Excerpt from Chapter 5 of 93 Rolls-Royces by Deva Peter Haykus. (The book is available from Viha) First published in Viha Connection http://www.oshoviha.org/online-magazine.php
This has been my whole life: putting out energy, waiting for something to happen. Waiting without expectation; pure waiting. It’s like, “What now? Which way is the wind blowing?”
The wind this time has blown me toward Patanjali Lake, a small body of water tucked away in a corner of Rancho Rajneesh. It is an idyllic spot, where you can swim and sunbathe in the nude, and where sannyasin workers go when they want to hide out.
It’s an early, warm August morning when Osho’s new speedboat is delivered. Ma Nirupa and I go out to the lake together to prepare for the Master’s arrival. Nirupa, a short, energetic English ma, is the cleaner of his rooms at Lao Tzu House. She brings towels and other equipment to dry the early morning dew from the seats, the dashboard, and the steering wheel, no easy task. She is in charge of the cleaning; I am there to serve as his mechanic and to help him learn to operate the boat.
Osho arrives driving one of the early Rolls-Royces – a two-door Camargue. I watch him step out of the car and walk gracefully down the beautiful wooden dock that has been constructed for him by sannyasin carpenters.
He is dressed in a custom-made robe, socks, and cushioned thongs. I hold his hand as he carefully steps down into the 16-foot boat, bobbing in the water a foot below the dock. I lament the fact that no one has thought to affix bumpers to the dock to steady the boat, but he carefully takes his seat behind the wheel while Vivek sits in the bucket seat beside him.
Since this is all new to Osho, I kneel in the rear- facing seat behind him to assist as he attempts to start the boat. The key ring has a small plastic float attached; he asks me what that is for. I tell him it is to prevent the key from sinking in the event the key is dropped in the water. He asks, “Why would you want to drop the key in the water?” Coming from an enlightened master, this is not a lame joke, it is a Zen koan.
In my youth I had worked on large yachts at a marina on Lake Michigan, so the operation of different kinds of boats is second nature to me. But this is all new to Osho. It appears he doesn’t know how to start the boat! I lean over his shoulder from behind and speak into his ear as he tries to start the motor.
He seems spaced out; he isn’t doing what I am telling him to do: “Push the starter switch in and turn it to the right.”
I repeat that instruction to him two or three times, but it seems like he isn’t taking it in. So I lean forward, put my hand around his, and together we turn on the switch. When the motor engages with a big rumble, and he realizes we are successful, he turns his head and gives me a huge grin. It is amazing – the feeling of being that physically close to him. I wish I could describe what it feels like; I don’t have the words for it.
But as soon as the boat starts up, I realize this is the wrong kind of boat for him. Osho is incredibly sensitive to things in his environment – like smells, for example – and the speedboat has a two-cycle out- board motor which reeks of oily exhaust fumes. My objection to the boat is one of many confrontations I would have with Sheela. I tell her he needs a more car-like boat: one with a four-cycle motor which doesn’t burn oil with the gas, and directs the exhaust into the water. This filters out the smell.
When I tell Osho there are better choices for him, he overrules Sheela. I get permission to fly to Portland in the Ranch’s private Mitsubishi jet to shop for something more suitable. I find a real beauty at a custom boat builder’s shop. It’s a mahogany wood- planked speedboat with a proper engine, a wind- shield, plush padded bench seats, and lots of chrome. I take my recommendation to the powers that be, but the boat is never ordered.
In the meantime, I affix two small oscillating fans to the rear of his speedboat, to blow the motor fumes away from him as he is backing the boat away from the dock. When he goes out in the speedboat – just him and Vivek – he speeds in and around obstacles that protrude through the surface of the water.
I don’t know what those are, but he is definitely swerving around obstacles. It is not a clean lake surface. Navigating the lake at high speed takes quite a bit of maneuvering, which makes it exciting for him. And he is really into the excitement. He has said in his discourses that he is really a good driver, and he truly is – with the boats and, as I would soon find out, with the cars as well.
One morning Osho goes out in the speedboat with Vivek and the motor putters and stalls in the middle of the lake. Now what?! The problem is that I have no way to get out to the boat. There aren’t even any life jackets or life-saving float rings. I have been very concerned with the whole scene anyway because it is an unsafe boating situation. Because of my marina experience I know about boating safety, and none of that is happening. If they aren’t able to get the motor started, what to do?
After six or seven false starts, Osho is finally able to restart the motor and get the boat back to the dock.
I lift up the outboard motor and see the problem
– seaweed is caught around the prop. I remove the stuff and tell Osho that appears to be why the boat is stalling.
Then he wants to take the speedboat out for another spin. He invites me and Nirupa onto the boat with him and Vivek. He begins whizzing around like a nut (speed racer type guy, weaving, speeding back and forth, and having a good old time). He leans back and yells, “Yeah, Peter, I think that was it – the seaweed.” (He has to yell because the outboard motor is so loud.)
I am leaning over his shoulder so I can hear him and talk to him, and his hair and beard are flying inthe wind back into my face. The experience blows me away.
Mischievousness is a big part of our relationship and something we have in common. He often asks me what kind of trouble I’m getting into. He chuckles, seeming to enjoy the comic relief of what I am going through. He’s a kibitzer. That’s who he is. I dearly love these conversations because that’s my trip, too – just to stir the pot up a little to see what will happen.
One time, I tell him there isn’t enough safety equipment at the lake, such as dock bumper pads, life jackets, fire extinguishers, etc., that should have been there from day one and are not. I am giving him this whole list and he asks what else I think I need. I say a vehicle to get out there in the morning with Nirupa. He asks, “How about a motorcycle with a side car?” I think to myself, how am I supposed to get Nirupa out there with her cleaning gear? Her mop. Her buckets. In a side car?
I tell him I don’t want a motorcycle because they’re too dangerous. He looks at me like I’m crazy. (Doesn’t Osho says at one point: everyone want a motorcycle? I say no. So he says, “Well, pick any vehicle you want and you can use it.” Later that day I go to Jesus Grove to arrange for a vehicle. Sheela asks me which vehicle I want, because she knows Osho asked me to pick one.
I say, with a straight face, “I’ll take your Mercedes, Sheela.” If looks could kill! She is outraged that I would have the balls to say that.
The truth is, that just came out of me. From the very get-go, from the time I became involved with Osho, I always felt I was an instrument of his. For me to blurt out those words to Sheela had to do with that feeling. Why the hell would I say something like that? It is conscious, but it is also like being a channel for his teachings.
She is so pissed off, with steam coming out of her ears and eyes bulging out of her head, that she says flat out, “No!” I’d have to choose another one. [...]
The next day Osho asks me, “What vehicle did you pick?” I say I picked Sheela’s Mercedes. The Buddha belly laugh that follows is really something. I don’t know if I ever remember him having such a reaction to anything. Just him and me standing there at the end of the dock; nobody else is around. He is really enjoying the moment and so am I.