PHYSICAL PROXIMITY TO OSHO….HOW IMPORTANT WAS/IS IT?
Lokesh Explores this Question
My favourite book is ‘I AM THAT’ by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. I have read it cover to cover dozens of times and yet I still come across passages whereby I think, ‘How could I have missed this?’ My conclusion is that you hear things when you are ready to hear them.
During the past few months, I have occasionally scanned the book for one of my favourite chapters. I wanted to refer to it in the creation of this topic. I can’t find it. It concerns a young man who visits Maharaj in his cramped attic on one occasion. An exchange takes place and, after the young seeker leaves, Maharaj comments that such people are rare, in relation to their depth of enquiry, sincerity and earnestness. You can tell from the guru’s words that he was pleased with the encounter.
During the seven years I spent in Poona One, I had darshan with Bhagwan (Osho) many times. We also spoke with each other on a number of occasions. I also watched hundreds of people have darshan. They came in all shapes and sizes. I sat in Buddha Hall during hundreds of discourses and was there the day that Osho told the people, sitting bolt upright on their velvet cushions in the front rows, that they were positioned where they were because they needed his energy more than the people seated in the back. I can remember feeling chuffed at the time, because I was sitting where I normally sat…right at the back of the auditorium. My personal ego trip aside, that was a very important discourse, because in one fell stroke Osho dispelled the notion that being physically close to him implied that you were in some way special, more spiritually advanced etc..
In 1991, I went to Lucknow and met H W L Poonja. Once again I watched people in satsang, some I knew from Poona days. I found it refreshing to hear the Master say that he did not want people hanging around, that you could get what he had to impart in four days, and it would be good if you moved on to make space for others.
On Ibiza I know many people who were with Osho and H W L Poonja. They also come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are still the same silly people that they are somehow destined to be. Being with Osho and Poonjaji, some of them for years, does not appear to have impacted their lives at all. Of course, this is a judgement and, from my years of experimenting with psychedelics, if there is one thing I learnt from those times it is this…you can never really tell what level of consciousness a human being is operating from, no matter how utterly stupid they might appear. It is a huge mistake to be taken in by appearances.
My conclusion is this…being in close physical proximity to a guru, Osho included, will make no difference to your state of being unless you are in the right state of receptivity to partake in what is on offer. I have often pulled other sannyasin blogger’s wooden legs on this site about not having actually met Osho, so how could they actually know what the man was all out on an energetic level? Although there may be an element of truth in it, when it all boils down, I really do not think it is that important a point. It is also of interest to observe that when asked if a blogger actually met Osho, they invariably do a cover up if they haven’t. Create a subterfuge of points that are not relevant to the direct question. It’s almost as if they are ashamed about not having met Osho. If this is the case it is a sorry affair, because there is nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing to hide. One person can sit with an enlightened man for years and remain unchanged, another can merely receive a glance from the master, hear a certain word, look at a photograph of the master and their life can be changed for ever in a positive direction. What is important is how earnest your enquiry is in relation to truth. All else is superfluous. Exhibiting apparently spiritual behaviour, reading the right books, attending satsangs etc., will do nothing for you unless your heart and mind are in the right constellation.
On the other hand, if you are in the right space, life can be the greatest bestower of spiritual blessings. Watching a glorious sunset, sharing a joke with a friend, making love, the light in a baby’s eyes, an animal friend etc. can all illuminate our lives beyond our wildest imagining… if we are open to it. Zen is full of stories about simple daily events taking on the most profound significance. The bottom falls out of an old nun’s wooden bucket and bingo she hits the jackpot. A frog jumps into a pond, plop, and you got it. It’s all good news, because we do not need to limit ourselves to being in close physical proximity to a guru to find the truth. Life is the supreme guru, and a most generous one at that.
I began this wee essay with Nisargadatta and I will finish it with some of his wise words.
‘Living near’ does not mean breathing the same air. It means trusting and obeying, not letting the good intentions of the teacher go to waste. Have your guru always in your heart and remember his instructions…this is real abidance with the true. Physical proximity is least important. Make your entire life an expression of your faith and love for your teacher…this is real dwelling with the Guru.