Swami Prem Navajat reflects, after a first reading of Devageet’s book, ‘Osho: the first Buddha in the Dental Chair’. Swami Devageet worked as Osho’s personal dentist for many years.
Two thirds fascinating, one third disappointing. The disappointing part is the strange, almost perhaps ideological inability, to my perception, for Devageet to be truly authentic in the first thirty-six pages. Those pages seemed to be dull enough to start skipping, and doing a kind of fake fast-reading. They would be of some use to someone completely unfamiliar with ‘our’ history: but then the rest of the book is unsuitable and uninteresting to such a person who is not in love and fascination with this Master and his Experiment.
The other two-thirds are, of course, absolutely fascinating for a disciple-ish kind of chap like me. (Who am I to stay whether I’m a disciple, student gatherer, or a hoodlum?!)
A few points spring forth, which have been in germination in my mind in some cases for decades. It seems to me that poor Osho was at the same time served exceedingly well and exceedingly poorly by the westerners around him, in his latter years.
On one side: there was a good “yes”. On the other: wasn’t he treated to an extent like a combination of a weird CEO, a fat baby, and a histrionic menopausal woman by the supposed intimates? Sometimes I even fancy I can actually see it on video in some of the documentaries.
(Some of what I am struggling to say now seems to me to be very apparent in Veena’s book too, for example).
It may be that a lot of what went on between us and O was an interplay, rather than just soaking up by us. Meaning that with different people surrounding him, the outcomes may have had been different. Meaning that we affected his ‘work’.
Vivek, Sheela, Shiva, Laxmi and others including in the tiniest part myself and you, have shaped the commune and the ‘work’. Or rather the Experiment, as Osho often used to refer to it. Cleaning, for example, went on to such an extent it must have been really quite disturbing, and at the same time daily in-fighting among the “chosen few” is revealed in every book that comes out. My feeling – or is it judgement? – is that he was daily mollycoddled in such a way it was actually disrespectful. The fact that he was always unfailingly positive and kind is no indication that that was the best way!
The description of O working on Devageet’s interiority is fascinating and touching. I imagine that Gurdjieff’s pupils and disciples would elicit from this a great feeling of familiarity! Same and more went on around Gurdjieff and Meher Baba, and others as far as can be gathered.
The reason why I include us, i.e. you and me and thousands, is because you can think of it in term of concentric circles. O was surrounded (and one is almost tempted to say “suffocatingly surrounded”) by the inner of the Inner Circle; and they in turn were surrounded by the Inner Circle; and they by the ashramites; and they by further widening circles of us. And always the effect and feedback at the points of contact. So in some tiny way we were affecting and co-creating Sheela, or her madness; and the neuroticism of Vivek and Shiva, and so on.
It may also be considered that O played up to us similarly as he played up to Devageet in the dental laboratory in the dentist’s chair. And so he may have had said different things had we laughed differently. And possibly the tensions between us and the outside world may had ended up differently too.
Just by the way, but prompted by reading this book, I think it is still entirely possible that O was being poisoned by Sheela at the time of the Ranch. When Devageet describes O’s teeth hurting for no apparent reason at one point in the first part of the book: that could be the telling indication. (And he does mention that the teeth were then in comparatively good shape). Just such a symptom could be expected in case of poisoning. And it would appear to be in character for Sheela. She may even had thought that she was somehow helping the work! She was neurotic and maddened enough – in hindsight.
Was then O poisoned once, twice or three times??
There is even the strange mention in O’s wider opus, of how he had engineered his own poisoning seven hundred years ago, in a previous incarnation, in order to further his work in the twentieth century!
The mystery upon mystery continues, and truly – it is an overwhelmingly sweet mystery, this still continuing Experiment of one wonderful Master; sweet though, but perhaps not on the teeth.