The Open Door: Darshan in Poona One

Swami Deva Ashoka, in 1977,  wrote the introduction to the darshan diary ‘The Open Door’. He perceptively discusses the two Osho’s he perceived, the one who spoke in discourse and the other, in darshan.


Am I the only one who sees that there are two Osho’s?  At least two, as different one from the other as Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Superman and Clark Kent. Doesn’t anybody else see that?

There is the Osho who gives discourses and the Osho who gives darshans. The Osho who gives discourses was majestic, Olympian, an eagle in flight, a bard whose poetry never ceases to amaze me. In contrast, the Osho who gives darshans is a kind of waddling duck, a nice old guy, a jolly super-daddy who pats you on the head and says “very good” and gives suggestions which, in the light of what he says in lecture, are nonsense. Someone once asked Osho, “When you say ‘very good’, do you really mean very good or do you mean ‘bullshit’?! And Osho smiled enigmatically at the questioner and said, “Very good!”:

I am, and have always been, in rapturous love with Osho’s words. I hear every lecture at least twice, as part of my work: the first time in discourse, the second time when I write my summary – and then I go over it once again, when I index and cross-reference its contents. Can there be anyone else who listens to Osho as much as I do? And, I never get tired of it. Even when Osho gives what I think of as his ‘yoga nidra’ lectures, the lectures in which he drones on and on and throws in every irrelevant spiritual and esoteric fact you can think of (so that he might as well be reading us the Ipswich telephone directory for all it matters) – even then I love it. But darshan? Darshan is something else.

I feel totally lost in darshan. I can’t make heads or tails of it. I haven’t a clue. I go, and suddenly I am again confronted by the stomach-sickening fact that I am not happy and that being happy is what it’s all about. I go to darshan and the yearning in me is never satisfied; if anything, it grows stronger. Then darshan ends, Osho leaves, and immediately there are peals of delighted laughter, gurglings of joy, rapturous embraces, and I walk out frustrated, lost, angry, because everybody seems so blissed out and I’m not.

That’s how I feel about darshan. And then how does it happen that I, of all people, am asked to write the introduction to a darshan diary? Before I get to that, I want to sum up how I’ve felt about darshan up to this point.

Osho once said, in discourse, “I enlighten you every morning in lecture and I unenlighten you every evening in darshan.”  Maybe he didn’t say quite that but that’s what it sounded like to me as I heard it via the filters of my own particular schizophrenia. And how can you reconcile the Bhagwan who, in the morning, tells us that there are no cures, that the only thing to do is be aware, with the Bhagwan who, in the evening, consoles people by saying things like, “Your headache or the pink spots before your eyes, or your depression or your tral-di-lah will be gone by Thursday, December the 29th.” Or commiserates and gives Miss Lonely-hearts type advice on how to get along with your spouse or ‘mate’. Or who says, for the umpteenth time, “What groups have you done? You would like to do a few groups?”, as though he were an Armenian rug peddler. (How many times have I heard him say, “Help my people there,” and “Will it be easy to pronounce?”)

A darshan diary is a curious form of literature. I don’t read them, I grope through them. I become a Peeping Tom, looking furtively for people I secretly love. Here they all are: tycoons and beggars, B-girls and mathematics professors, all baring their souls. I whirl the pages: oh, here’s whoozit’s, what did he say to Bhagwan? What was what’s-his-name’s name before he took sannyas? What did Bhagwan say to you-know-hoo, that French girl who works in Mariam Canteen and who’s got something about her that…? (I wish Maneesha would include an index of names so you could see at a glance who was in the book and who wasn’t – but maybe she figures that would de-mystify it all.) And the photographs. I like photographs of the kids most of all, you can see how fast they change. I love all these people. And it’s amazing how every one of them, even the people I can’t stand, become beautiful and worthwhile when sitting before Osho.

A darshan diary is a pageant, a festival. I am lucky to have seen the form of the darshan evolve over the years. I had my first darshan in Bombay; we sat together, just him and me in his room all alone without anybody else there, not even Laxmi; and he stroked my hand for what seemed about half an hour and asked me a few totally pointless questions. At Mount Abu, I recall, when I took leave of him, there was one other person in the room, a man – I can’t now remember who. Then, in the early days in Poona, there were maybe a dozen persons present, and it felt really strange to have to talk in front of so many people. Now here is the time when ashramites (mostly) bring him their emotional problems – the time this book is about; and so many people coming, and taking sannyas – a time when the groups are as large as sixty people.

I enjoyed this book. I read it slowly, unlike the way I usually read books. I read it without trying to learn anything, and so I probably learned a lot. It seems that when you drop trying to learn (I seem to be on the verge of it) you can dig the scenes stages in this book and relate to Osho as the convivial host of a courtly carnival. There is the scene where Meera, the Japanese translator, tells Osho that the swami who has just taken sannyas is planning to stay for another five days, then announces, after a quick huddle in Japanese, that he is planning to stay forever! Then, after further hurried consultations, she says he is leaving in five days – but that his heart will stay forever! Then there is Ekkehard, a German to whom Osho decides to give the same name. But how to spell it? No one in the vicinity is sure, so Osho has Ekkehard open his eyes and spell his name. “Double k?” exclaims Osho, “That is certainly wrong. There are two or three spellings, but that one I never heard. I will make up my own!” It is at times like a Marx Brothers movie – can you imagine any other master initiating a new disciple by telling him a shaggy dog story like, “Do you put your beard under the blanket at night or on top if it?”

Osho:  Your words are always so crystal-clear, but when I try to live them I am stuck in six feet of mud. I try and try and I fail and fail or think I do, until there is nothing left but something inside me that says “Osho Osho” . Is that what it’s about? Just giving up – is that what surrender is? It’s clear that I don’t know and that I shall probably never know.

A glimpse into this darshan diary is a glimpse into his world, a world of immense, unbelievable courage, and a truth so deep that it almost makes the ocean blush. For seven years now, even when I denied him, Osho has lighted my way. Where would I be, where would we all be, if it weren’t for Osho’s world and Osho’s light? If you already know that world and that light, this book can bring you closer; if you don’t know it, perhaps it can light your way to the open door.

Part of the Introduction to The Open Door (1.12. – 31.12.1977)


Deva Ashoka

Deva Ashoka (aka William Ross) was a psychotherapist for 20 years. Born in Vienna, Austria, his family left for the USA at the beginning of WW2. He was a filmmaker in New York, a marketing consultant in Italy, and later moved to London where he studied with R. D. Laing, Gerda Boyesen and Caron Kent. He started the Kaleidoscope personal growth center, led bio-energy and awareness groups all over Europe. He was with Osho in Mt. Abu and in early Pune days, and in 1978 came to live permanently at the ashram. In 1984 he moved from Rajneeshpuram to Seattle where he lived with Judy Ford until his death in 1993. He wrote several books, among them Words from the Masters: A Guide To The God Within, and The Wonderful Little Sex Book

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25 Responses to The Open Door: Darshan in Poona One

  1. frank says:

    “Am I the only one who sees that there are at least two Oshos, as different one from the other as Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Superman and Clark Kent. Doesn’t anybody else see that?”

    Jim Carrey?

  2. swamishanti says:

    Sometimes it is enjoyable to listen to or to read of people`s darshan experiences with Osho.
    Here is one that someone told me:
    “I came to sit in front of Osho, and asked him the meaning of my name (I had taken sannyas previously in London a couple of months before, where I had received the new name).

    I cannot remember what he said but he put his finger on my forehead and as he did so I recall leaving my body and floating higher and higher, until I was far above the Ashram. I looked down and could see myself sitting on Osho`s porch, with a group of other people. Where Osho sat there was just a very bright white light.”

    So come on, tell us your tales of your darshans and `pat from the seventies. (Or the eighties if you were lucky enough to have darshan with Osho on the Ranch).

    • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

      “So come on, tell us your tales of your darshans and `pat from the seventies. (Or the eighties if you were lucky enough to have darshan with Osho on the Ranch).” ( Swamishanti)

      Hi Swamishanti, you are not at all inviting. I simply love it when Lovers are showing up on board on this virtual space-shuttle viral-website, and not people who are up to entertain, ridiculing whatsoever, whomsover; be it with invented stories, be it with some gossip – less than second-hand.

      The only Lover I very much discovered here reading up to now is the late Deva Ashok himself and even though I didn´t meet him personally I can very well relate to what he´saying: be it when he talks about the atmosphere and the discourses/lectures, be it what he then describes with: “A Darshan Diary is a pageant, a festival.”

      That´s what is was, a very beautiful description and as well such an honest report of his state of being in that time.

      The late Deva Ashok and his later wife, Judy (?). left some other precious gems for everybody, who may be interested to be in awe of what he or they are about to share.

      And whatsoever ´gem´ you are in awe of is some precious gem in yourself, kind of natural law of the realms of consciousness. Basics….


  3. Kavita says:

    Seems Deva Ashoka lived a gypsy life, not only geographically but also creatively!

    As per my understanding, based on my own experience & also reading & listening, there can’t be any constant for any human, without any exceptions, whether it is on the body/mind/being levels, all keep on transforming (probably using this word just for the sheer lack of any other word).

  4. shantam prem says:

    Maybe someone knows the idea why during some part of Pune 2 Darshan Diaries were stopped being published? The stock was sold @ 10 rupees per book during the festivals.

  5. Lokesh says:

    After the star-spangled sixties revolution, one of the most socially boring situations was to be trapped by someone who wanted to bombard you with their utterly amazing acid trip recollections. It became a cliché: ‘As boring as having to listen to someone’s acid trip stories.’ Time marches on.

    Now those acid trip stories have been replaced by some with their darshan experiences. Ashoka enquires, “Am I the only one who sees two Oshos?” Maybe. Maybe not, but it’s hardly interesting. Once upon a time, this was obviously seen as quite an original take on an Osho darshan, or why else print it as a preface to a darshan diary? Today, at least in my eyes, it all sounds a bit tired. Many on SN have had darshan experiences with Osho and I doubt they could be less interesting than Ashoka’s description of how he experienced events. In essence, it’s just another mind trip.

    I do not know about Poona 2 or The Ranch, because I did not visit them. I do know about Poona 1, though. For many, including myself, a lot of the time it was about having apparently spiritual experiences…what happened during a meditation, at a discourse, at a darshan etc. There are myriad versions of this and that is because the ways of the mind are infinite. Viewed through the prism of the mind everyone has their unique perception of life.

    For years Osho talked about witnessing, with an emphasis on the witness. Thing is, you are not the witness or else how on earth could one be aware that they are witnessing? You are not what you think you are. One of the spiritual path’s greatest pitfalls is to become mired in certain concepts. That is, becoming identified with a fixed idea of what is reality.

    Back then it was all about having spiritual experiences…in Ashoka’s case, the more wacky the better, or so it appears to me. If you were able to move on from that stage you began thinking, “Hold on a minute, who is it that is entertaining these apparently spiritual experiences?” Sounds simple, but if you go there it is not nearly as easy as it sounds to look into, let alone abide in that state, because it will be the death of ‘you’.

    Osho did a fantastic job of getting the door open on this level. He was also dealing with a lot of people and unable to really work intimately with very many individuals. One of the drawbacks of the way he went about things is that he made it all look a bit too easy. It is not. Telling us we were Gods and Goddesses and even Buddhas went to our heads, and I dare say our hearts also.

    Osho was telling the truth, because that is how he saw us. That is a very different thing from us actually being aware of such a reality. Be honest, could you stand up in front of a congregation and declare your Buddhahood? I could…but I would be telling a lie, because I have not realised Buddhahood. I am just like you…doing my best, while stumbling in the darkness, with the occasional glimpse of the light.

    I was walking along the beach today with my wife. I asked her, “How is it that after all these years we are still talking about Osho?”
    She replied, “Because we were young and privileged enough to spend time around Osho, a very enlightened man.”

    She is right. The thing is not to get stuck back there, but use what we learned from Osho to get to a higher level of being on the journey back home to who we really are, and who we always have been, but not fully realised yet.

    That is why I have very little interest in the communal mindset that existed back in the days of publishing darshan diaries. They were fine in their time, but no longer where some of us are now, because we had the guts to keep moving, instead of getting hung up on replays of our dreams in all our fucking yesterdays.

    • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

      Two Lovers –
      walking their honest talk on a beautiful beach – November, 2017 -
      and the one who speaks then, and gives it a send off –
      and what an unexpected gift is that.

      And thank you for this, Lokesh


      late Deva Ashok,
      some fourty years ago,
      has not been on a wacky trip whatsoever in my eyes,
      when he wrote these lines re-printed here;
      he also went further, as long and as far as it was/ is comprehensable for us – died in 1993 in Seattle – a Friend , I ´d say

      • Lokesh says:

        Hi Madhu, my response is to a piece of writing. I did not know Ashoka, but I am sure that he was a good man. The opening sentence of the article just put me off. I find it completely naff. Perhaps I would have looked at it differently were I reading it when the darshan diary came out all those years ago.

        I am not a great fan of all our yesterdays type scenarios. I find it a bit lame to relate to sannyasin topics that are so rooted in the past. Being a sannyasin has always been about the here and now. There is plenty to debate, chat about, put our tuppence worth in about much more current issues in the sannyasin community.

        When I see a book about Laxmi I groan inwardly. I knew her when she was alive and do not feel inclined to read her story. Although she was a somebody on the sannyas scene she was also, when it all boils down to it, just another fish in the tank.

        I’ll give an example of what I am talking about. Two people close to me just returned from a sannyasin group intensive, run entirely by sannyasins. They found the group to be transformative. The group employed various devices to allow the individual to expose themselves, including devices created by Osho. While listening to our friends talk about their experiences my wife commented, “Isn’t it wonderful that people are still gettting so much out of devices that Osho created?” I had to agree.

        I am interested in what is current in the world of sannyas. I am not very interested in what happened decades ago in Poona One. Yes, I will comment on such things if I feel moved to do so and share some of my ideas about events long gone, but it is not a topic close to my heart. Going over events that happened decades ago, say in Poona One, is for me the antithesis of what sannyas represents.

        • frank says:

          (ˌhæɡɪˈɒɡrəfɪ )
          noun plural -phies

          1. the writing of the lives of the saints
          2. biography of the saints
          3. any biography that idealizes or idolizes its subject

    • satchit says:

      ” “I was walking along the beach today with my wife. I asked her, “How is it that after all these years we are still talking about Osho?”

      “Because we had the guts to keep moving.”"

      The guts to keep on moving, but still talking about Osho after all these years. Is it not a bit contradictory, Lokesh?

    • Parmartha says:

      Thanks for the post, Lokesh. You worked at it!

      • Lokesh says:

        PM, Autumn on Ibiza. Working on the land with a bonfire as the sun goes down. Writing on SN in this case is a wee treat after a hard day’s graft.

  6. swamishanti says:

    In previous times India provided us with a plentiful bounty of precious gems and stones and these ended up proudly displayed in our ornaments, swords and jewellery.

    Nowadays India always offers us a plethora of mystics with little bodies and big heads, who we turn to to show us their ways of discovering our eternal fountains of truth and indestructable nature.

    The darshan-diaries give us a more intimate look at Osho , as well as introducing us to many Sanskrit words and Osho’s knowledge of the meaning of those words. He did spend some time teaching at a Sanskrit college at some point , did he not?

    • satchit says:

      It is a lovingly written introduction to a darshan diary.
      But to say there are “two Oshos” is a bit exaggerated.
      We all act differently, dependent of the context we are in.
      No need to be enlightened for this.

      • frank says:

        To come back to what happens when people, enlightened or otherwise, interact (the word gives it away) with each other (tieing in previous ideas about healers as actors). Here`s the thing:

        Acting/drama deals in fiction but this is not necessarily the same as falsehood or lying. Acting/drama is valued for the emotional and experiential engagement it can generate, for its power in the experiential realm. It can make you experience things more intensely, make you see the world differently, shed new light on old problems.

        In a broad sense, it can make you feel better when you feel bad. A good actor can do this: indeed, the ability to alter people’s feelings is what ‘good’ means in acting terms.

        Thus, what must a good spiritual healer/catalyst of any sort do?

        • preetam says:

          Not much…for me, a distinction of ‘good’ here does not really fit. If truth found him and took his hands – then this inspiration maybe is able to help others to understand our mysterium.

  7. Parmartha says:

    Madhu writes:
    “Deva Ashok, some forty years ago, has not been on a wacky trip whatsoever in my eyes.”

    Yes, Madhu, I agree. Ashok lived well, and with psychological insight.

    His preface in 1977 was accepted with changes by the ‘official’ publications team, but it was pretty close, I am sure, to rejection. He made a contribution, continued ‘thinking’ when actually thinking itself sometimes seemed to be frowned on.

  8. Prem says:

    Deva Ashok sounds like the intellectual type who cannot understand anything that doesn’t get filtered through his mind.

    So he doesn’t “get” darshan Osho, who is loving and down to earth.
    He only likes the pulpit Osho, and he especially likes his theories and words.

    He is bored during darshan.

    But somehow, somehow… Deva Ashok does not see that the problem lies with him.
    Doesn’t see that because he is “in the mind”, he is missing.

    No, the problem is Osho. There are two Oshos, one that Ashok likes, and one that Ashok doesn’t like.

    It is never Ashok that is somehow missing something. Not even when countless other sannyasins come out of darshan “blissed out”, not even then does Ashok question: “maybe there is something wrong with me. Maybe I am too much in the mind.”

    The human ego is so funny.
    It’s always someone’s else’s fault.

    • shantam prem says:

      Prem, this post of yours is quite intellectual, maybe more mind than the late Swami Deva Ashoka´s version.

      Honest versions even from head are million times more authentic than bogus bullshit of so-called heart.

      Surely human ego is very funny, Swamis and Mas and ex-Swamis and ex -mammis too are human. Are not they?
      Maybe they are not human but New Man, New Woman!

    • frank says:

      That`s the trouble with egos and minds:
      It’s always someone else that`s got one!

  9. shantam prem says:

    Lokesh, let me ask you one question based on your paragraph:
    “Two people close to me just returned from a sannyasin group intensive, run entirely by sannyasins. They found the group to be transformative. The group employed various devices to allow the individual to expose themselves, including devices created by Osho. While listening to our friends talk about their experiences my wife commented, “Isn’t it wonderful that people are still gettting so much out of devices that Osho created?” I had to agree.”

    My question is when few others can create Sannyas group intensive, why not you? Do these people have degree or higher calling that you’re lacking?

    • Lokesh says:

      Shantam, in Poona 1 I was an individual therapist. I had done so many groups I was, quite naturally, curious to play the therapist role. I eventually made it. It was not easy, but fortunately I had some friends in high places who put in a good word for me, which swung the scales in my favour against those who stood in my way.

      For the first time in my life I could honestly say that I had found my vocation and was fulfilled by my role. I loved my work, which was more than just the therapy I was practising. I had found a platform to share from on a professional level. Then disaster struck in the form of a terrible illness. I had to devote all my personal energy to staying alive. It took two years to dig myself out of that hellish hole, by which time I had lost contact with my work and my life went in a new direction.

      I suppose I could have worked to get back to my work, but I did not. It is a source of some small regret, but there in no sense in crying over spilled milk. Milk another cow.

      Today my energies are focused closer to home. I enjoy what I have. Each day is precious. Yes, I do believe I have something to share. How I share that is in my day-to-day life and simple social interaction with the people I happen to meet. We think we do things in life but really things just happen. Perhaps a situation will arise wherein I can take it a step further. I leave that up to fate. If an opening appears I will be open to it. If not, that is also fine.

      In general. I see that it is very human to think that you are more important than you are in the greater scheme of things. Fortunately, I live in a place where there is little in the way of light pollution. I often go outside at night, look up and see the Milky Way. For me, that is a good reminder of where I stand in the 3D universe. I thank my lucky stars for that vast expanse that provides a vision that keeps things in a healthy perspective.

      • shantam prem says:

        This is one cordial answer, mirroring honesty; a rare commodity when head is full with scriptures.
        Thanks, Lokesh.

      • satchit says:

        “Shantam, in Poona 1 I was an individual therapist. I had done so many groups I was, quite naturally, curious to play the therapist role. I eventually made it. It was not easy, but fortunately I had some friends in high places who put in a good word for me, which swung the scales in my favour against those who stood in my way.”

        I did not know they did individual therapy in Poona 1, thought they did only groups. What was is it – counselling?

        I guess it was not easy because you had no psychological education. I heard there were sannyasins in madhouses, is that so?