A damp snow falls…
(Swami Deva Rashid worked in Poona One as Osho’s personal vegetable gardener. On the Ranch he spent a lot of time in the Pot-Washing room and the Fire Tower. In Poona Two, till the Master left the body, he was that body Guard, an Editor and all jobs in between. Now he lives in Devon, England with Nisheetha, keeps bees, designs buildings and landscapes for sacred use, has published two volumes of poetry, written a book about the pathless path we all are treading and hangs out with a tribe of grandchildren. And mostly, by choice, he does a lot of nothing.)
A damp snow falls across the English fields outside my room obliterating distinctions. Inside i stoke the cooking range and put potatoes in the oven. Who know what magic and what mysteries these years with Osho have accomplished.
Three weeks ago i was in Sydney’s baking heat, visiting my daughter and her family. My marriage to that daughter’s mother ended forty years ago. I tried another marriage after that. Since then, however, i have lived in communes and alone and with a partner. So living with my daughter for six weeks, i was visiting again the building block of our society – the family.
In this family i watched, with pain and fascination, the hang-ups, fuck-ups and dysfunctions of my parents and my grand-parents manifesting in my daughter and my grandchildren.
Like all my war-time generation, I grew up in loneliness. I always knew the aching void, the constant drag of not being whole and adequate. I married young – too young – to mitigate the pain. I got it wrong and married yet again; still the hunger, still the fear.
Thirty years or so outside the family, thirty years or so with Osho, help with inner clarity and a non-judgemental witnessing. However in the early days of the visit, i wasn’t quite so clear. I talked things over with my lady back in England. She helped me formulate a guide line for myself; ‘don’t interfere, never offer insights or advice unless invited to’.
Thus i stood outside the tensions and contentions of a couple and their daughter and five sons. Thus i stood alone. Sure i cooked and cleaned and played and read the children stories, sure i went on shopping expeditions with my daughter and bush hikes with my son-in-law. And sure i took an hour or so a day to sit, to burnish the aloneness. That way i didn’t get identified or cast into a role – despite a lapse or two.
And free of roles you don’t need others to support or vindicate you. You don’t get caught up in the daily struggles of control or freedom, what is right or wrong, inclusion and exclusion. You stay alone without being lonely.
To round off my two months Australian visit, i spent ten days near Byron Bay. Friends had lent me an isolated house beside a river in the Rainforest. It was here that i realised – again – the gift and the vision that Osho has given us. He made us do the work. Over and over again he contrived and conceived situations to confront us with our multitudinous dysfunctions, all the while commenting on how the wise ones of the past had offered solutions to such issues.
One disadvantage of my age is the need to pee three or four times in the night. It breaks the sleep patterns. At three in the morning i remembered the Jacuzzi. I slid back the lid and slipped into the amniotic waters of the tub. I lay under the great dome of the sky, of the Milky Way and the Southern Cross, the known and unknown constellations of our galaxy. I lay like a new born baby.
Consciousness whispered deep inside me. Something vague at first. It built a vision. In that majestic setting i was no longer this old body in a hot tub, but a voyager in time and space. I travelled to the timeless time when space and form were of an utter density, what physicists call a singularity.
I watched in vision as the Big Bang happened. In one colossal micro-moment singularity expanded into plurality. I watched photons, protons, neutrons and electrons streaming from the centre of the nothingness. I watched the fires and gasses grow, explode and cool and form into a thousand million galaxies and nebulae, red-dwarfs and quasars, suns and worlds and elements and chemicals – becoming rock and ocean, swamp and protozoa and amoeba, fern and flower and fish, amphibian and bird, beetle and man.
This fruit tree leaning from the house, this body in a hot-tub and the hot-tub and the water in it, the cicada buzz of the forest at night, the trees arching up to the sky, the stars bending down to the dark line of hills. All this – one stuff.
We are all one stuff.
Our loneliness is a delusion. We heard Osho say it over and over again; we are not separate from all that is – just as islands are not separate but all part of one landmass; all joined under the sea.
Sleep that night came deep and sweet. And the very next day Nature gave me a gift of confirmation;.
I hiked up through the rainforest following a small stream to its source below a cliff at the foot of a waterfall. After walking for an hour. i came to where this stream had flooded recently, become a torrent, washed out its banks and undermined a few magnificent old trees. There was an open patch, a glade, the size of two tennis courts.
I went round visiting each of the old uprooted trees and some of the remaining standing ones. There were trunks that soared up 30 metres without a bend or a branch. Some others were of the fig family, sending down a web of aerial roots that had enclosed the original trunk many times over. I had a long, long hug with a Western Red Cedar – oh my brother!
Turning to head on back up to the trail i was leaping from rock to rock when my attention was taken by something white. I stopped, balanced precariously on the rock immediately above the object.
In the cicada silence of the forest i heard myself gasp. I saw that a snake was subduing a wallaby – or, as i later found, a four foot (1.2m) Diamond Python was about to eat a 6kg Pademelon.
As i watched i thought to myself – there’s no way that snake can swallow that animal. Its body is six times the diameter of the snake’s body and twelve times the diameter of the snake’s head.
We are all one stuff, one impeccable production of 4 billion years of evolution! Of course the python knew what he or she could swallow. She knew that her skull and jaws can open up four ways and that her skin is extremely elastic.
For the next hour i watched and photographed her progress. Once, as i walked around her, she disengaged her mouth and warned me off. I got the message, said goodbye and continued up the mountain.
Lying down naked in the pool under the cliff while a rainbow cloud drifted down to me, i knew again – we are all one stuff. Python, pool, giant fallen tree, homo sapiens, galaxy. Where can loneliness come in?
Just a figment of the mind!
Even as i close this piece of writing i hear the judging voices of my childhood mutter; “who do you think you are? you’re not so great a guy! you’re not the only pebble on the beach!”
I am the only and the all – and the snowdrops pushing through the virgin snow.
An issue of the mystery and the magic.
This article first appeared on Osho World.