A present day visit to Rancho Rajneesh!
A letter from Niten
I happen to be in Portland Oregon for a training in Somatic Experiencing, a trauma healing modality. Having arrived here about two weeks before the start of the training I decided to go for a trip down memory lane….
Started out from Portland at about 9:00 am and found my way quite easily to route 26 in the direction of Madras, via Mt Hood. This was a beautiful drive with fresh snow on the mountain. I arrived in Madras at about mid-day, did some shopping at Safeway and had lunch before travelling on to Antelope. Before lunch I was cool as a cucumber about my visit to The Ranch. After lunch, as I made the turn off Highway 97 onto the road to Antelope my mood changed, I felt quite emotional. Like I was on a pilgrimage and not feeling comfortable because I expected not to be welcome where I was going.
In Antelope itself I felt definitely quite self conscious, going into the Antelope store and café and seeing a booklet for sale about the good bad old days of when the Rajneeshies were in town, cost: $20.-. I didn’t buy it but did have a flick through, just a reprint of stuff that is available on the net, all negative.
After Antelope down to the business end of my journey, onto county road 218 direction Fossil, then a right turn into Cold Camp Rd. So far it all looked familiar, at the bottom of Cold Camp Rd a left turn into Muddy Rd and on to The Ranch. Then there was a big surprise: at the entrance to the property the road went from a dirt road, the way it used to be, to a paved road! Still, I went down gingerly, both to take in the view (and many photo¹s) and because I was still a little worried about what kind of people I would meet. My last visit in 1993 had been very unpleasant in that regard….
I stopped at Krishna Murti Lake and admired the view and reminisced about the time I spent there in 1993 camping under the Pine trees with a perfect view of the lake. My next stop was at the first building of the Ranch I encountered as I entered what used the be the city of Rajneesh, or Rajneeshpuram: The fire station and peace force head quarters. I was a good place to stop, as I was taking some pictures a van pulled up with a man in it, dressed in camouflage clothing and a rifle on the passenger seat. Needless to say I was a little nervous as he called me over…. He asked me who I was and what I was doing here. I told him my name is Bruno and I am having a visit because I used to live here 25 years ago. The man was very friendly, introduced himself as Jay, and told me that the building I was looking at used to be the fire station. I told him that I knew that because I had been on the fire fighting team at the time. The he lit up because Jay happens to be the fire chief of the nearby town of Madras and he consults for the new owners of The Ranch.
Jay took me in his van to see first the new fire station, located in our bus repair garage. Then as he warmed up more and more he took me all over the place, into RBG (Rajneesh Buddhafield Garage) where I used to work. There I met Terry who is now the sole occupant of that huge place that used have at least 20 mechanics and spare parts people working in it! Still, the place was packed with tools and works in progress, from car and truck repair jobs to the manufacturing of three and four wheel dirt buggies. Terry looked like a very happy 50 something year old kid in a huge sand box. Both Jay and Terry expressed their appreciation of how well everything on the Ranch had been built, specially the infra structure and the more industrial buildings.
After RBG we went to the more central part of the Ranch, which is now being used as a holiday and education centre for teenagers. It is owned by the ‘Washington Family Ranch’, a Christian Foundation (See: http://sites. younglife. org/camps/ Wildhorse/ default.aspx ). I must say I was extremely impressed and happy to feel how beautiful the place is becoming, they have been there for nine years now and are running these weekend and also week long camps for kids. See: http://sites.younglife.org/camps/ Wildhorse/default.aspx
The vibe is relaxed and happy. The kids I saw looked great! They have complete renovated the original Ranch house and what used to be Jesus Grove, as well as the Hotel. The Ranch house and Jesus grove are used in much the same way we used to and the Hotel house up to 650 kids in dorm style. Next stop a new complex built between the Hotel and our Rajneesh Mandir: Multi Media entertainment centre, cafeteria and swimming pool, all surrounded by beautiful lawns and gardens. Then on to the Mandir, which is now a huge indoor sports complex consisting of: rock climbing wails, table tennis, pool tables, basket ball courts, tennis courts, skating ramps and more I can’t remember. It was truly amazing… both because of the sheer size of the hall (I had forgotten how big it was) as well as the feeling of joy the place exuded.
After our visit to the sports complex Jay brought me back to my car as he had to get back to work. I drove slowly along the county road through the Ranch, taking some more pictures along the way and went right to the end of the area we used inhabit: Pythagoras grove. I managed to find the location where the trailer used to be that I had lived in, the steps to the front door where still there but not much else (a skeleton of a cow, that¹s all…). Just before Pythagoras there was also the road Osho used to drive, ‘Mevlana Bhagwan Drive’, it was closed off and I could not go there.
Now I had a choice to make: turn around and go back the way I came or continue on the county road to Mitchell. I chose the latter and I very happy I did. What a beautiful drive…. I am amazed I had never done it yet. Please have a look at the photo’s and you will see what I mean. Just before getting to Mitchell I stumbled across the ‘Painted Hills Unit’ of the ‘John Day Fossil Beds National Monument’. Again, have a look at the pictures to see the amazing natural beauty of this landscape. Many times on my drive I had the sentence ‘This is Gods country’ running through my mind. (I am not talking of the Christian God here of course, it just was so beautiful that I felt full of gratitude for being there).
At the Painted Hills I met a guy who was there as a member of a photography club and I asked him where I might find a hotel to spend the night as it was nearing sunset. I directed me to a town about 30 miles past Mitchell. As I came close to Mitchell I was amazed to see that Mitchell is actually quite a cute and active little town, although it only has a 160 in habitants (according the owner of the hotel, who knows them all), it has a hotel, general store, restaurant, petrol station and farm supply store. I had dinner at the restaurant and listed in amusement to the conversations going on around me (there were at least ten other diners). Most were to do with hunting and one conversation I followed in particular which was a youngish women telling her story of shooting a deer that morning and dragging it back to her horse, carving it up in four pieces, bagging it, and hanging it on
the horse to ride home…. Oh yeah! They got some real women left out here…!
After dinner back to my hotel next door, a cute little place with about six or eight rooms, half up stairs and half down stairs just off the lounge room. And now to bed…
More Photo’s at: http://picasaweb.google.com/NitenCoral/RanchoRajneeshOct2008#