A Day in a Poona One Encounter Group, Late 1970′s

A day with Chintan in an Early Encounter Group

The following is a selection from a longer essay on encounter groups. With the exception of my name and the group leader’s name, all participants have been assigned fictitious names. The events, however, were pretty much as they happened.

“Have a little courage…”

Those were the last words spoken by Bhagwan (Osho) at the conclusion of the day’s discourse. Leaving the Ashram, I checked my watch. I was going to be late! With only minimal difficulty I found the place, hurriedly smoked a cigarette and entered the space. Another white room! Another place of torture to be endured for the next five days.

This room was slightly larger and felt airier, more open and pleasant than the one that housed last week’s encounter group. Through a double door, there was a large patio, which overlooked an expansive garden. Local gardeners were lazily moving about. In the group room and out on the patio were close to a dozen people, most dressed in orange. There was a terrified looking young man of around eighteen years, and an old woman in her seventies. She was dressed conservatively in shades of brown and looked very out of place.

Rajen was not to be found, and so, uncharacteristic of me I began to mingle, as if I were a regular at a weekly cocktail party. There was no one from the previous group. There was one angry looking tall dark-skinned male and two severe looking, not very attractive 40 something women, but the rest were attractive young people with open faces, only slightly marred by what I guessed was fear.

My own fear seemed to be lost somewhere between Bhagwan’s aura and the entrance to the group room. I introduced myself as an American, and asked others where they were from. There were two Germans, two Americans, a gorgeous woman from France and a plain, though lovely woman from Australia, who immediately told me she was extremely nervous. I showed her my scratches and assured her that that would be the worst that would happen and that I would be pleased to be her protector. Maitri smiled, as the old woman, who introduced herself as Miss Elsie Cartwright of San Francisco, interrupted us. I could almost smell the diamonds and furs.

Looking around, I discovered that Rajen had entered unannounced and, with the aid of a very attractive female assistant, was trying to figure out a hookup for a tape player. Seeing him, the fear somehow snuck back into the room and began playing in my stomach. I took a deep breath and smiled at Rajen. He looked right through me and returned to his technological duties.

Minutes passed and we spontaneously began arranging ourselves on pillows around the periphery of the room until an almost perfect circle was formed. I wondered if Rajen would begin this group in the same manner as the Gestalt group. As he continued with his technical challenges I amused myself pretending to be a group leader, by looking around the room and focusing on the individuals. I wondered if there were any “killers” in the group. I observed body language and tried to guess what each posture was revealing.

Rajen dismissed his assistant with a long, sensual hug and turned to take his seat in the circle. He began, as is his normal way I surmised, by silently looking around the room, but this time his gaze was more detached, gentler somehow. He said nothing and moved quickly from face to face. When his gaze fell on me, he seemed to linger a bit longer before moving on. Seconds later, before he had completed his rounds, he returned his gaze to me.

“Chintan!” My stomach flip-flopped and I instantly prepared for the worst.

“Chintan, before we begin, I just have to share with you that following the Gestalt group I went to a favorite place of mine down by the river. I sat there for a long time, just feeling so bad, and then I cried. And I want you to know that you were very much involved in those tears. Gestalt was the most God-forsaken group I ever led. There was so much negativity and violence and it just never got to a place of healing for many of you. I’m very glad you came back.” I was speechless, and very, very pleased, encouraged and warmed by his comments.

“Okay, for those of you who are new to groups, there are only two rules: Ask to go to the bathroom and I am not to be used as your punching bag.” And so, it began.

Right from the outset I was involved in every action. I was a veteran, ready to fuck or fight. I watched the other participants and sensed that I was in a privileged position. I knew how Rajen operated and felt emboldened. As the morning moved slowly towards lunch break, Rajen was focused on a sexy English woman who was challenging Rajen’s authority and making derogatory remarks about men in general.

I could tell that Rajen was enjoying her, and that the more she fought the deeper was his enjoyment. The rumor around the Ashram was that he quite often ended up with the sexiest female member at the end of the group.

“This would be a good job,” thought I.

Without warning, he called me out of my daydream and asked me to assist him with the young woman. I moved quickly across the room and sat facing Asmita who looked at me challengingly. My mind was racing. One of the thoughts was “Gosh, I’m really moving up in the world. Three days ago, I was a thoroughly defeated, bruised and battered failure as a patient and now I’m embarking on my career as a therapist and group leader.”

I sat there looking at Asmita, glancing occasionally at Rajen, and realized I had absolutely no idea what to do or say. Rajen offered no help whatsoever. “Well, what was I supposed to do?” Rajen’s bemused look intensified. He was practically giggling. “I don’t know Chintan. She’s a tough one. Very angry! Sort of like you, only prettier. Underneath her anger is probably fear, insecurity, lack of identity, inability to achieve orgasm and God only knows what else. What can we do for her? Can’t you help?”

His sarcasm was painfully obvious. I turned to Asmita and began my career as a therapist. “Asmita,” I said, “what can I do to…” “You can go fuck yourself.” I could fill 30 pages describing my inner world during the ten seconds it took me to process her remark and spring into action, but suffice it to say that thirty-five years of history conspired to make me feel trapped and ridiculous.

Rajen had set me up, just as my father had always done. I was in another trap with apparently no intelligent way out. This woman had no right to be angry with me. I was not to blame for her predicament. The thoughts piled up. My brother’s death was not my fault. I love my mother. I hate this fucking bitch in front of me. I could kill her. Shaking the thoughts out of my head I leapt at her like a crazed animal. The force of my sudden movement startled her and she fell backwards. I unleashed my fury, but although out of control emotionally, I was careful not to hurt her.

She tried to respond, but I wouldn’t allow it. I kept screaming obscenities at her, verbally reducing her to mush. Anando, the goofy looking Turk yelled at me to stop. I turned to him, not knowing what to say. I wanted him to understand and to be on my side. As I started to speak to him, Asmita sprang to her feet, ran into the bathroom and slammed the door. I raced after her. Finding the door locked, I vented what was left of my rage on the door. Exhausted, I crumpled on the floor and listened to the sounds of my heart beating and my lungs gasping.

The silence was broken by Rajen’s softer, yet still sarcastic voice. “Well Chintan, good job. You’ve had another lovely catharsis. But where oh where has your patient gone?” I was too spent to be angry. I just sat there staring at him. “What should I do?” “Well, the first thing is to get Asmita back in the fold.”

Turning to the door, I knocked gently and called to Asmita. “Come on out, I won’t hurt you!” Silence. “What the fuck do you want me to do? Come out!” With that, I was finished. I walked dejectedly to the other side of the room and sat down in front of Maitri, who looked kindly at me but made no movement towards me. I turned back towards Rajen, feeling empty and alone.

Rajen turned slightly towards the locked door and gently called to Asmita. “You are safe. Come out.” Within seconds, a frightened English lady emerged, walked over to Rajen and gently sank into his arms. She nuzzled her head onto his chest and cried softly as Rajen cradled her and tenderly stroked her hair. I was left there absolutely alone with nothing but the thoughts racing through my head.

It’s amazing how many thoughts can co-exist. I hate all these people. Rajen is a sadist. I’m right; they are wrong. I wish Rajen would hold me that way. I wonder if anybody is secretly on my side. I wonder how my children are. Is my brother really dead? Those and so many other thoughts, feelings, remembrances and future projections were all there, all at once, competing for space. Meanwhile every cell in my body was pulsating. I was alive, and ready for anything…even death. As a matter of fact, if the truth be known, in that moment, death would have been a relief, because all I could see before me was a lifetime of anger, conflict and confusion.

It seemed that the session would end with Rajen and Asmita enjoying their special moment together, but Rajen had more work to do. Turning his gaze on me, he smiled and asked me how I was feeling. “I’ll survive. I’ll be okay.” There was no verbal response from Rajen, but it seemed to me that his eyes darkened slightly. He just kept his gaze focused on me. I was becoming more and more uncomfortable, and wished that someone would say or do something.

A thought formed in my head, something like a question for Rajen, a question to break the silence and perhaps give me some guidance as to what to do with the rest of this incarnation. But before the thought could become speech, something moved inside my chest. This movement was in an upward direction. The “energy” moved to my throat and was trapped there. I hoped nobody could see my extreme difficulty.

Rajen maintained his fixed gaze, and ever so gently said, “Chintan… breathe!”

Before my mind had a chance to stop me, I opened my mouth and breathed. The breath went all the way down, past my heart and stomach, down, down, down. When it reversed direction, it became a scream. I was aware of the intensity of the sound, and also aware that people in the room were moving back towards the wall.

No sound like that had ever emerged from me. It was not the familiar sound of anger. It was an ungodly howl of pain. And it just kept coming. There was no stopping the sound or the tears that were now flowing out of me. Through my tears, I focused on Rajen. His gaze was intensely focused as he verbally encouraged me to completely let go. I was aware that my body was thrashing about, my head rolling from side to side.

Then the words came… “No more, no more. Please. No more!”

Images of my brother flashed by. I was standing on the bridge in the dark, reaching out and not being able to stop him. The scene shifted and I was six years old and the ether cup was being forced over my nose and mouth.

“No more! Stop it!”

I couldn’t stop the sounds, the tears, the thrashing about. I was aware only of Rajen’s voice gently urging me on. Finally, the screaming stopped and I realized I was in the center of the room, flat on my back with tears covering my face. I was sweating profusely and aware that my body smelled bad. With closed eyes, I could see my children, my mother, my father, and especially my brother, and I felt so bad for all of them. And the tears began again and I could hear my voice calling their names, talking to them, asking for their forgiveness, wishing that I had loved them more.

When the tears subsided, I became aware of my present situation, emotionally naked in the midst of strangers in a foreign land. The room was absolutely silent. No one spoke. I began to feel ashamed. What must these people think of me? I lay there with closed eyes as the thoughts subsided and became aware of my breath. Bhagwan’s face seemed to hover over me and it seemed as if He was speaking to me, gently reminding me to just “Be a Watcher.” And so, I watched; watched and waited.

I was aware of subtle movements around me, but had no idea what was happening. My breath was now very relaxed, my mind still, and I was super aware of every part of my body. I imagined that I could actually feel the blood moving through my veins. I could acutely feel my fingers and toes. The feelings were immensely pleasurable. I wanted to just remain there in that space forever, but I knew I had to open my eyes and endure the stares and judgments of these strangers around me, and the fear that once again Rajen would give me a D-appraisal.

I was pretty much cried out when I opened my eyes, but the sights that greeted me started the flow once again, this time accompanied, I’m sure, by a smile on my face, because surrounding me was the entire group, smiling down on me, some of them wiping away tears of their own.

It was so unexpected and so beautiful to behold. How did I have it so wrong for so many years? I had always thought that to be loved I had to be strong, aloof, centered. Love was supposed to come as a reward for good deeds or good looks. But here I was, following a very unmanly display of emotion, bathing in the warmth of so many loving beings.

I sought out Rajen’s face and found him smiling. “Good,” he said, “See you all back here in two hours.” I lingered as the others left for lunch. I closed my eyes and thanked Bhagwan for this moment.

The remainder of the group was pure bliss; four and a half days of wonder. I was the same person, but deep inside there was an unshakeable feeling of a loving connectedness to life. I felt loved. It was that simple. I didn’t have to do anything, prove anything.

I could simply be.

Chintan David HillBorn and raised in Rhode Island, Chintan (David Hill) studied mental illness and became a stage actor. His first Dynamic meditation propelled him into sannyas in 1977. In between prolonged visits to Pune and Rajneeshpuram he was co-director of the Rajneesh Center in New York (1978-1980) and later worked in mental hospitals. Now retired, he works as a writer and promotes meditation as a cure for mental illness. Chintan is the author of Mastering Madness. He currently resides in Deleon Springs, Florida. mentalillnessmyths.com

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52 Responses to A Day in a Poona One Encounter Group, Late 1970′s

  1. Prateeksha says:

    This is the best account of what it was like to participate in one of those encounter groups I’ve ever read. Lives were transformed in such profound ways.
    Thank you.

    • frank says:

      Here we go again…
      It`s that time of the month, it seems like yesterday…oh, it was yesterday…
      when the inmates of the Orange Sunshine Old Folks Home trip out on their regular stroll down memory lane…

      They will be hauling out their Indian Distinguished Service medals in just a moment…eyes glazing over blissfully as the memories flood over them and warm the cockles of their heart chakras…
      Tthey display their war wounds…and herpes sores…a bit of shell-shock from the chemical attacks of the 1960s…and silent explosions of the 70s…

      Then, the endless tales of no-holds-barred encounters with the enemy, inner and outer, that went on for days at a time, living with the ever-present threat of ego-death on a daily basis and some even having their egos blown clean off in the front line of Sannyas frontier territory…but lived to tell the tale…

      How they watched, horrified, as officer-class therapists shagged the arses off their girlfriends and inspired them to superhuman feats of therapeutic derring-do in the jungles of no-mind and roused them to stampede the doors of perception en masse deep behind the enemy lines of the mind…

      Ah…the cameraderie of the therapy trenches…
      The bliss of the silence as the howitzers of the mind were eventually overrun and transcended in the mud of no-minds` land…

      And the general, with his gas mask on, waving his arms about and exhorting his troops, Patton-esque, to keep going, dropping their egos, dropping the past, dropping their pants…charaiveti, charaiveti, onto Berlin…London…the New World…

      Billeted in their headquarters at Southern Command, they presided over a spiritual empire on which the sun never set…the map of the world was coloured red…

      “Aye, those were the days, my friend…You could do a group, sort out your family stuff, get the approval of a therapist, shag a few birds, buy a packet of beedies, become the new man and still get change from a fiver!
      Young people today could do with a bit of what we had…Would never happen these days of course, all that health and safety stuff…it`s political correctness gone mad.”

      By tea-time they`ll be back round to their part in the eventual downfall of Ma Anand Kurtz, model officer gone insane, and her brutal kingdom of terror and how only a few of them made it home from that mission into the heart of darkness to heroically battle on….

  2. kusum says:

    Encounter keeps happening throughout one’s whole life….

    • shantam prem says:

      Kusum,
      Are you Indian or Nepali?
      Only these two Hindu nations have all the philosophical answers for all the problems. It matters not answers are skin-deep, problems are deep in the skin.

      • Parmartha says:

        Can you comment on why Laxmi would not allow Indians to take part in the Pune 1 encounter groups? I think some felt very disempowered by this.

        • shantam prem says:

          Parmartha, are you asking me or someone else?

          • Parmartha says:

            I am asking you, Shantam.
            I felt it was unjust at the time, and wondered quite what Laxmi was playing at.

            • satchit says:

              Did you really believe that Laxmi was responsible for that?

              Would be a strange master who let the servant decide.

              • frank says:

                Satchit says
                “Would be a strange master who let the servant decide.”

                By that logic, Osho would be either a strange master or guilty of Sheela’s crimes, no?

                That`s the trouble with parrots.
                They don`t really know what they are saying!

                • satchit says:

                  Certainly Bhagwan did decide to not allow the Indians the groups, not small Laxmi. And Indians were busy with other things, like scoring girls and so on, as Shantam says.

                  I am not an Osho-believer.

                  This means I am not sure if he always talked the truth in the Sheela-case. Being Truth does not necessarily mean that one always talks truth.

                  Got it, Frankie boy?

                • frank says:

                  Satchit,
                  There is nothing to get.
                  The idea that there is something to get is simply a judgement of the mind.
                  Squawk!

                • Tan says:

                  Frank boy, getting nothing is the ultimate prize, or is it not? Cheers!

              • Parmartha says:

                It was on Laxmi’s advice that they were not allowed.

                • satchit says:

                  Who said that?
                  An advice is not a decision. Who made the decision? Did somebody else than Bhagwan make the decision in his own ashram?

                • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

                  @ Satchit (at 3.17 pm)

                  Hi Satchit,
                  Good to read that you are not “believer type”.

                  That you differentiate between Being Truth and speaking truth may be a valid thread topic on its own, wouldn´t it?

                  Just some irritation on my side when you spoke of “small Laxmi”. Is there a tone of (your) contempt in that? Or did I get that wrong ?

                  In my eyes, Laxmi did a pretty very good job in that Pune Ashram exploding in numbers at that time.

                  And other than other secretaries feels (felt) integer and competent.
                  A beautiful Soul.

                  Madhu

            • shantam prem says:

              I cannot say about Laxmi´s time but I have been part of Pune 2 from the very first day till its bitter end, so let me describe the psychology of not allowing Indians in highly charged groups. Osho has explained also the reasons.

              First of all, it was not unjustified, not at all. Matter of the fact is best of Indian brains have never joined Sannyas Bandwagon. Till today it is the case, One can look at other Indian gurus, many elites, educated and prosperous people are adoring them.

              Almost every Indian was unhappy to see this Acharya becoming Bhagwan. Till today, India considers Osho a great orator and scholar.

              So the Indians who remained with Osho in thick and thin were not intellectual types, they were devotee types; most of them have not read any literature of any kind other than Osho books.

              Call it compassion, farsightedness or a pure business instinct, Osho has given due space to the techniques developed by the western genius.

              This not only kept people occupied, 90% of the ashram construction is due to this groups money.

              One can look at the present scenario also, the westerns are earning their livelihood and fanfare by doing groups where Osho and his meditations are used as a spice and herbs. Indian scene is full with meditation camps. By my rough estimate, around 30, 40 three day meditation camps are conducted by various disciples.

              The Indians who were present during Pune 1 or Pune 2 were happy to score girls. They had a home ground benefit. I have heard the boasting from few who have scored more than thousand-plus women during their Commune resident phase.

              For westerners it was a phase of Zeitgeist, for Indians it was a golden opportunity to show their tantra skills!

              Anyway, no Indian school of mysticism offers Sex Tantra in their structure whereas there are innumerable westerns preaching ‘you fuck me, I fuck you and we both are spiritually liberated’ kind of Tantra!

              Groups create an illusion, give some basic healing and also some space of relating to lonely hearts. My own understanding is, path is long and needs immense patience.

              Most of us at sannyasnews are well aware about. Is it not a surprise, none of us earn money or respect through therapy groups?

              My position is very clear, if I get money I would love to open a swingers club with more aesthetics rather than opening some therapy business!

              • Parmartha says:

                Thanks for bothering to answer my question, Shantam.

                When I arrived in Poona in late 1974, there were actually a lot of Indians, and of many types. I certainly liked some of them, felt they were true seekers, and not just devotees. And did dynamic with many of them.

                NOW, dynamic…Osho used to encourage all, and often large numbers of Indians at the old pre- Poona camps, to do dynamic.

                To be honest, stopping people from doing encounter is not consistent with the policy of allowing dynamic for all. They are rightly thought of as twins.

              • satchit says:

                @Madhu

                No, with “small Laxmi” I only meant her physical height.

                Yes, Truth and speaking truth is an interesting topic.

                On youtube one can find a series of talks where Sheela talks about Shree Rajneesh, funny.
                Whom to believe?
                Who is the best liar?

                • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

                  Uuups, Satchit, good that you responded, so that I can understand a bit better what you understand about ‘being a non-believer’. It differs from my understanding.
                  You say: “Whom to believe? Who is the best liar?”
                  I gave and give all meditative efforts possible NOT to ask such questions.

                  As far as the very few youtube performances of Sheela Birnstiehl that I’ve watched are concerned, the last one (for ever, I guess) contained her life spoken answer to somebody to ask her about the attempted murder-crimes, where she claimed, “if that would be true” (the intentional murder-attempts) “I, Sheela´, would have been more efficient and successful in that crime.”

                  Other stuff was similar…and once again, as I’ve also known about her life-stances for quite some time. Enough is enough.

                  The bitter taste in me about such a women ´in power´ yet is mine about such stuff (as I am not a believer). For example, to dissolve some trauma and working on a pattern of mine, being a survivor of an experiment that ran out of the rudder.

                  Not to be a believer, Satchit, that does not mean for me, to adapt to – or to decide about – other´s life stories, but dig into my own.

                  That also confers to this topic´s report about a successful ´encounter session´ of one of our friends of former time.

                  I am aware that it is not mine nor I feel it a really good advertising for ´modern or post-modern times´.

                  You can read, if you are up to it, many, many reports like that; it will never be your story. (I did read a lot).

                  Btw, the book late Satyananda published, late seventies of last century, is now available in English under the title ´Cosmic Madhouse´, if you are up to reading personal testimonials.

                  Anyway, your Truth will be unique, like you are, and is an alive stuff inspite of any constellation systems roles, changing moment to moment on this life´s journey. Hopefully.
                  A living one.

                  Madhu

                • satchit says:

                  @ Madhu

                  “The bitter taste in me about such a women ´in power´ yet is mine about such stuff (as I am not a believer). For example, to dissolve some trauma and working on a pattern of mine, being a survivor of an experiment that ran out of the rudder.”

                  You mean the Ranch-trauma? How long have you been there?

                  My energy did not lead me to that place, so I have no trauma.

                  I am neither an Osho-believer nor a Sheela-believer. But I can imagine that certain things were true maybe, he was mad enough, for example that he declared people enlightened for a new Rolls Royce.

                  Nobody knows the truth, what has been said or done between these two. And I for myself need not know.

                • swamishanti says:

                  “As far as the very few youtube performances of Sheela Birnstiehl that I’ve watched are concerned, the last one (for ever, I guess) contained her life spoken answer to somebody to ask her about the attempted murder-crimes, where she claimed, “if that would be true” (the intentional murder-attempts) “I, Sheela´, would have been more efficient and successful in that crime.”

                  It`s funny that Sheela would try to claim that she would have been more successful in executing the alleged crimes, as so many of her poisoning attempts (all of them?) seem to have failed.

                  With the case of little Laxmi, for example, whilst she was living in her trailer on the Ranch, with cancer, and Sheela used to give her a cup of juice mixed with a bit of poison every day for several months, but Laxmi complained of a bad belly, yet nothing else.

                  And several other visitors to the Ranch that Sheela didn`t like much got the “Delhi Belly” as well.

        • Lokesh says:

          PM, the answer to that is simple. The majority of Indian sannyasins were not equiped to deal with Poona 1Therapy groups, culturally, psychologically etc. Sexual repression would be the number one blocker.

          Westerners had gone through a sexual revolution, sparked up by Elvis moving his hipsand Mick Jagger’s rubber lips. Nudity etc. was no big deal. Compare that to a culture where arranged unions of virgins was the norm.

          Osho covered the subject quite extensively, at times softening the impact by delivering sugary talks about Indians being devotees of the heart etc. Back then, Indians in an encounter group would have been a complete disaster.

          • frank says:

            What about Iranians?
            They were banned wholesale from the ashram weren`t they?
            They didn`t wait for the groups to start,just getting through the gate was enough.

            Never mind the encounter groups, anyone who had travelled overland or round India knew the score with the old world sexual attitudes.

            Every single western woman on that journey had some kind of molestation scrape with the locals at some stage. A mate of mine, who I hitched around India with, had very long blonde hair – and he used to get it too!

            Skinny-dipping in a padded bunker with those guys?
            I think not!

            I`m surprised you`ve forgotten all that, Big P.

            • frank says:

              I know, for some, this may all smack of complacent post-colonial cultural superiority.
              What to do?
              That`s how it was and largely still is.
              And I dread to think what was/is going on behind closed doors.

              In India, I have shat in public and kissed and hugged females in public.

              Guess which one I got stones thrown at me for?

              It`s a funny old world….

            • Parmartha says:

              Actually, Frank, I don’t remember this about Iranians. I knew a few Iranians, so I presume they were not excluded?

              If you know more, and why that was a policy it would be worth writing down.
              Thanks.

              Speaking about life in general, and not the ashram, I have found some Iranians difficult, but not all. Those who are difficult seem addicted to lying and compulsive about it, as if it is in their culture? Also theft and crime in general did seem to be part of their culture, but then again not all. What has your experience been?

              • frank says:

                Big P,
                It was for jumping on the women. I can`t provide any solid evidence, unfortunately. It`s in my memory.

                I also remember Iranians feeling themselves under scrutiny and had to prove their good behaviour to the ashram authorities in the 90s.

                Travelling through the country a couple of times in the time of the Shah – pretty paranoid and unpleasant with a lot of moustachioed guys strutting about in army uniforms.

                It`s all about individuals though, isn`t it?

                Btw. What do you think foreigners think of the British when they are foolhardy enough to explore these isles?

                Love their dogs more than their children.
                Drink alcohol till they become either violent or collapse.
                Terrible teeth.
                Think they have a sense of fair play, but got rich ripping off Johnny foreigner.
                Absolutely crap food. The weather is terrible, but they still spend most of their lives talking about it.
                Got a sense of humour, but let’s face it, without it the prognosis would be misery followed by death.
                And the fabled honesty?
                Well, to the neighbours it`s Albion perfide!

                Bunch of tossers!

          • Parmartha says:

            Many of those who came from the West were also not “ready” for this type of encounter and should not have been in those groups. I saw some of the results, and it made some people more neurotic, not less.

            I think the policy should either have been broader or narrower. I did meet some Indians who I felt could manage an encounter group, and felt disempowered in not being able to do one.

            • frank says:

              PM, you say:
              “Many of those who came from the West were also not “ready” for this type of encounter and should not have been in those groups. I saw some of the results, and it made some people more neurotic, not less.”

              This has happened all through the history of psychiatry and psychotherapy!
              Not to mention religion.

              People may or may not be “ready”. But by what criterion, applied by whom, can decide that ‘readiness’?

              Why would anyone assume such a faculty could exist?
              You pays your money and you takes your chances as the cockney mystics say.

              To those disempowered Indians I would say:
              Don`t worry about it, you might have the odd Hindu/Muslim riot and lose the plot and cream you lunghi when you see a woman`s naked shoulder, but those guys invented concentration camps, the atom bomb, the Devil, the globalised slave grinding at the mill, colonialism and deep-fried Mars bars- let them work out a bit of their bad karma for themselves in a padded cell-they need it, cocky bastards!!”

              • Parmartha says:

                Don’t say yes to everyone who has the money. That’s a good start for discretion….

                • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

                  Where or to whom addressed does that belong to in the chat, Parmartha (at 3.53 pm )?

                  And: I would thoroughly contradict that Dynamic Meditation and Encounter Groups, run by whatsoever facilitator(s), are ´twins´, as you suggested.

                  However – for very different reasons – we seem to almost all agree here that is was quite intelligent to leave this kind of encounter to the so-called ´western hemisphere´, where it also came from (Perls, Janov and others).

                  Even for the Japanese bunch of people one then had to alter the (encounter) procedure, remember?

                  To be “ready” for such, or not, has been always a quite common slang, and mostly commented afterwards, even up to nowadays; it was/is spoken with the same indifference and in a very uncompassionate way about those, one subsumes then under´calamity(ies).

                  I don´t like that, the least to say.

                  One reason more for me, btw, to differentiate between Dynamic Meditation and an ´Encounter Group´.

                  Madhu

          • Prateeksha says:

            That explanation is the one I remember, Lokesh. Thank you.

          • Prateeksha says:

            Re: Lokesh’s explanation at 10:42 am — I remember Osho explaining it that way in discourse and also heard that explanation from friends during Poona 1.

    • Lokesh says:

      Kusum is only 16 years old, Shantam, try to not expect too much from him.

      • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

        Lokesh,

        Kusum might be sixteen years old or not, Nepalese or Indian, or not.
        But he (she?) stated a naked fact and that should be appreciated.

        I can follow you when you stated that the narrative (re ´this´ Chintan´s quote here, brings back some of Osho´s buddhafield to a certain time, and true, it´s amazing – and it is written by a professional working then until recently in American psychiatric wards.

        If his everyday living with everyday challenges has been transformed in permanence since this remarkable group session of the seventies, we simply don´t know.
        Others may have come to know.

        A Buddhafield in the Presence of an enlightened Master and His Sangha is more than a successful Gestalt Therapy session, completing a ´gestalt´, redemption-times…

        That´s what this narrative reminds me of.

        And that´s a beautiful a vision of the ´Psychology of the Buddhas´, how it was called once.

        Madhu

        • Lokesh says:

          Shantam, I suspect that Kusum might be toying with naked facts on an erotic level.

          • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

            ´Plain (obvious) facts´, would have been a better choice from my side (?), Lokesh.
            Not that easy sometimes for me, not to talk (if talking or writing) in my mother-tongue.

            Much, much water down the Ganges (and elsewhere) these last forty years, isn´t there?

            Madhu

        • satchit says:

          This encounter story is too detailed for my taste. But who knows – maybe the author did write diary every evening?

          I was also there around this time doing groups, but I have only fragmented memories.

  3. Lokesh says:

    Chintan’s account pretty much captures how those type of groups were. Brings it all back and somehow it was all part of Osho’s magic. Quite amazing!

    I had a dear American friend called Chintan. He died a few years back in Santa Fe. Last time I saw him I felt like I always did with him…brotherly. The circumstances of his death were quite remarkable.

    Near Sante Fe, New Mexico, are some very good ski slopes. Chintan enjoyed to ski there, but had never succeeded in completing the most challenging slope. Once more he ascended in the ski lift to give it one more try. It was a steep run, but lo and behold he completed the difficult descent without a single mistake. When he reached the finishing point, his beloved wife and friends were waiting there. They all cheered. Chintan stuck his skis in the snow, raised his hands towards the clear blue sky and then shouted, “I made it!” In that very moment he dropped dead from a massive heart attack.

    He was a beautiful human being.

  4. Parmartha says:

    “It is a beautiful morning.
    Again and again the sun rises and it is always new. It never grows old…This morning, again the miracle of existence. Each moment it is happening, but only very few – very, very few ever ENCOUNTER it.

    The word encounter is really beautiful. To encounter the moment as it is; to see it as it is, without adding, without deleting, without any editorial work, just to see it as it is, like a mirror….”
    OSHO

  5. madhu dagmar frantzen says:

    @ Satchit ( 5 April, 2017 at 3:40 pm)

    You say, Satchit: “My energy did not lead me to that place, so I have no trauma.”
    And then, you also say: “Nobody knows the truth, what has been said or done between these two. And I for myself need not know.”

    All good and well, Satchit; and if that is the case, then I am asking myself, what about ´your energy´ then, repeating here in the UK chat so many of the yellow press kind of fantasies, if you didn´t even visit a place or have any personal experience in that case?
    And what are you up to (what is your energy like?), doing that? What for?

    If you have some pride, not to have to encounter some traumatic experiences, so be it.

    But don´t expect me to validate before you experiences I ´encountered´, so to say.
    Or to ´counter-fantasise´ about some of the yellow press mongers.

    Madhu

    • satchit says:

      @ Madhu

      So everything that does not fit into your belief-system is yellow press? Funny.

      It is strange that Laxmi is responsible for not allowing the Indians in the encounter groups and Sheela for the Ranch disaster – and Osho not at all. Looks almost as if poor Osho is a constant victim to the girls.

      Sorry, I cannot believe this.

      Something new from the yellow press on Sannyas News:
      I have heard he was simply fed up of that desertland.

      Trauma comes from attachments.
      Maybe good idea to look at yours!

      • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

        And again, Satchit (at 1.20 pm):
        “All good and well, Satchit; and if that is the case, then I am asking myself, what about ´your energy´ then, repeating here in the UK chat so many of the yellow press kind of fantasies, if you didn´t even visit a place or have any personal experience in that case?

        And what are you up to (what is your energy like?), doing that? What for?”

        Yes, what for, Satchit?

        Madhu

        • satchit says:

          What for?
          This question can always be asked.
          What for you ask me? What for I am here?
          What for you are here?

          There is no need for a personal experience. I know how the human mind works. It is the same if you are in Rajneeshpuram or in Timbuktu.

          Ah yes. Maybe I am here for a little encounter, as the topic says.

  6. Parmartha says:

    ‘Readiness’…
    It is true that maybe one cannot easily say who is “ready”.
    However, one can quite easily say who is NOT ready.
    Those early group readers, even people like Veeresh and Somendra when they were operating in the West, just said yes to almost everybody and just took the money, and did not give such considerations. Further supporting my view that ‘Profit is a fool’s game.’

    I have also certainly seen some people who were not ready for Reichian stuff, like dynamic meditation. I led dynamic for four years in London and did suggest to some newcomers they tried kundalini, etc. before trying dynamic, as I was worried that it would be too much for them.

    • kusum says:

      Yes…kundalini is evergreen meditation technique. Any age or any body type person can do it.

    • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

      “It is true that maybe one cannot easily say who is “ready”.
      However, one can quite easily say who is NOT ready.” (Parmartha).

      Here you come again, Parmartha, with that ‘readiness’ stuff; quite one-sided, I feel, like ever, even when now you mentioned your view: “Profit is a fool’s game.”

      My view is that only for a very small time period in the early, up to later seventies, a kind of spiritual supervision by the Master in Pune, a supervision for facilitators AS for participants, had been possible to happen; it was the time where you and some very, very few other contributors here were present in the Pune I Ashram.

      And what happened then outside the Ashram in the global playing, to make money for further stay in India, that´s indeed another story, as you say.

      And yes, I can relate to that, that you call ´Dynamic Meditation´as a kind of entry into Reichian bodywork, roughly speaking, as one comes across some deep frozen parts of life´s history, coming into consciousness, to be taken care of, when melting.

      Fortunate one is when not abused by the meditation or centre leader, when that happens. (Being grabbed and touched in the genitals or otherwise shocked by a meditation leader running around during the meditation while me as others having had the blindfold on, etc.).

      Here in Bavaria, Germany, late seventies I have not been that fortunate.
      In Pune then, India, soon afterwards, quite some other and better experiences, also with group and meditation facilitators.

      I am writing that down because I don´t like what I feel as your ´one-sightedness´ in terms of ´being ready´.

      I am not writing it down to complain about ´spilt milk´ (and abuse) as nothing can be done about it. What happened, happened.

      You may need to know, Parmartha and/or maybe others, that if you write about me or to me outside the chat, that that doesn´t reach me; quite often (like yesterday) that I got and get a message that something in the caravanserai realms outside the chat ends up in my spam, unavailable for me to read.

      Mention this, for just in case that you like me to know something, you then seem to have make it open for a view – IN the SN caravanserai chat.

      Sincerely

      Madhu

  7. Punya says:

    Out of courtesy please give credit to where the article has been published for the first time and link to it: http://www.oshonews.com/2017/03/30/chintan-have-a-little-courage/

    Thanks.
    Punya

  8. sw. veet (francesco) says:

    Hello, I’m back…after some weeks in an encountering group.

    Right now I feel a little bit disconnected (numb) which, amongst the possible way to react (patterns: isolation, just functioning, etc.) in the ‘extreme-limit situations’ provided by an encounter group, is my main way to skip from the ‘here and now’.

    For me, after my almost 25 years of Osho groups and despite the running tiredness, the disconnection and the hoarseness, to explore my anger-fear-pain with this approach seems an experience generally positive.

    I’m not sure if just 10 years ago I would have had the courage to expose my ‘emotional child”‘in all its ‘glory’ as it happened in these days.

    But right now I would not know which criterion to use for saying this, because that one I use normally, the “creating trust” (Osho-co-dependency), does not have much space to be shared and confronted in a context of encountering…maybe I feel disconnected also for this reason.

    Perhaps the positivity of the encountering approach, its therapeutic perspective, will emerge with time, maybe it will be the effects of encountering experience in itself on my emotional stability, or will be visible in the improvement of my relationships filtered by this particular way to explore the human soul, and (who knows?) if it could even affect my life on the existential level, almost a paradigm shift…At the moment I can only say that it’s nice to appreciate as the time between the “I hate you” and “I love you” becomes shorter.

    (This is just for fun, I have read that the policy of the forum is changed: Another aspect of my feeling of disconnection is from my “fxxx off”, I finished them with the voice…but, beware, iconoclasts cynical commentators, I’m not disconnected from my desire to sleep and I could always dream to shout it…zzzzzzz).

    With Love,

    VF

    Will ever ready to encounter a coconut?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vow9rBrEmZ0
    (On this topic I didn’t find the video of a kundalini guru in Bali).