“Do not build your house on the bridge”
Man it is hot in Mumbai in May. As much as I wanted to stay close to Osho in his physical body, I wanted out of India on that May day in 1973.
Shortly after I’d first met Osho in his Woodlands apartment in Mumbai, I had another meeting with him before leaving for the cool of the U.S. I was escorted to his room by his secretary, Laxmi, but once I got through the door, I was left alone with him and his caretaker Vivek. As good looking as Vivek was, I only had eyes for Osho as this was my first time seeing him privately since taking sannyas about three months before. He knew I’d come to say goodbye but when he asked me if I had anything to say, I became speechless. I was overwhelmed by my love for him and by his intelligence and felt if I said anything I would look stupid… yes I had memorized what I would like to have said… that I had a satori while doing the dynamic meditation… that the past was simply a memory, the future does not exist and his present to me is that I now live only in the present, but it is difficult to lie sitting in front of the truth.
I say all this because many new friends today ask me about my moments alone with Osho and how great it must have been but really all I knew about meditation up until that moment is that the Beatles’ music had changed for the better by going East and that was good enough for me to transcend myself as I couldn’t stand my present carnation. Conversely, sitting in my shit in front of Osho taught me more about life than 16 years of public education because it taught me to say and feel “I don’t know” with the energy I needed to move on with my life… which for me remains even today the definition of a miracle.
So when Osho asked me how my meditation was going, I can’t believe I quoted Groucho Marks and said, “Close but no Cigar” … I nearly passed out over my ridiculous, spontaneous statement… but to my amazement Osho loved it and turned to Vivek to smile his approval. While he glowed in my Groucho gaffe, I reached over and kissed his big toe… being so new to the East, I never knew of this tradition between a master and a disciple… I was more caught in my uptight Western male conditioning that I kissed another man’s foot… Osho quickly turned his gaze back to me and smiled… but from that moment on it was part of the instructions before seeing Osho alone not to touch his body….
And Osho returned his attention to me, “Just continue to be total… and do the dynamic meditation every day.” Remember in ’73, the dynamic meditation was king, Osho developed kundalini and other active mediations soon after, but his guidance seemed to me always to stay the same… to pick a meditation and do it daily until it fell away naturally.
And suddenly he asked, “How do you feel?”
While my mind was racing for an appropriate enlightened response, what came out of me was, “I feel lucky.”
Again he simply loved it.
He said something like that I should remain with him as long as this is how I feel.
Even today I ask myself, “How do you feel?” And invariably, I ‘here’ back from myself, “I feel lucky as hell.”
So now, Osho and I simply sat with each other in silence… with nothing to say. He didn’t say a word and I simply had nothing to say.
I couldn’t say anything for a good three minutes, and finally he did what my father used to do when he was bored with me, he looked at his watch – which in my father’s case was a signal for me to either get his interest or leave his presence. I had no concept of spirituality at the time, but I had some worldly sense… thanks to daddy. So I looked up at Osho and I said only one word: “California!”
And when I said that single word, he got truly excited. He began talking, and he talked to me for what seemed like an eternity about how many of his people who don’t yet know that they’re his people are now in California, and how his work would flourish there. And he began to plant a seed in me that one day I would open up a meditation center for him somewhere in that western U.S. state.
And all the while, he went on and on about ‘Californication’, I did tratak on his beard… and the seed was planted in my subconscious that I wanted to look just like him… and my beard starting growing just like that… spring comes and the beard grows by itself… well my beard grew and grew but I looked more like a ‘hairy krishna’ than an Osho.
I remember years later when I was in an encounter group in OSHO International Meditation Resort the rapist, I mean my therapist, said to me that my beard was growing straight out of me and was a wall between me and everyone I met. For me, a feeling of separation is a flu-like symptom. During lunch break, I shaved for about an hour and I haven’t seen my beard, or my need to look like Osho, since… it took a while to look and taste and feel and love myself… it felt like it took an eternity to be here now… and it’s worth the wait if you have the time.
And by now, Osho had said what he wanted to say about the west coast, and my ass was hurting from sitting on the floor, so we’d both finished for the moment when Osho dismissed me with a request, “Tonight I would like you to sit close to me at the evening discourse.” which was going to take place in an outside park in the Juhu Beach area of Mumbai.
Me being my lazy self, of course I showed up late and I would have estimated that 2000 Indian friends had shown up before me who also wanted to sit up close – something I’d never seen before. In ’73 there were only a handful of Westerners around Osho and I had no idea up until now that he had disturbed millions of traditional Indians and also attracted a hundred thousand new Indian friends to his fold at the very same time. So, sadly, I sat down in the back of the audience and Osho proceeded to speak for one and a half hours in Hindi, which I didn’t speak and didn’t understand and didn’t enjoy hearing. Plus I was sitting on the ground under a mosquito sky… and as any great man of silence knows, mosquitoes are the enemy of meditation. I challenge you right now to sit in India without Indian Odomos mosquito repellent and crack the Zen koan, ‘I am not the body’!!!
Towards the end of the discourse, at the moment I was about to leap out of my skin from bites and boredom, Osho said one line in English. And this line changed my life. He said: “Do not build your house on the bridge.”
It was like a Zen koan for me, which I meditated on for years until I had lived the meaning of that one sentence. At the time, I didn’t know what he meant by saying this but I distinctly felt that it was a message directly for me. Sometimes when Osho spoke to me years later in darshan, I often knew he was actually speaking to someone else who was also present. And conversely, when it entered me directly while he was speaking to someone else, I knew he was speaking to me – it would be something relevant to me in that moment and it always had a special kind of ring to it.
I don’t want to say what this one sentence meant to me, because it may have a hidden meaning for you and you may feel to meditate on this yourself. But I’ll give you a hint: I now understand that the journey is the goal and I always keep moving. When I am sad, I look into the sadness, eventually it passes…. I don’t build a home called sadness and live in it, decorate it with happy furniture and then put it on the real estate market and sell it to another fool on the hill… like, perhaps, you… when I looks into sadness, it disappears… ‘This too will pass’ as the Sufis say… sadness comes, sadness goes, happiness comes, happiness goes… only you, naked before the truth, remain untouched.
I hope we bump into each other on the bridge one day and share a cup of chai and gossip. And when we are satisfied, you go your way and I’ll go mine… it’s easier to walk across a bridge without all your possessions, emotional and physical, in your back pack. A cup of tea between two friends can be quite unburdening.
Go lightly into your life, love is, kp www.geeyouareyou.com