Up until now, I was satisfied with the last chapter in ‘The Very Best and Worst Of Sannyas News’, although I was left with the nagging thought that it did not end the book with a big enough bang. This morning I awoke at five o’clock, feeling inspired to write an article, which will form the final chapter and be inserted into the book at a later date.
THE FINAL CHAPTER
“Spread the word I’m thinking of
Have you heard the word is love?”
“One can travel outside of the body; one can practise astral projection and know oneself to be apart from the physical body.”
It was March 1977 in Goa. I was friends with Arihanta, the English sannyasin who ran the Prem Kutira Meditation Centre in Chapora. Arihanta wanted to take a break from his duties as centre leader and travel with his wife and young daughter up to Pune to see Osho. He asked me and my partner of the time, Ritambhara Prem, if I would like to take over the running of the centre for three months. I’d only been a sannyasin for two years and I was knocked out to be offered such a prestigious job, even though it involved milking a herd of goats, something I had no experience in. Fortunately, Ritambhara took care of that aspect of our new duties.
Arihanta had been very influential in encouraging me to go to Pune to take sannyas in 1975. I loved the man. He embodied all that was wild and fun about the sannyasin movement in the early days. He meditated a lot, he smoked a lot of hashish in his chillum, he danced a lot and he was a musician, who later went on the be the front man of a sannyasin rock band called ‘Bhagwan’s Bauls’. Arihanta could sing some Beatles songs better than the Beatles did. His favourite Lennon /McCartneycomposition was ‘I Saw Her Standing There’. He could deliver that song like a runaway freight train thundering along the tracks. ‘Well, my heart went “boom”‘ and so did mine, when I sang along with Arihanta on his porch in true exuberant rock and roll style.
About a month into our tenure of Prem Kutira, Ritambhara and I returned to the meditation centre after a few hours spent dancing down at an Anjuna Beach full moon party. The garden was illuminated by silver moonbeams and, agitated by the spectral light, monkeys screeched from the palm trees. The simian community suddenly fell silent and boom, something astonishing happened. We walked into Osho’s energy field. The master was in the garden. We fell to our knees and namasted. Osho used an exotic perfumed balm. Both us us could smell it. His presence remained in the garden for around five minutes. The whole place had taken on an otherworldly glow. And then he was gone.
Ritambhara and I remained silent until we began discussing what we had both experienced. We heard, some months later, that Osho had spoken about his astral travels, and how he would eat a plate of chapattis to ground himself when he returned to the body after one of his inter-dimensional journeys.
Arihanta and his family came back from Pune and, of course, one of the first things we talked with him about was Osho’s nocturnal visit. Upon hearing about our experience, Arihanta gave a knowing chuckle and said, “Bhagwan often pops in here, during the night. What you just described has happened to me on several occasions.”
A few days later, it was after midnight and eight people, including myself and Ritambhara, were sitting on Arihanta’s porch singing…you’ve guessed it…Beatles songs. We were in the midst of singing ‘The Word’ from the ‘Rubber Soul’ album. “Say the word and you’ll be free”…All of a sudden, Arihanta stopped playing his acoustic guitar and laid his battered twelve-stringed Rickenbacker aside. Osho had shown up for a visit. Everyone present could feel the master’s presence. Everyone raised their hands prayer-like in front of their face. This time, Osho remained with us for a little longer. The feeling of love in the atmosphere was almost overwhelming. All of us entered into a spontaneous state of deep meditation. After the master had departed for destinations unknown, we sat around for some time in complete silence. When people left, they said nothing. Just a quick namaste, and that was it.
As Mark Twain so rightly said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” The story I have just recounted is true. Reflecting on it, I cannot but agree with Osho when he said, “Life is not a problem to be solved, it is a mystery to be lived.”