was completely lost in translation. I knew for me to go deeper I needed to be able to listen and speak about all this in my tongue.
This is also where the timing gets confused. I do not remember you during that winter. I remember attending the Karmapa’s Black Hat ceremony after spending those cold months in study. This is when I had the most profound experience with him.
The ceremony lasted several days. There were many westerners mingled with the overflowing crowds of Tibetans. The first few days I could not get into the hall but stood outside with the multitudes listening and catching glimpses through the barred windows of the pageantry.
There was one day that I did get in and sat with a few other westerners along with it seemed several hundred monks with the Karmapa on podium doing chants and mudras. The monks deep toned chanting in response, the horns, the incense, I got completely stoned. When it was over, I lingered. The hall was clearing out. I stood in the middle looking up at all the hanging tangkas. I turned around, a few people parted and there was the Karmapa sitting alone on his dais looking at me with an inviting smile a few meters away. I was so shy and not sure what to do. I smiled, bowed and retreated.
The next day I could not get in. I was peering through the open air barred window being jostled back and forth by the crowds feeling the music and chanting; suddenly the Karmapa was at the window looking directly at me about 50 centimeters away. He had been making the rounds inside, blessing everyone in the hall. He looked in my eyes and smiled. He threw water on my face and these words came into my head “Don’t worry, this path is not for everyone” Then he was gone.
I was so shocked. This was the confirmation. Whenever I think of this I feel I was blessed by this very extraordinary being. How he got those words clearly into a very confused mind was magical.
It was not long afterward that I headed south and planned to go to Sai Baba’s ashram as we had planned, on my way to Madras before heading back to the states. As you remember we gave Sai Baba magical powers and were convinced he was going to help us financially.
I got to Bombay and stayed at the Salvation Army behind the Taj Mahal hotel. The very place you and I stayed on our first nights in India coming by boat for 10 days from Madagascar and Mauritius. Do you remember waking up to the Shiva Baba’s with their pythons and cobras, the junkies some dyed from head to toe in blue, including one with a blue dog, the color of the local antiseptic? What a circus before we took a train to the edge of town and hitched our way to Nepal. Do you remember the time a truck stopped for us and we threw our packs into the back, climbed up and jumped into a truck full of cow shit along with our packs? Do you remember all the chillum brakes at the roadside temples? Or the nights in small villages waking up to thousands of the same face staring at us with vacant eyes and all with small pocked scars, village after village the same?
When I was in New Delhi, I heard that there was a Meher Baba center and so I visited during one of their evenings. Upon hearing that I was on my way to visit Satya Sai Baba, an older Baba lover suggested that I go see a rebel of a guru named Rajneesh. I remembered the name and said that I did have in mind possibly stopping there as well. He told me that the Rajneesh ashram was in Poona, just a couple of hours by train from Bombay. He also said that although Satya Sai Baba was not in Poona, there was some kind of Baba center there. At this point, it became clear to me that I would indeed head to Poona.
Walking out of the Poona train station, I found a rickshaw and told the driver to take me to the Sai Baba center. I said, “Sai Baba center, not Rajneesh ashram.” “Yes, yes,” he replied. I had decided that I would first go to the Sai Baba center and then check out the Rajneesh ashram.
As we got nearer and nearer to our destination I saw increasing numbers of young western people dressed in orange clothes. By this time, I had been exposed to a couple of Rajneesh sannyasins and so recognized what I was seeing. We arrived at a large gate and on the top was written Shree Rajneesh Ashram. A large blonde German fellow greeted me and I heard myself say, “I don’t think I am where I was going, but I know that I’m in the right place.”
The first thing that I read from Osho (I will now begin to refer to Rajneesh by the name he took only a few months before leaving this planet) spoke directly to me. There was no space; no separation between the words and my self, there was an immediacy. It was clear within days that I would not be going on to the Sai Baba ashram; I had found the living Master I was looking for. I had arrived just weeks before a major celebration day, March 21st, honoring Osho’s day of Enlightenment. I took initiation, became a sannyasin and did a couple of groups. During this time I read one of Osho’s books called The Silent Explosion. At the very end of the book was the story of an Indian sannyasin who had gone to Sikkim and visited the Karmapa at his Rumtek Monastery. This was the same Lama that had been in Kathmandu months earlier. I had learned that he was highly respected in the Tibetan Buddhist community and was on par with or even more highly regarded than the Dalai Lama.
This is the story that was recounted:
In 1972, Swami Govind Siddharth, an Osho sannyasin, visited the Tibetan Lama Karmapa, who had fled from Tibet and who at that timed lived in his Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim. When Siddharth arrived, accompanied by his wife and two young daughters, the monastery was completely closed. In an interview at the time, he told of his initial disappointment at not meeting the Karmapa. Then all of a sudden, one monk came running out to tell him that he was immediately wanted inside by His Holiness. He went in and was greeted by the Karmapa as if he was expected there. The Karmapa never even knew anything about him beforehand as he had not made an appointment… he knew nothing about him except that he was dressed in the faded orange of early neo-sannyas.
Of Lama Karmapa, it was said he was a ‘Divine Incarnation’, a Bodhisattva. In Tibet, they believe that whosoever attains to Buddhahood, and then by their own wishes is born again to help people in the world is a divine incarnation — Bodhisattva. His Holiness was said to be the sixteenth incarnation of Dsum Khyenpa, the first Karmapa, who was born about 1110 AD.
When Swami Siddharth first entered, the Karmapa immediately told him that he knew where he was from. He said, “I am seeing that you have somewhere some photograph or something which is printed on two sides, of your Master.” Siddharth answered that he had nothing like that which is printed on two sides. He had completely forgotten about the locket hanging from his mala with Osho’s photograph on both sides! There was an English woman who was acting as an interpreter, since the Lama Karmapa did not speak English. She immediately saw his mala and said, “What is this?” He then remembered that the locket was printed on two sides and he said, “This is the photograph of my Master.” She was curious to see it, so Siddharth took it off and showed it to her.
Immediately, the Karmapa said, “That is it.” He took the locket of Osho in his hand and he touched it to his forehead and then said: “He is the greatest incarnation since Buddha in India — he is a living Buddha!” The Karmapa went on to say, “You may be feeling that he is speaking for you, but it is not only for you that he speaks. Rajneesh speaks for the Akashic records also, the records of events and words recorded on the astral planes. Whatever is spoken is not forgotten. That is why you will find that he goes on repeating things and you will feel that he is doing this for you, but, as a matter of fact, he speaks only for a few people. Only a few people realize who Rajneesh is. His words will remain there in the Akashic records, so that they will also be helpful to people in the future.”
The Karmapa went on to say that Osho had been with Siddharth in past lives. “If you want to see one of Rajneesh’s previous incarnations — who he was in Tibet — you can go to Tibet and see his golden statue there which is preserved in the Hall of Incarnations.” He continued to chat about Osho and his work, “My blessings are always there, and I know that whatever we are not going to be able to do to help others, Rajneesh will do.” He explained that one of the main aims of the Lamas in coming to India was to preserve their occult sciences. Osho from his side also confirmed this in his Kashmir lectures given in 1969. He said then, “The Dalai Lama has not escaped only to save himself, but to save the Tibetan religion, the meditation secrets and the occult sciences”
The Karmapa went on to explain, “We have gotten these things from India in the past, and now we want to return them back. Now we have come to know that here is an incarnation, Rajneesh, who is doing our job in India and the world, and we are very happy about it. The world will know him, but only a few people will realize what he actually is. He will be the only person who can guide properly, who can be a World Teacher in this age, and he had taken birth only for this purpose.”
When I read this story I was very skeptical, because all devotees of gurus like to exaggerate the importance of their teachers. Although I believed the story must be based on some truth, I could not be sure what the Karmapa thought about Osho.
In the meantime, I had written to my friend Randy to tell him about Osho and the ashram and had sent it to American Express, Delhi, where I knew he would pick up mail. One day I went into the ashram office to check for a response and as I was walking down the steps leaving, coming through the gate was my friend Randy. He had never received my letter but had learned of Osho on his own.
Narayanadeva’s letter continues:
Anyway I returned to Bombay to catch a boat to Goa and then planned to go to Sai Baba by land. I needed to get something to read. The best bookstore I knew was at the Taj Mahal Hotel. I went to the section on psychology and religion. I was browsing when I swear this book fell on my big toe. “Archarya Rajneesh” was the title. The first page mentioned that he gave lectures in English and lived in Poona only one day away.
Getting there, first person I meet is you. And our stories join and the rest is history.
Brother, we shared some amazing times together. I have forgotten so many of them. It is a complete delight to hear from you with your photographic memory of those days. We were so lucky. I am so grateful for that time.
Much Love to you my fellow traveler.
Narayanadeva a.k.a. Randy
I had by this time realized that my time traveling outside of the States was coming to an end. Taking sannyas was a new beginning for me and to be honest I wanted to return to my hometown and share this remarkable discovery. I had received a name for a meditation center that I would start. Randy, (who had become Narayanadeva by this point), and I said our farewells again with approximately the same plans to return to the States by going east from India through Thailand but with slightly different time frames.
On the plane from Bombay to Calcutta I sat next to a Tibetan Buddhist monk. He didn’t speak a word of English but there we were— he in his maroon robes and me in my orange clothes.
It might have been the first or second night of my stay in a Sutter Street guesthouse in Calcutta and in walked Ben, the American Tibetan Buddhist who had given me the contact info for Osho. I was very happy to see him. I had thought about him many times and was so grateful for his sharing and I wanted to tell him what I had found. We talked a bit and then he told me that coincidentally the Karmapa was in Calcutta and he was going to see him the next day at the Oberoi Hotel. He invited me to go with him. I was delighted. For one thing in the back of my mind was the Rumtek story and so I thought I would be able to see what the Karmapa actually did think about Osho for myself.
The Karmapa’s room was a corner one and Ben and I approached from one hallway and as we neared we could see an Indian sannyasin couple in orange approaching from the other direction. He was dressed in a lunghi and had a very long beard and long hair. She was dressed in an orange sari. They were Osho sannyasins and ran the Calcutta Osho center.
We all entered the room and were shown to sit just in front of the Karmapa who was seated on a sofa. He was immensely childlike, full of love and innocence and looked to be always on the verge of a good chuckle. He sat stroking the beard of the Indian sannyasin who was sitting slightly to his right. This in itself would have been enough to let me know what he thought of Osho but it was not all. Sitting next to him on the sofa he had propped up a copy of Sannyas Magazine (published at the ashram) with a photo of Osho beaming out on to our group.
At that point it did not matter whether the story that I had read was factual or not, I could see the connection between the Karmapa and Osho. That space out of which the Karmapa and the photo of Osho appeared was One.
Of course I had related the story to Ben when we met in Calcutta but after the meeting at the Oberoi we didn’t talk of it again. We were invited to a private Black Crown (Empowerment) Ceremony that was taking place at the home of a wealthy Indian woman later that evening. This is the same ceremony that took place months earlier at the Swayambhu Monastery in Kathmandu but that I had not been able to attend.
One of the first people I met after arriving at the house was the Tibetan monk who had sat next to me on the flight. As it turned out he had been traveling to join up with the Karmapa and return with him to Rumtek. He was as surprised as I was.
The ceremony was penetrating; to be in a room with Tibetan horns blaring is in itself a transformative experience. After the ceremony the few westerners that were there, I think maybe we were five, were invited into a side room where the Karmapa gave a teaching on Tilopa’s Song of Mahamudra. This is the most important text of the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Osho had himself given a discourse series published as Tantra: the Supreme Understanding on this text, and I was traveling with the book.
Because the Karmapa didn’t speak English he had a translator, but his translator told us he was having a very difficult time translating this teaching into English. He was frustrated but the Karmapa was understanding and compassionate. This experience highlighted for me one of the advantages of having a teacher who spoke English. Osho’s words did not need to be translated and we were able to hear them directly without a filter.
I am grateful for having had the opportunity to first spend some time with the Karmapa and then to take part in this mysterious ceremony. It was the only time I met the Karmapa. But my wife, Amido, and I did have a chance in 2006 to visit the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim where his relics are today housed.
I am reminded of a story. Gautam the Buddha one day comes into his morning discourse; ten thousand sannyasins are waiting for him, just like every day. But today there is something surprising.
Everybody is puzzled and looking at each other, because Buddha is coming with a handkerchief, it is very costly – perhaps some king has presented it to him.
But he does not accept that kind of thing, so everybody is looking, thinking, what is the matter?
And why should he bring it just in his hand ahead of himself almost saying to everybody, “Look, look well”? And then he comes and sits; and keeping the handkerchief in his hand, says to his sannyasins, “Look very carefully.”
They all look. There is nothing to look at, just a beautiful silken handkerchief. And then Buddha starts putting knots in the handkerchief; he puts five knots in it. There is immense silence… everybody is simply watching what he is doing. Then Buddha asks them, “Is this the same handkerchief the same that I had brought with me, or is it a different handkerchief?”
Sariputta, one of his chief disciples, stands up and says, “Why are you joking with us? You have never done such a thing. This is the same handkerchief.”
Buddha says, “Sariputta, think once again – because the handkerchief that I brought had no knots, and this has five knots. How can this be the same?”
Sariputta could see the point. He said, “I am sorry. I do understand. Although it is the same handkerchief now it is in a very knotted condition – such as a man in anguish. He is the same man; a man in suffering is the same man but in knots.”
Buddha said, “Exactly right. That’s what I want to show to you: that the man who is in suffering is not different from Gautam the Buddha. I am just a handkerchief without knots. You are a handkerchief with five knots.” Of course Buddha has his philosophy of five basic problems that trouble man: violence, greed, untruthfulness, unawareness, and the ego. You can find many more knots; these are just the main ones according to him.
Secondly he said, “I would like to ask you one thing more. I am trying to open these knots. Look at me – will this help to open the knots?” He pulled both the ends of the handkerchief; the knots became smaller and tighter. Somebody shouted, “What are you doing? This way those knots will never open. Such fine silk and you are pulling so hard! The knots are becoming so small that it will become almost impossible to open them again.”
Buddha said, “You can understand about this handkerchief so clearly – can’t you understand yourself? Can’t you see yourself in the same, understanding way? Have you been pulling your knots or not? Otherwise why do they go on becoming smaller and smaller, and tighter and tighter?
”A child is loose, relaxed. Look at the old man, just knots and knots. Certainly, whatever you are
doing is wrong. You are pulling the handkerchief. You are trying hard; your intention is good, you want to open the knots. You are taking much trouble – but your doing is your very undoing. You are making things more and more complicated, worse and worse. And the more complicated they become, the harder you pull, because you think, what else to do?”
Buddha asked, “Then I would like to ask you, what do you suppose I should do?”
One monk stood up and he said, “I would like to come close, and first I would like to see how the knots have been put together.”
Buddha said, “That’s a scientific way. Before you can undo something, you have to know how it has been done, because if you know how it has been done, you have already known all that is needed to undo it; you have just to reverse the process.”
The monk looked at the handkerchief and he said “The knots have been done in such a way that if we relax the handkerchief and allow the knots to become looser rather than tighter, and help them to become loose, it is not going to be very difficult. They are simple knots.”
Buddha gave the handkerchief to him and the man opened the knots one by one. Buddha said,
”Today’s sermon is finished. I am not going to speak anymore today. Just go and meditate about your knots, and how you have managed to make them so tight. And just do the reverse.”
Any small problem, just look at it, at how you have been trying to solve it and it goes on becoming worse and worse. Certainly in your doing there is something which is becoming a nourishment to it rather than a killer. You are not poisoning it; you are nourishing it, feeding it. And don’t try to work on so many knots together. Just choose one small knot, the smallest you can find in yourself; by smallest, I mean the most insignificant.
People have the tendency to choose the most significant; even when they are choosing to solve their problems, they choose the greatest problem first. Now, that is simply foolish. Just become a little aware, alert. Start from the small things, very small things.
In one sermon Buddha was speaking, and a man sitting in front of him was moving his toe continuously. Buddha was not like me; otherwise he would have stopped him immediately. He tolerated it, tolerated it, tolerated it – but it was too much, because the man was just in front of him and he went on, went on, went on.
At the end Buddha said, “What is wrong with your toe?” The moment he said, “What is wrong with your toe?” the man stopped. Buddha said, “This is what is wrong with your toe: you are not aware of it. You were not doing it, it was happening almost unconsciously. It is just a habit; you must be doing it everywhere you are sitting. Now it goes on doing it by itself knowing that the master needs it. The master is not even aware that it is happening, because the moment I asked you about it, it stopped immediately. That means the moment your awareness went to the toe there was a complete break.”
Now, start with such small things which have not much investment in them. People start with their ego – they want to become egoless. Now, you are taking on such a big problem. You are so small, and the problem is so big, that you are going to fail.
In fact that’s why you have chosen the big problem, because you want to fail, you don’t want to succeed. Perhaps this too is the way of the ego, to choose the biggest problem. You are no ordinary man trying to change small things here and there; when you want to change, you want to change the real problem. Perhaps this is the ego coming in from the back and deceiving you.
Now choose something very insignificant, which makes not much difference. But the beauty is,
the smallest problem has the same properties as the biggest problem, the same ingredients as the biggest problem and the same solution as the biggest problem.
All problems are one problem.
If you can solve a small problem – dissolve it, get rid of it, be finished with it – you know the master key.
Now you can go on opening all the locks in your house. And there is not going to be any trouble.
The basic key is awareness.
And while solving a small problem, you are starting to learn the ABC of awareness.
Choose something meaningless with no investment; it will be easier to work with. And once you have worked with it, you will be surprised: you have the secret, the whole secret of your puzzled, knotted life.
Solve it, then man is born in you. Before that, you are only a problem.
Taken from the series From Misery to Enlightenment, chapter 19.
The following was excerpted from Glimpses of a Golden Childhood:
The day my Nani became enlightened, I remember – I have noted it down, it will be somewhere – it was the sixteenth of January, 1967. I say without hesitation that she was my first sannyasin; and not only that, she was my first enlightened sannyasin.
You are both doctors, and you know Doctor Ajit Saraswati well. He has been with me for almost twenty years, and I don’t know anybody else who has been so sincerely with me. You will be surprised to know he is waiting outside… and there is every possibility that he is almost ready to be enlightened. He has come to live here in the ashram. It must have been difficult for him, particularly as an Indian, leaving his wife, his children, and his profession. But he could not live without me. He is ready to renounce all. He is waiting outside. This will be his first interview, and I can feel that this is going to be his enlightenment too. He has earned it, and earned it with great difficulty. To be an Indian and to be totally with me is not an easy job…
The following day Osho continues:
…The first words that Ajit Saraswati uttered to me last night were, “Osho, I never expected that I would ever make it.” Of course those who were present thought he was talking about coming to live in the ashram. And that too is in a way true, relevant, because I remember the first day he came to see me twenty years ago. He had to ask permission from his wife just to see me for a few minutes. So those who were present must have understood, naturally, that he had never expected to move in, leaving his wife and children and a very good business. Renouncing all, just to be here with me… in a true sense of renunciation. But that was not what he meant, and I understood.
I said to him, “Ajit, I am also surprised. Not that I never expected it; I had always expected it, hoped and longed for this moment, and I am happy that you have come.”
Again, the others must have thought I was talking about his coming here to live. I was talking about something else, but he understood. I could see it in his eyes, which have been becoming more and more childlike. I saw that he had understood what coming to a Master really means. It means coming to one’s self. It cannot mean anything else other than self-realization. His smile was absolutely new.
I had been worried about him: he was becoming more serious every day. I was really concerned, because to me seriousness has always been a dirty word, a disease, something far more cancerous than cancer can ever be, and certainly far more infectious than any disease.
But I breathed a great sigh of unburdening; a load disappeared from my heart. He is one of those few people that if I had to die without them becoming enlightened, then I would have had to turn the wheel again, I would have had to be born again. Although it is impossible to turn the wheel… and I know nothing of the mechanics of turning a wheel, particularly the wheel of time. I am not a mechanic, I am not a technician, so it would have been very difficult for me to turn the wheel again… and it has not moved since I was twenty-one.
Twenty-eight years ago the wheel stopped, now everything must be rusted. Even if you poured oil on to it, it would not help. Even my sannyasins could do nothing about it – it is not the wheel of a Rolls Royce. It is the wheel of karma, of action, and the consciousness implied in every action. I am finished with it. But for a man like Ajit, I would have tried to come back again whatever the cost.
I am determined that I will leave this body only when at least one thousand and one of my disciples are enlightened, not before that. Raj Bharti, remember it! It is not going to be difficult – the basic work has been done – it is just a question of a little patience.
Gudia just said as I was coming in, on hearing that Ajit had become enlightened, “It is strange, Enlightenment is popping up everywhere.” It has to pop up everywhere, that’s my work. And those one thousand and one people are almost ready to pop at any moment. Just a little breeze and the flower opens… or the first ray of the sun and the bud opens her heart to it – just anything. Now, what was it that helped Ajit?
In these twenty years that I have known him, I have always been loving towards him. I have never hit him – there has never been a need. Even before I said anything to him, he received it already. Before saying, he heard it. In these twenty years he has been following me as closely as it is possible. He is my Mahakashyapa.
What caused the thing last night? It was just because he had been thinking of me every moment. The moment he saw me, all that thinking disappeared – and that was the only thinking that had been surrounding him, like a cloud. And I don’t think that he understood the exact meaning of his words!
It takes time. And the words come so suddenly. He just said, as if in spite of himself, “I had never expected, Osho, that I would be able to make it.”
I said, “Don’t be worried. I was always certain it was going to happen sooner or later, but it was going to happen.”
He looked a little puzzled. He was talking about coming and I was talking about happening. Then, just as if a window opened and you see – just like that – a window opened and he saw. He touched my feet with tears in his eyes and a smile on his face. To see tears and smiles mixing and merging is beautiful. It is an experience in itself…
…He has been, without interfering in any way, present, just around the corner, waiting, only waiting. Such trust is rare, although with me there are thousands of sannyasins with the same kind of reverence. Knowing it or not, that does not matter; what matters is the presence of reverence.
Ajit Saraswati has a Hindu background, so naturally it is easier for him to have that kind of reverence, trust. But he was educated in the West; perhaps that is why he could come close to me. A Hindu background and a western scientific mind. Having these two things together is a rare phenomenon, and he is a unique man.
And, Gudia, more are to follow. Yes, they are going to pop! Here, there, and everywhere. They have to pop quickly because I don’t have much time. But the sound of a man popping into existence is not the sound of pop music, it is not even classical music; it is pure music, not capable of being classified… not even to be heard but only to be felt.
Now, do you see the nonsense? I am talking of a music that has to be felt and not heard. Yes, that’s what I am talking about; that’s what enlightenment is. All becomes silent, as if Basho’s frog had never jumped into the ancient pond… never, never… as if the pond has remained without any ripples, forever reflecting the sky, undisturbed.
This haiku of Basho is beautiful. I repeat it so many times because it is always so new, and always pregnant with a new meaning. It is for the first time that I am saying that the frog has not jumped, and there is no plop. The ancient pond is neither ancient nor new; it knows nothing of time. There are no ripples on its surface. In it you can see all the stars more glorified, more magnificent, than they are in the sky above. The depth of the pond contributes immensely to their richness. They become more of the same stuff dreams are made of.
When one pops into enlightenment, then one knows the frog had not jumped… the ancient pond was not ancient. Then one knows what is.
This is a special evening, because one of us has left for the other shore. Swami Anand Maitreya was certainly a man of tremendous courage. He met me sometime near 1960. He had already been a member of parliament for twelve years and he was very close to the first prime minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. But the moment he heard me he simply dropped his whole political career.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru tried to persuade him, saying, “There is every chance for you to become the chief minister of your state.” — He was from Bihar, the land of Buddha.
But Maitreya said, “I want one thing understood clearly: ambition is hell and I am not going to look back; politics is finished for me. All ambitions are finished for me.” And since then he has been with me.
He has never asked a single question. He has never doubted, his trust was absolute. In these years, thousands of people have come to me; many have been lost, but he remained unwavering. He could not conceive how people can find contradictions in my statements.
Sometime in 1984 Maitreya became enlightened, but he had chosen to remain silent, so he remained silent. He did not even tell me what had happened to him. But the day it happened I called a small meeting of a few sannyasins in Rancho Rajneesh in America. I declared that there were going to be three special committees: one of Mahasattvas, the great beings who are destined to become enlightened in this very life; the second of Sambuddhas, who have already become enlightened; and the third of Bodhisattvas, who will also become enlightened … but perhaps they will take a little longer than the other two categories, but certainly before their death.
Because I had included Maitreya’s name, he was shocked. He wanted to keep it completely to himself, not to say anything about enlightenment to anybody. As he left the meeting, he told a few people outside, “It is very strange, I have not said — I have been trying to hide it – but somehow he has seen it. And not only has he seen it, he has declared me enlightened.”
And his response was truly a response of great love. He said, “Osho is really a rascal.”
All these years before his enlightenment and after his enlightenment, he just remained absolutely ordinary, with no ego, with no desire, with no greed.
Just before I came back to Poona, Maitreya told me in Bombay, “I have got ten thousand rupees in a post office deposit in Patna, Bihar; that’s all I have, but now I will not need it.”
Certainly he was becoming aware that his time of departure was coming closer. And he transferred the money to Neelam for the ashram. He died without anything, any possessions.
And he slipped very slowly, very silently, from sleep into eternal sleep.
I am saying this evening is special, because one of us has moved from the world of mortals to the world of immortals. He will not be born again. He has attained to the freedom and the liberation we have been talking about.
This is a moment of great celebration and rejoicing. It happens very rarely. In millions of people perhaps one comes to this silent explosion of light and disappears into the ocean of consciousness that surrounds existence.
I would like these talks to be dedicated to Swami Anand Maitreya, who slipped from sleep into eternal sleep. But he was not asleep! He has gone in full awakening. He has gone with full awareness. You will keep him in your memories because he has shown the path to you, too. He lived joyously, although he had nothing, and he died peacefully, blissfully.
That’s what attaining to one’s destiny means. Those who live in misery and die in misery go on missing their destiny. They are failures, and because they have failed so many times, they become accustomed to failing again and again. But even if one person amongst you succeeds, it is your success, too. He has proved that what we have been talking about is not mere philosophy — it is an authentic path to self-realization.
Maitreya will be missed. Just the other night, when I last saw him, I had a certain strange feeling … as if he is going to depart very soon. And this feeling happened to many other people too; it was as if he was gathering himself and preparing for the eternal pilgrimage. He has gone the way a man should go — joyously, ecstatically.
You have to remember that his whole experience was based on two things: one, that he has fallen in trust with me … It is a strange language that I am using. You may not have ever heard the phrase ‘falling in trust’. Falling in love happens every day. Falling in trust happens only once in a while.
And secondly, not for a single moment since he has met me has he missed entering into meditation as much as possible. His death was not an end to life, but the ultimate culmination of a tremendous trust and meditativeness. Where trust and meditation meet, one attains to one’s potential in its whole glory and splendor.
It is time for humanity to grow up and take responsibility for its own divinity, time to stop shifting the responsibility onto some other. We are divine and we need to start acting like it.
The second coming of Christ is Christ coming out in each of us. The coming of Maitreya is Maitreya’s coming out in all of us. Every part of the globe has been reached by the teachings of His emissaries now it is our time to step up to the plate.
Nietzsche was right when he said God is dead. The god of the past is dead and we can celebrate his passing. Now is the time for the living god, God in the living. We are the representatives and it is a tremendous responsibility. We must prepare ourselves. We must clean ourselves of confusion and childish thinking. Meditation is the cleaning tool.
We do not need intermediaries standing between the divine and ourselves. Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within, then why are we looking without. Buddha said “Be a light unto yourself” then why are we searching for a lamp. We find the way by walking. There is no path to follow. We will be making the path with each of our steps. But we must start walking. We have to take courage.
We have to bring home, reel in, and withdraw all of the projections we have made to create a God. We are the creator. Let’s bring that entire energy home and let it start living as God.
God is here and now as us Being God. Hallelujah. Amen.
This post is from a collection of essays, stories, insights and poems that have occurred to me along the Way titled Here to Now and Behind.
Bhuribai is very closely connected with me. I have come to know thousands of men, thousands of women, but Bhuribai was unique among them.
Bhuribai’s Mahaparinirvana – her death attaining the highest liberation – happened just recently. Count her with Meera, Rabiya, Sahajo, Daya – she is qualified to be among these few selected women.
But as she was illiterate, perhaps her name won’t ever become known. She was a villager; she belonged to the country people of Rajasthan. But her genius was unique; without knowing scripture she knew the truth.
It was my first camp. Bhuribai was a participant in it. Later she also participated in other camps. Not for meditation, because she had attained meditation. No, she just enjoyed being near me. She asked no question, I gave no answer. She had nothing to ask, there was no need to answer. But she used to come, bringing a fresh breeze along with her.
She became inwardly connected to me in the very first camp. It happened. It wasn’t said, it wasn’t heard. The real thing happened!
She attended the first lecture… the words and events of the camp that Bhuribai participated in are collected in a book called The Path of Self-Realization. It was the first camp; only fifty people participated. It was in Muchala Mahavir, an isolated uninhabited ruin in far Rajasthan. Kalidas Bhatiya, a High Court advocate, was with Bhuribai. He served her. He had left all: law practice, law court. He washed Bhuribai’s clothes, he massaged her feet. Bhuribai was aged, some seventy years old.
Bhuribai had come, and Kalidas Bhatiya and ten or fifteen of her devotees came. A few people recognized her. She listened to my talk, but when the time to sit in meditation came, she went to her room. Kalidas Bhatiya was surprised, as they had come for meditation. He ran over there and asked Bhuribai, “You listened so attentively to the talk; now when the time to do has come, why did you leave?” Then Bhuribai said, “You go, you go! I understood it.”
Kalidas was very surprised. If she has understood, then why doesn’t she meditate? He came and asked me, “What’s the matter, what’s going on? Bhuribai says she understands, so why doesn’t she meditate? And when I asked her she said, ‘You go, ask Baapji himself’ – Bhuribai was seventy years old, but still she called me Baapji, father –’‘You go, ask Baapji.’ So I have come to you,” Kalidas said. “She doesn’t say anything, she smiles. And when I started to go, she added, ‘You don’t understand a thing. I understood it!”’
Then I said, “She is right, because I explained meditation – it is non-doing. And you went and told Bhuribai to come and do meditation. She will just laugh – doing meditation? How to do it, when it is non-doing? I explained also that meditation is just becoming quiet, so she must have thought it’s easier to be quiet in her room than in this crowd. She understood well. And the truth is she doesn’t need to meditate. She knows silence, although she doesn’t call it meditation, because meditation has become a scholarly word. She’s a simple direct village woman, she says, chup! – Silence! ”
When she returned home after the camp, she asked someone to write this sutra on the wall of the hut:
Silence the means, silence the end, in silence, silence permeates.
Silence, the knowing of all knowing: understand it, you become silence.
Silence is the means; silence is the end, in silence only silence permeates. If you would understand, if you want to understand, then only one thing is worth understanding – silence. The moment you know it, you become silent. There is nothing else to do: Silence, the knowing of all knowing.
Her disciples told me, “She doesn’t listen to us. If you tell Bai, she’ll accept what you say. She’ll never refuse you, she’ll do what you say. You tell her to have her life’s experience written down – she can’t write because she’s unschooled. Still, whatever she has known, have it written down. Now she’s old, the time for her to depart is coming now. Have it written down; it will be helpful for people coming later.”
I asked, “Bai, why don’t you have it written down?”
Then she replied, “Baapji, if you say so, it is good. When I come to the next camp, you yourself can release it. I’ll bring it written down.”
At the next camp her disciples waited eagerly, with great excitement. She had put the book in a chest and had it sealed. She had a lock put on it and brought the key.
Her disciples lifted the chest on their heads and brought it to me. They asked me to open it. I opened it and took out a booklet, a tiny little booklet of some ten or fifteen pages; and tiny – about three inches long by two inches wide. And black pages without any white!
I said, “Bhuribai, you have written well. Other people write, but they blacken the page only a little bit. You wrote so there’s no white left at all.” She had written and written and written.
She said, “Only you can understand. They just don’t get it. I told them, ‘Look. Other people write. They write a little – they are educated, they can write only a little. I am unschooled, so I wrote on and on, wrote out the whole thing. I didn’t leave any space.’ And how to have someone else write it? So I just went on writing, went on marking and marking and marking – made the whole book totally black! Now you present it.”
And I did present it. Her disciples were very surprised. I said, “This is real scripture. This is the scripture of scriptures. The Sufis have a book, it is a blank book. They call it The Book of the Books. But its pages are white. Bhuribai’s book has gone beyond this. Its pages are black.”
Bhuribai never used to say anything. When someone used to come and ask her, “What should I do?” she would just make the gesture of touching her finger to her lips – “Just remain silent. Nothing else needs to be done.”
Her love was amazing. She had her own way, unique! She doesn’t have to return to this world. She has gone forever. In silence, silence permeates. She has dissolved. The river has diffused into the ocean. She didn’t do anything, she just remained silent. And whoever went to her house she served them. She served them in every way – and silently, quietly.
She was an amazing woman.
From a Hindi discourse given on September 11, 1980 pm in Osho Commune International, India. Translated from: JYUN THA TYUN THARAYA. Published in Osho Times International August 16, 1991.