Poona One 1974 – 1981
“This commune is not an ordinary commune. This is an experiment to
provoke god. You may not be aware of what is going to happen. You
may be aware only of your problems – you may have come to me only
to solve your problems. That is secondary; I am cooking up something
else! I am trying to create a space where god can descend more
and more.” (Sannyas, 1978:1, p. 20)
4.0 Koregaon Park, Poona
Osho (aka Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) made his move from Bombay to Poona on March 21, 1974, a date which coincided with the 21st anniversary of his Enlightenment. The ashram he founded in the lush greenery of suburban Koregaon Park was to expand during the 1970s into a spiritual growth centre for Westerners as well as Indians. They arrived in their thousands to have a look at it all and some chose to stay with their master ‘forever’.
In the mornings in Buddha Hall he spoke alternate months in Hindi and English introducing his listeners to most Eastern religious paths and Western philosophy in a way which hadn’t happened before anywhere on this planet. And in the evenings in Chuang Tzu Auditorium, sannyasins and visitors in darshan with their master could experience spaces of consciousness beyond the transmission of words. As if this wasn’t enough, in the daytime a variety of active meditations were offered not to mention the array of therapy groups led by therapists in the forefront of the humanistic psychology movement from centers in London and the US. They had chosen to use their skills in an atmosphere where their work became an essential prerequisite to the participants’ spiritual growth.
In this energy field of a master a communal environment was created for individuals to fulfil their need for insight into themselves and their social – including sexual – interaction with their fellow travellers. To those who didn’t have the opportunity, courage or knowing of what was happening to join the flood in those days, an impressive amount of writers have felt inclined to express how they experienced being part of an experiment breaking down the borders of a confined mind. And again and again the reader will be reminded of the inadequacy of words in these writers’ attempt to express the inexpressible.
A few comments on the publishing of his work from Poona and onwards, an issue which will be dealt with at large in the subsequent text. Few, if any, libraries or collectors worldwide will have acquired a full set of Osho’s discourses from Poona One, in English (1.222 discourses published in 128 volumes) and in Hindi (144 volumes). Each hardbound volume with its exquisite design of font and illustrations is by now a collectors’ item and their limited printing run of 5000 copies only are making them increasingly difficult to get hold of on the market. But of course, they are all available in digital format too.
Darshan diaries (64 volumes) are mostly in album format with intimate photos from the evening meetings between master and disciples. Due to the discontinuity and prioritizing caused by Osho’s years in Oregon some were never published in print but made available digitally, others happened to be printed but never made it to the bindery and are accordingly extremely rare to find in paper format.
Books on Osho and his work started to appear from the mid-1970s, with the narratives by Satya Bharti, Divya and Amitabh, all around 1980, as the most notable contemporary accounts. The landmark volume remains ‘The Sound of Running Water’ (1980) designed by Yatri and others who created a monumental tome of Osho’s early days in Koregaon Park until 1978. If you don’t believe me, do have a look yourself: a flawless copy may be bought at E-Bay for $1,500 only (2018). Osho Lao Tzu Library in Poona will on their shelves stock all published titles by Osho including translations, and Osho International Foundation has at present 2.700 publishing contracts in 48 languages worldwide, excluding 13 Indian languages (2015).
Osho writes on India’s spiritual climate
“India has something tremendously valuable: It has the longest , deepest search for truth. Many Buddhas have walked on his land, under these trees; the very earth has become sacred. To be here is totally different than to be anywhere else, and what I am trying to bring you is more easily possible here than anywhere else. India has fallen from its peaks. It is no longer in its past glory. It is one of the ugliest spots now on the earth, but still, because a Gautam Buddha walked, and a Mahavir and a Krishna, and millions of others…
No other country can claim this. Jesus is very alone in Jerusalem; Mohammed is very, very alone in the Arabian countries; Lao Tzu has a very small company, Chuang Tzu and a few others. They tried hard to create something. But India has the longest spiritual vibe: For at least 5,000 years the search has been deepening, and still the waters are flowing. Indians themselves have forgotten about them. In fact, they are no longer interested in their own heritage. They are no longer interested in those living waters; they have deserted them. But for whomsoever wants to seek and search and be, India still provides the best climate – spiritual climate.” The Secret of Secrets (1983). Vol.2, Ch.4.
Bernard Levin writes in ‘The Times’ three features on the ashram in Poona. Excerpt:
“I have described the scene as the audience waits for Rajneesh to appear and begin his daily discourse. It now falls to me to do the same for the discourse itself. This is a much more difficult task; for although I can convey something of his technique as a speaker, and of course quote his words, the astonishing effect it has – an effect which seems to bathe the hearer in a refulgent glow of wisdom and love – is something which it is easier to experience than to describe.
His voice is low, smooth and exceptionally beautiful; he has a habit of lingering on any final consonant, not just an s. His English is surprisingly idiomatic and syntactically almost, though not quite, perfect. His gestures are hypnotically graceful and eloquent; he has extraordinary long fingers, and he uses his hands, particularly the left, in an endless variety of expressive forms. At a distance, he looks far older than his 48 years; this is the effect of the patriarchal beard and hair, but from a close viewpoint, it is clear that his face is unlined, his eyes penetrating and clear.
What he says is couched in language of great power and fluency; he is one of the most remarkable orators I have ever heard, though there is no hint of demagogy in his style, and no hortatory or pedagogic feeling about the content of what he says. He uses quotations and references very freely (these seem to be written down, as are some of the jokes, but they constitute the only notes he uses); in the three discourses I heard, on consecutive days, he quoted Bertrand Russel, William James, Norbert Wiener, e.e.cummings, Nietzsche, Whitman, and others.”
(An extraordinary journey to the interior / Bernard Levin. The Times, London, 09.04.1980. See also Appendix)
4.1 Moving to Poona
In the state of Maharashtra the harbour of Bombay has for centuries been the gateway to India. For many Westerners the coastline of Bombay was their first glimpse of the vast Indian continent, and through Bombay goods, people and ideas have been exchanged between East and West. No wonder in the last century Bombay has developed into the leading Indian metropolis for the intelligentsia and the media industry. Climbing up the Deccan plateau from Bombay, the road in the 1970s took many turns and curves before it made it to the city of Poona. Situated at an altitude of 1.800 feet the city was earlier used as a somewhat cooler resort during the hot season in Bombay, and it has served as a military stronghold for British as well as Indian military. In the lush greenery of Koregaon Park outside the city centre, with its wide and tree-lined streets and close to the Mutha river, Osho’s commune has had its premises since 1974.
(Note: Poona has now changed its name back to former Pune. The word Pune is derived from ‘Punya’ which means sacred in the local Marathi language)
Udgita writes in her thesis on India
“This country has never been interested in an objective research: here the goal has always been not the knowledge of otherness, but the knowledge of oneself. This is perhaps the only country that has been deeply interested only in the evolution of awareness. India has had a single purpose, a single goal: developing the awareness of man to the point where he meets the divine; bringing the human closer to the divine…
India is not a stretch of land, nor a political entity, not a part of a sequence of historical events. It is not a crazy pursuit of money, power and prestige. India is an aspiration, the longing to attain truth – the truth that dwells in each throb of ours, that lies dormant under the level of our awareness, that belongs to us, but has been forgotten by us. Remembering it, claiming it: that is what India is about.” (Ceccato 2014, pp. 12,15)
(Note: On the spirituality of India see also compilation with Osho’s understanding: India My Love. Fragments of a Golden Past (1997))
Early account of Poona
“A local hill station with its cool climate was much sought for by the British in Bombay during the hot season. As early as 1832 we have some impressions of the leisurely laid-back life of the British dwellers in Poona made by a French botanist-traveller Victor Jacquemont when he arrived there in 1832. Incurious about Indian habits and traditions their daily past time pleasures seem to include the founding of a public library and extensive reading of newspapers: “They go out riding and driving, breakfast, dine, dress, shave and undress, or meet on committees for settling the affairs of a public library where I have never seen anybody but myself. They sleep, sleep a great deal and snore hard, digest as best as they can, sin, no doubt, as much as they can and read their newspapers from Bombay, and that is their whole life.” (Trevelyan 1987, p. 140)
“Horniman spent four days in Bombay, before travelling with Keily, by overnight train via Kalyan, to Poona, where he visited the market and the ‘native part’ of the town, which he described as being ‘very extensive and the buildings very old and primitive.’ An impression which manifestly differed from his view of the ‘fashionable part of town’, which was home to the European fraternity and consisted of, in his words, ‘splendid residences, all having grand entrances and fine gardens’ (Crystal Palace Times, 17.05.1885:5. Excerpt in: Oriental Visions / Nicky Levell. 2000, p. 119)
Location and importance
“The city proper extends along the Mutha river for about 1 3/4 miles inland and lies on the confluence of two small rivers, the Mutha and Mula, on the western margin of the Deccan plateau… Poona has a pleasant climate during the monsoon months, and many Bombay residents go there for a change during this time. It was the capital of the Mahrattas at the time of the Peshwas and now it is a town of considerable commercial and educational importance.” (Walter 1954, p. 27)
Arun writes on Poona
“During the seventeenth century, Pune was the main seat of the Peshwas of the great Mahratha Empire, and was one of the power centres of Hindustan, lasting almost a century, before the British invaded this land of the proud. To this day, Pune sings the glories of its warriors and rulers who inhabited it. But in 1974, it received a new guest, who was unlike all its former residents, and who changed its course forever, establishing the city as one of the major spiritual centres of the world.
Nobody knows why Bhagwan chose to stay in Pune and establish his first ashram there. Some say it was due to Meher Baba, an enlightened mystic, having made Pune his spiritual abode, and leaving behind an atmosphere of his presence and energy. But whatever the reason, it all started with one house, Lao Tzu House, which was to be Bhagwan’s new residence and the seed of the future ashram. It had been purchased from a maharaja and given to Bhagwan by Ma Mukta, a Greek disciple who was the heiress of a rich ship merchant in Greece.” (Arun 2017, p. 105)
(Note: The samadhi of Meher Baba is located in Poona)
“Pune came into favour with the British because of its mild climate (it is almost 600 metres above sea level) and because it is only a four hour train ride from Mumbai. A vast section of the city, which I could see from the rickshaw when I went shopping on M.G. Road, was taken up by a military facility, an area called ‘Camp’, also a legacy from earlier days. Pune is an industrial city but it is also famous for its technical institutions, medical facilities and universities. Pune, the name means ‘City of Virtue’, had previously known the presence of another master, Meher Baba, a silent Parsee, and would also become he home of the Iyengar Yoga Institute.” (Punya 2015, p. 26)
Madhuri in her ‘The Poona Poems’
“Poona is a fecund, humid, crowded metropolis on the Deccan Plateau about 160 km southeast of Bombay (now Mumbai. Poona itself is now spelt Pune, but I have left it as-is because I cannot help pronouncing the other way as ‘Pewn’!) The city was a military garrison during the British Raj and has wide streets, roundabouts, and plenty of trees. Our ashram was (and still is) a walled garden – filled with flowering, very tall trees; benches in leafy hideaways; and studded with old mansions we had renovated as living quarters and offices, meditation and therapy rooms, for an ever growing number of seekers from all over the world. It was bursting at the seams, and we with it – bursting with joy and life, youth and adventure… an adventure of the Inner.” (Madhuri 2017. Introduction)
Moving to Poona 1974
“On the anniversary of his enlightenment day, March 21st, Osho moved to Poona, a hill station on the other side of the Ghats which ran down the west coast of India. Poona had been one of the main military settlements of the British Raj because of its strategic location and a much cooler and less humid climate than Bombay. It was therefore much more comfortable to live in. Two houses had been bought in a wealthy district called Koregaon Park and Osho was setting up residence there. We were a bit taken aback. What about the new commune we were supposedly building?” (Veena 2012, p. 48)
Sam writes from 1975
“What a world it was for lovers, Koregaon Park. I’ve not described that properly, the spell of Osho’s Poona – the enchanted wood, the ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ quality to it…
In those days Koregaon Park was still separate from the town itself, still sleepy; backing up against the river on one side, and open fields on another, it was almost in the country. Once famous among all the Raj hill-stations and the resort to which Bombay high society moved in April and May to get away from the stifling heat of the pre-monsoon, it had sunk into neglect and been all but abandoned since the British left in 47. When we first got there the whole place had this overgrown, sequestered quality. It was like Sleeping Beauty. The banyans with which the narrow lanes had originally been planted had grown enormous over the years; in many places they met and joined overhead, letting through only isolated shafts of light. Hanging roots had re-rooted themselves and the bougainvillea which grew everywhere climbed up them into the trees – higher and higher until it reached the sunlight and flowered, purple, amber, vermilion, as though it were the banyans themselves which were blossoming. There was hardly anyone around. Just the occasional Indian slowly chattering by on his ancient bicycle, through the heat and science. Many of the old mansions had been boarded up for years and looked after by only a few shuffling servants. Padlocked rusty gates (the padlock itself an outlandishly huge Indian thing, already out of a fairy story) through which you could catch a glimpse of pillars, of sweeping verandas, of defunct fountains and broken arbours, lost in the depths of the greenery. Koregaon Park was the perfect set for a romantic comedy.” (Sam 1997, p. 71)
“Living in Pune was also very pleasant. It was a city of hills, known as a command centre for the Indian military, and a place for spending healthy vacations far from the hell of Mumbai… Nothing remains of that relaxed, easy-going, idyllic little city filled with gently decaying English villas and elegant parks full of trees. In a way, I guess I was lucky. Pune in the 1970s still reflected the old India with its lovable traditions and local customs. We used to travel around on bicycles, enjoying streets that were relatively free from traffic. Most of the time, we were relaxed with the Indian population and they were easy with us. Scores of parrots and other colourful birds would chatter in the trees around us, enjoying a healthy, uncontaminated atmosphere.” (Rosciano 2013, p. 103)
Next to its pleasant climate Poona had a historic and spiritual past associated with mystics and politicians, most recently Meher Baba, and Gandhi who spent some time in jail in Poona; once in hospital there he was visited by Nehru who spent a week in Poona. The Poona Pact in 1934 ended Gandhi’s fast and he stayed in Poona to recover. During one of Nehru’s many imprisonments his daughter Indira went to school in Poona. (Nehru 1949)
Poona was on the map by the early twentieth century in the fight for freedom from the British rulers to make them quit India. A nationalist movement founded by ‘Bal Gangadhar Tilak’, a lawyer and newspaper editor, strongly opposed any cooperation with the British administration and demanded that the British government give immediate self-government to India. Their strategy was ‘swadeshi’ based on boycott of British goods in favour of Indian goods, support of Indian education and religion and the wearing of the national dress. All of these issues were to be propagated all over India when Gandhi soon were promoting the very same strategy now transformed into his political vision of ‘swaraj’ (self rule).
Earlier search for property in Bombay
“My sannyasins have been looking for a beautiful house for me. Sixteen years ago they were also looking for a beautiful house, and I had chosen a house. Everything was settled, but there was some legal difficulties. The man had not all the necessary papers in his possession, so we had to wait. But the man died. His son was not interested in selling the house. I moved to Poona.” The Rajneesh Upanishad (1986). Chapter 4, p. 67.
Before moving to Poona early in 1974 Osho used to visit Poona once or twice a year after 1964 to deliver his discourses, always staying in the house of Sohan Baphana.
“Fortunately, after that [Lecture August 1964 in Sanghvi Tiffin Factory] Osho visited Pune quite often and I did not miss a single opportunity to meet him. A few friends in Pune had already accepted Osho as their spiritual master. Ramlalji Pungaliya, Mr & Mrs Bafna, P.K. Sanghvi and his brother B.K. Sanghvi, Dr. H.N. Phadnis and a few others took keen interest in inviting Osho to Pune. Osho’s second discourse was arranged in Vijayanand theatre and the third one in Vasant talkies in Pune. I still vividly remember the third discourse held at Vasant talkies because it again had a great impact on me… Osho was regularly visiting Pune till 1970. In the beginning his discourses were arranged at different places but towards the end they were being held at one place, Hind Vijay Theatre… On Pungaliyaji’s request, one woman volunteered to sing a melodious devotional song (bhajan)- After this, Pungaliyaji ensured that every discourse of Osho was preceded by a devotional song.” (Niranjan 2012, pp. 29,30,85)
(Note: The singing of devotional songs before discourse was to be continued when Osho returned to Bombay after World Tour in 1986)
Arun on Manik Bafna and Osho in Poona before 1974
“He said that lunch would be ready at one o’clock, and I was free to finish my work before going there for lunch. He gave me his house address, and said it was in a place called Sadal Baba. I told him I had nothing to do before lunch, so he invited me to go there with him in the car, which I did. When we arrived, Sohan ma had already prepared a Gujarati feast. Before the Pune ashram was established, Osho used to stay at their house during his Pune visits. Sohan ma had the good fortune of serving him many times. Osho had written her many letters, and so her house was filled with his fragrance. The whole place felt like a temple. I have experienced that in a place where Osho has stayed, even for one night, there is a special energy which remains. It continues to throb, creating a mini buddhafield. And all those who cooked for Osho had magic in their hands. Whatever they touched, tasted divine.
At Bafna jee’s house I was served a variety of delicious foods, and I ate to my delight. I hadn’t eaten properly for months, and I gorged on the food shamelessly. After lunch, we talked for a while, and Sohan ma showed me the hundreds of letters Bhagwan had written to her and the gifts given by him. She also told me detailed stories of the times when Bhagwan stayed at her house. When we were finished, my hosts showed me a room where I could have rest. I woke up refreshed, had a wonderful cup of tea, and walked back to the ashram for Kundalini meditation in the evening.” (Arun 2017, p. 145)
He finally moved to Poona on March 21st 1974, on the exact day 21 years after his enlightenment on 21.03.1953. (Bharti 2007, p. 276).
His early lecturing in Poona before he settled in his new ashram is reported in ‘Sannyas’ magazine 1972
“The Poona Lectures.
Bhagwan Shree sat on the platform of the open ground lecturing under a heavily shaded light. His features were barely visible, and he was surrounded by total blackness. In the dark, a crowd of about 10.000 sat listening to him talk on the eighth chapter of the “Bhagwad Gita,” on the eternal reality. Not even the moon was out. He was the only light in the total darkness.”
Such was the scene of ten days of talks Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh gave in Poona from November 25 to December 5, 1971. The national emergency had just broken out in India. Nightly, there were sirens, air raids, total blackouts. But still, when Bhagwan Shree speaks in public, there is nary a soul who would miss the opportunity to hear him.
Even in the total blackout, large crowds were there to hear him – approximately 10.000. Indians and foreign visitors alike. The open grounds were filled to capacity. Some nights there was not even the moonlight, but somehow cars drove to the grounds on the roads, inching along, people walking long distances, and all who were determined managed to find their way to Bhagwan Shree. (In India, people are not very easily discouraged by adversities and manage to do what they have to do even in the most difficult circumstances).
Poona is a popular university town about 120 miles from Bombay. Approximately once a year Bhagwan Shree is invited there to lecture. Each time he gives a series of talks, hundreds of people come to him to be initiated into Sannyas. This time, in Poona, about 300 persons became sannyasins, bringing the total number now initiated to about 1.500.
In the morning, Bhagwan led meditation on the grounds and introduced new techniques. Meditation was conducted in the following fashion:… [here follows kirtan, dancing and the rubbing of the third eye center Ajna Chakra]. (Sannyas, 1972:2, p. 27)
Ageh Bharti recalls from the 1960s
“During Jabalpur days, He was known as Acharya Shri Rajneesh, but in my poems (published in ‘Yukrand’ magazine) I went on addressing Him as Bhagwan.
Many lovers started to criticize and condemn me. Many letters were received in which they wrote that I was going against the teachings of Acharya Shri and that I wanted to make people worship Him. A young man from Bombay used to get very angry. In his letters, he almost threatened to kill me if I called Him Bhagwan again. Another Osho devout from Vadodara had serious objection to this form of glorification…
Lastly, one day I enquired Osho, ‘I am being opposed by lovers continuously. Am I committing a mistake by calling you Bhagwan?’
Osho observed, ‘You are doing the right thing. Let them oppose, you continue writing as you have been writing.’
Hearing this, I felt unburdened reverted to writing with greater punch and confidence.” (Bharti 2007, p. 44)
But it was not until May 1971 in Bombay at a time when his work was entering a new dimension, that the epithet Bhagwan (The Blessed One) was proposed by Chinmaya and accepted by Osho. This month was also the time when Osho for the first time publicly acknowledged his enlightenment. (See also section 2.2 in volume I / Jabalpur).
(Note: Relating to his name change and the honorific Bhagwan, the Sanskrit word Bhagwan may also be translated ‘the Exalted One’, in Arabic, Balauhar. Derived from this is the name Barlaam, who was canonized as martyr by the Roman Catholic Church in 1583).
Laxmi was looking for property in Poona while Osho was still living in Woodlands, Bombay. You may notice some inconsistencies in the various accounts on the correct sequence and numbering of the properties, but Laxmi may be the most reliable witness on this matter.
“However, the missions remained unsuccessful – something was always not right – until once more in Pune Laxmi and Mukta visited various sites in Koregaon Park, including one that was not on the list and not even for sale. As Laxmi told it, she was prompted to enter the garden and, standing under an almond tree by the side of the house, was hit by a falling almond. Moved by her intuition, she picked up the almond and joyfully declared to Mukta that the search was over. On returning to Bombay, Laxmi presented the almond to Osho, who took it into His hands and declared, “Laxmi, you have done well.” The building turned out to be No. 33 Koregaon Park. And lo and behold, it was soon purchased. On March 21, 1974, it became Osho’s new residence, and together with other adjacent properties saw the unfolding of His vision, which continues to this day.” (Chaitanya-proper-Sagar. Viha Connection, 2003:4)
The almond tree
“This almond tree is not just an almond tree; it is a Himalayan almond tree. It is a universe of glorious and powerful light streams – at least under the full moon it seemed that way to me.” (Divya 1980, p. 145)
Fig. 1. Sketch of ashram. (Sannyas, 1980:4)
set fra air skråt
Laxmi telling Maneesha
“Sitting in her room before darshan began one night, I asked Laxmi if she might tell us the story of how the Almond tree played a part in the choosing of this house as the new ashram, when Bhagwan moved from Bombay to Poona four years ago.
She’d looked at other properties, she explains, and then in her Laxmi-English cutely says, When coming happened (to Lao Tzu House, then 33 Koregaon Park), she strolled over to the Almond tree situated by what was then the entrance driveway. Standing under it an almond fell plonk onto her foot.
Now, Laxmi doesn’t seem the superstitious sort, yet something made her pick it up and it was brought back to Bombay and given to Bhagwan. He looked at it, she recounts, and said,
You like the place? – then put your energy there!
Laxmi felt “If the nut fell, then..” she grins and leaves the sentence incomplete, her hands uptuned as if it is self-evident!” (Maneesha. In: The Tongue-Tip Taste of Tao. A Darshan Diary. 1981, p. 267)
“The next morning amongst the properties visited and examined, Laxmi visited a mansion called Himalaya, in Koregaon Park. Built on one and a half acres of land the property included a large house and vast gardens. It drew Laxmi’s attention but she was informed so far it had not been offered for sale… Osho approved of beginning negotiations with the owner of the building. The owner was contacted. Laxmi found out the owner was a former maharaja who had attended Osho’s meditation camps at Mt Abu. Soon a deal was struck with him… Osho chose a large room on the ground floor as his bedroom… Osho renamed the house Lao Tzu House. Several changes were made to the layout… Always hard pressed for money to maintain the ashram, Laxmi borrowed seven thousand Indian rupees from a bookseller in Poona who was known to her family. The trust was renamed Rajneesh Foundation and the trustees of Jeevan Jagruti Kendra were dropped [they withdrew support after the move]. New trustees were elected and Laxmi was appointed Managing Trustee of Rajneesh Foundation. The trustees decided all activities would be executed at Pune, including book sales. The first floor apartment in Woodlands was sold and an adjoining house in Poona purchased. This house was called Krishna House… There was a large open area in the rear of Krishna House known as Radha Hall that faced Lao Tzu House… Chuang Tzu Auditorium was reserved exclusively for Osho’s discourses. However during festivals Osho gave darshan to his lovers in the Chuang Tzu Auditorium. All meditations including kirtan were conducted in Radha Hall… In no time both Chuang Tzu auditorium and Radha Hall proved too small to accommodate the overflowing turnover of visitors to the ashram, especially during the period Osho delivered discourses in English. Eventually, a large hall was built to hold a minimum of seven thousand people. It was called Buddha Hall… Yet more properties were taken over and altered to meet the ashram’s needs… In the process of expansion several properties near the ashram were rented. There were office areas for accounts, meetings, video and audio departments, press and publication departments, libraries etc. on the premises.” (Laxmi 2000, pp. 21,22,24,25)
Niranjan on finding the right property in Poona
“For this, in the beginning of 1974, Osho’s secretary, a woman in her middle age, Ma Yoga Laxmi, came to Pune and called ten of us to tell that she had come to find a place for an Ashram, a permanent place for meditation. I was also present in that meeting. My joy knew no bounds because Osho had chosen Pune to establish his Ashram.
That day, we visited six places to choose a right place for his Meditation Center. The first bungalow we saw was in Koregaon Park [No. 33], the poshest area of Pune. This bungalow was a holiday resort with lush green gardens spread on about 1.75 acres of land. Near the porch of the bungalow there is a big almond tree. After seeing the property, we were standing under this tree to have a final look at it. At that time, an almond fell from the tree near Ma Yoga Laxmi’s feet. She picked it up and kept it in the pocket of her orange robe.
After this, we saw five other properties. We all felt that one property at Mundhwa, located in the area adjacent to Koregaon Park, was the best.
Ma Laxmi left for Mumbai on the same day and came back within a week and said that the property at Koregaon Park is to be finalized. We were all a bit surprised because all of us, including Ma Laxmi, had liked the other property at Mundhwa. But Ma Laxmi said that she described all the properties in detail to Osho. She also showed the almond that she had taken from the property at Koregaon Park. Looking at the almond, Osho told her to finalize this property. Ma Laxmi insisted that Osho himself should come and see the other property before finalizing it. Osho simply said he had seen the properties through her eyes. There was no need for him to come personally and see them. He only said, ‘Purchase this very house in Koregaon Park’…
In due course of time, more adjacent properties were purchased and today, the Osho International Meditation Resort is spread in about forty acres of land. The house no. 17 in lane no. 1 of Koregaon Park, which is adjacent to house number 33, was purchased within three months. The main office of the Resort is in this house no. 17.” (Niranjan 2012, p. 124)
Laxmi on the properties
“Laxmi has news. Last night number 17 happened!… Number 17 Koregaon Park!” she shouts, tapping her temple at my stupidity and indicating the adjoining property with a grand wave. “From today number 17 is with us. Now commune is going to happen. Gate at 33 will be walled up, and in-coming will happen through number 17. “And in back of bungalow, space is also there for meditation camp,” she adds. “No more Empress Gardens. Now camps, just like Mount Abu, can happen here. So, on tenth June night, he will introduce camp and from eleventh morning, discourse, Dynamic Meditation, kirtan, whirling, everything!
“He is speaking on Zen and title for book he has already given Laxmi: ‘A Bird on the Wing’. He says Krishna Prem should be editor. So, swamiji,” she laughs, slapping her knees in delight, “those are Laxmi’s news!”” (Allanach 2010, p. 78)
“Apart from this, it seemed as if Poona was suiting Bhagwan’s ‘body’ after all. After much hunting, Laxmi had found this mansion, situated on the hill station the British made famous during their occupation of India. Laxmi had offered the owner eight hundred thousand rupees for the house before she knew the asking price, promising him a cash deal. Back in Bombay, she could not find the enormous stash of thousand-rupee notes she had buried in the front garden, but the rich disciples – mainly Mukta – donated the money, and the deal went through. It was only later that we learnt that the asking price had only been seven hundred thousand rupees. Though Laxmi thought she had made a bargain, she had in fact overpaid by at least a hundred thousand rupees. That was Laxmi for you!” (Milne 1986, p. 110)
On the setting in Koregaon Park
“Ma Yog Laxmi then made a trip to Poona to find suitable and of course larger premises. While she was being shown around the grounds of No. 17, Koregaon Park, (now christened Krishna House) an unripe almond fell on her toe. It was a sign from existence. She knew at once this was the spot existence had ordained the first brick be laid. Equally miraculous was the way how all adjoining plots, one by one, fell vacant for the Osho Foundation to acquire. It is to be borne in mind, that Koregaon Park, Poona comprises just 4 lanes designed by the British in far gentle times as a ‘park residence’, the bye-laws framed in 1922, which, amazingly apply to this day. The land laws stipulate that each property must be a minimum of an acre, a one storey residence with garage and a outhouse. It has to be mentioned that this is an area where a few elite, former princes and other honorary princes, i.e. the Parsis have summer residences sprinkling the area with an aura like no other area for a full square mile in India. And most importantly, their treasured properties are certainly not up for sale. Despite these factors, the Osho Foundation had all the luck providentially, in finding 40 hectares, pieces of land closely hugging one another to facilitate the growth of a lush sprawling headquarters – as seen today.” (Fali Heerjee. In: Keerti 2000, p. 180)
“Lao Tzu House (Osho’s house) used to belong to a Maharaja. It was chosen because of the gigantic almond tree that stands over the house, changing colors like a chameleon, from red, orange, yellow, to green.” (Shunyo 1991, p. 19)
The Jamnagar family was the owner of the first house bought by Osho in Poona. (Devi Singh Bikaner. Interview. Bikaner Palace Hotel, Mt. Abu. 30.07.2006)
Although his name is forgotten, Mukta (Catherine Venizelos, Greek) remembers the maharaja and former owner who used to come with his family and visit the ashram during Poona One. (Mukta. Interview. Poona. August 1999)
Rosciano writes on Mukta
“Among these women, I remember Mukta, who always stayed near Osho. She had purchased Lao Tzu House for him and spent most of her time caring for the gardens and trees surrounding the building. Mukta came from a wealthy Greek family that had homes in Europe and the USA, but she’d willingly abandoned the comforts of her former lifestyle to be with Osho, with whom she always remained in devoted harmony. (Rosciano 2013, p. 87)
Punya on Mukta
“Mukta had bought a bungalow in the most elegant residential area of Pune. She was the divorced wife of a Greek shipping magnate who was – in my imagination of course – like an Onassis and I was so pleased that with this kind of money she could buy such a beautiful place for Osho.
The entrance from the road to Osho’s residence had already been blocked off, to give Osho more privacy, and the house could only be accessed from the one which had been bought soon afterwards and was already housing Laxmi’s office. To identify the two houses we would call them by their postal numbers – 33 and 17 – until Osho gave them the names Lao Tzu House and Krishna House. But the number ’17’ is still the one in the ashram’s address: 17 Koregaon Park, Pune, Maharashtra.” (Punya 2015, p. 25)
“They bought a six acre estate at 17 Koregaon Park, Poona, in which the Shree Ashram grew and flourished.” (Storr 1996, p. 55)
Laheru writes that first #33, a 1.5-acre plot, was purchased
“The new name of the Bungalow no. 33 at Koregaon was kept ‘Lao Tse House.’ Whole bungalow was decorated beautifully with flowers and lighting. Osho entered his new bungalow, gave darshan to all the friends present there, and paid obeisance. He inspected the whole bungalow, gave some necessary instructions, and then went to take rest in the bedroom on the ground floor. When Osho was asked, whether to keep his bedroom on the ground floor or on the first floor, he said to keep it on the ground floor…
There was bungalow no. 17 adjacent to Lao Tse House. Negotiations were going on about purchasing that also. Some hundred to three hundred and fifty friends were expected from Mumbai, so Pune friends had requested the owner of the bungalow to allow to use his place for one day, which he had accepted. All arrangements was made in bungalow no. 17…
After about six to seven months, the flat at Woodland was sold and bungalow no. 17 was purchased. It was named Krishna House. In that building, office of Shree Rajneesh Ashram was made. The management of Osho’s work in the whole world was done from there.
Lao Tse House was Osho’s private residence so main door to it was closed and all traffic was kept from the main door of Krishna House. A beautiful strong gate of carved wood was constructed there. The new address of the Ashram was now 17, Koregaon Park, Pune.
After that, on Osho’s instructions, gradually, other bungalows in the vicinity were purchased. In Mumbai, the name for Osho’s work was Jivan Jagruti Kendra.That was changed and after going to Pune a trust was constituted in the name of Rajneesh Foundation and the name of the Ashram was decided to be Shree Rajneesh Ashram.” (Laheru 2012, pp. 94-95)
Milne remembers from December 1974
“After driving all night through the meteor storm, I arrived very early the next morning and made my way to Bhagwan’s house, 33 Koregaon Park, only to be told by the Nepali servant that it was now permanently closed. It was clearly open. I was instructed instead to go to another house, number 17, which Laxmi had recently purchased for Bhagwan as an extension to the original property.
Teertha was there, waiting for me. He accepted the gifts from Scotland, but seemed unusually depressed. He told me that Bhagwan blamed him personally for the collapse of the Chuang Tzu auditorium. As Teertha was clearly in no mood for a friendly conversation, I went to have breakfast in Poona. When I returned later in the day I saw that the Poona ashram had doubled in size while I had been away. Laxmi had bought the house adjoining the original mansion, and Bhagwan had named it Krishna House. About ten disciples were already living semi-permanently in this new house, and all the rickshaw and taxi drivers now knew where ‘Bhagwan’s Ashram’ was. Previously they had not heard of Koregaon Park, let alone of Rajneesh.” (Milne 1986, p. 111)
“Als Bhagwan noch in Bombay wohnte, gab es fünf Personen, die mit ihm in seiner Wohnung lebten und für seine physischen Bedürfnisse sorgten. Der Umzug nach Poona erhöhte diese Anzahl. Er wohn nun in einem grossen Haus. Er brauchte mehr Personal. Die Organisation, die er in Bombay hatte, war nicht mehr passend…
Laxmi wurde beauftragt, so viele Grundstücke in der Nähe seines Hauses zu kaufen, wie möglich war. Schon einen Monat nach seinem Umzug hatte sie ein zweites Haus, gleich hinter dem ersten erworben. Bhagwans Haus hiess Lao-Tzu-Haus. Das zweite Haus, beim Haupteingang des Rajneesh-Ashrams, in dem die Büros untergebracht wurden, bekam den Namen Krishna-Haus. Innerhalb kürzester Zeit wurde der Ashram zu einem abgeschssenen Gelände von fast 25.000 Quadratmetern mit drei Hauptgebäuden und weiteren legal und illegal errichteten Bauten.” (Sheela 1996, p. 137)
“Koregaon park was an elegant, sprawling, tree-shaded suburb filled with gently-decaying mansions that had been built by India’s wealthy princes and maharajas in the 1920s and 30s, mainly in order to have somewhere to stay while enjoying the horse-racing season in the monsoon. The racing habit had been picked up from the British, the conquerors, whom they idolised and imitated, and who had used Pune as an important military base until India became independent… so we walked in towards the bungalow, which is now called Khrisna House and is the main office.
Here, I must explain the ashram geography. It consisted basically of two large suburban houses: Khrisna house [Errata] in the front, where Osho lived. He gave darshan every evening on a porch at the back of the house and a discourse every morning on a large balcony on the first floor. Between the two houses there was a tiny canteen and a space for daily meditations. There were about twenty Western sannyasins and thirty Indian sannyasins – altogether maybe fifty people living in and around the ashram, and the whole feeling was quite simple… [Lao Tzu House:] The red corridor was named after the square red tiles with which it was floored. It began modestly enough, at the side of the house, close to Lao Tzu Gate, with a door, a mat and a shoerack. But after that the red corridor gained spiritual merit with every metre, passing by a couple of rooms occupied by resident sannyasins, then Osho’s kitchen, then his enormous personal library, then his private apartment, and ending finally at the porch where he gave evening darshan. Few indeed were those allowed to pass down the red corridor, and those who did were sure to tread softly and go in silence. Almost no one went further than the library… it was very narrow, no more than a metre wide… Someone would come out of the kitchen and give the signal – “Vivek is coming” – and this would cause considerable commotion in the corridor, since librarians, cleaners and others had to be out of the way. Nobody wanted Vivek, with her large silver tray, to have to negotiate her way round a library ladder, or risk tripping over a mop or bucket.” (Radha 2005, pp. 31,33,60,65)
On Osho in Poona
“No other religious personality in India perhaps, possesses a more brilliant intellect than does Rajneesh, and yet, no one is more militantly anti-intellectual than he is. With his superb oratory, penetrating parables and courageous critique of our cultural and religious traditions he “has begun to hold a commanding historical significance in India today”… Recently (in 1974) he moved to Poona and has bought a huge bungalow in a rich, residential area.” (Mangalwadi 1977, p. 125)
Jyoti remembers leaving Bombay and driving to Poona 1974
“After the celebration is over Osho takes his lunch and rests for a while. At 2:30pm his car is ready, decorated with garlands of flowers all around. Many friends have gathered again to say good-bye to him. Osho comes down, namastes everyone and slowly walks towards the car. Some friends burst out and start crying loudly. The whole scene is heart breaking. The beloved of their hearts is leaving them.
Laxmi is already sitting in the driver’s seat and Osho sits in the back seat. There are five more cars of friends waiting to follow Him. I get a ride in Swami Krishna Arup’s new Fiat car and coming with us is Osho’s uncle. One car is for the camera people taking video films of this historical event. In a few minutes all the cars are on the road trying to overtake other vehicles.
Bye Bye Bombay!…
By the time we reach Poona the whole function arranged by Poona friends to welcome Osho is over. His enlightenment day celebration has started in front of bungalow #17. Osho is sitting cross legged on a big square table which is covered with a white sheet. Kirtan is going on and people are coming in line to touch his feet. It is quite crowded… After the celebration is over, Osho gets up, namastes everyone one more time and walks with Laxmi to bungalow #33.” (Jyoti 1994, pp. 119ff)
Let us now turn to how the ashram was working and growing.
4.2 The Making of a Buddhafield
Osho is speaking on the growing commune. From a discourse in Buddha Hall, September 1977, reprinted in Darshan Diary:
“This commune is not an ordinary commune. This is an experiment to provoke god. You may not be aware of what is going to happen. You may be aware only of your problems – you may have come to me only to solve your problems. That is secondary; I am cooking up something else! (laughter)
I am trying to create a space where god can descend more and more.
This commune will become a connection. The world has lost connection; god is no more a reality. The connection is broken, and god can only be through the connection. God may be there, we are here, but there is no bridge so how do we know?
This commune is an experiment to create the bridge…” Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There. A Darshan Diary (1980), p. 224. (Sannyas, 1978:1, p. 20)
“The Master simply means a certain Noosphere. The word “Noosphere” is coined by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin… we are acquainted with the word “atmosphere”. Atmosphere means the air that surrounds you, the climate that surrounds you. “Noosphere” means the world of subtle vibes, thoughts, feelings that surround you… the Master carries a noosphere around himself… I call it the Buddhafield.” I Am That (1984). Chapter 1.
“[Wilhelm] Reich didn’t know about meditation. That was the missing ingredient in his recipe for human fulfilment. It was Osho who added the missing spice. Meditation in Pune went far beyond techniques like Dynamic and Kundalini. It was present in the silence in Buddha Hall, as we waited for Osho to come and give discourse. It was in the air after darshan, as we walked silently along the ashram pathways. It was in those magical moments I experienced, as a participant and as a guest medium in Osho’s energy darshan phase, when we would all disappear into inner cosmic spaces, vast and empty, yet pulsating with an ecstatic energy that filled us with awe and delight.” (Aneesha. In: Svagito 2014, p. 128)
“I call my sannyasins Swami. The word swami means the master. Swa means the center of your being and swami means one who has found it. Finding one’s center is the beginning of a divine dimension – than all is peace, then flowers of peace go blossoming, endlessly.” The Sound of One Hand Clapping (1981); The Book (1984). Volume III, p. 310.
“I call a woman “Ma” because if she flowers and comes to the seventh – ‘saharsrar’ – she will become a mothering force. I call the man sannyasins “Swami” because when they come to their ultimate flowering they will simply feel that they have become masters of their own being. Both are the same – but one is a male interpretation of the same experience, another is a female interpretation of the same experience.” The Divine Melody (1978); The Book (1984). Volume II, p. 169.
“In March 1974, Rajneesh left Bombay and moved to the hill town of Poona in the Maharashtra State. The Rajneesh Foundation was established in 1975 under the leadership of Ma Yoga Laxmi, who was also credited not only with the first wearing of orange robes but also the design of the one hundred and eight bead necklace (mala) with Rajneesh’s picture on it which all his disciples wore. The Jeevan Jagriti Kendra was wound down; its members were asked to wear orange all the time and call themselves swami or ma while continuing to lead their normal daily lives. In ordinary Indian society, this was asking a good deal, and the movement soon became predominantly European in its membership.” (Aveling 1996, p. 75)
“The daily programme was: Dynamic at 6am, Osho’s discourse at 8am, Whirling in the late afternoon and then the darshan, the interview with the master – at 7pm. The discourses and the darshans (for which we could sign up with Mukta maybe once a week) were held on the porch of Osho’s residence. The meditations were in the still barren garden in front of Krishna House which was now covered by a tin roof to protect us from the sun and the monsoon rains. Everybody came with their own roll-up bamboo mat as if we were going to the beach.
Now we could have intensive meditation days – they were still called ‘camps’ – every month without travelling anywhere. They started on the eleventh of each month and lasted for ten days. The meditations followed each other with intervals of fifteen minutes and with an hour for lunch break. It was very intense; it felt sometimes like going from one movie to the next but, instead of getting a headache by the end of the day, we would feel lighter and brighter.” (Punya 2015, p. 29)
“Initially, there was no place to do group meditations at his residence and these were done in a public botanical garden…
Dynamic Meditation would be held in the mornings at the Empress Botanical Gardens and Sufi meditation in the evenings.” (Vaidya 2017, pp. 42,44)
“Now that Osho had a permanent place to stay we all settled down to work and meditate. He spoke often about the fact that soon there would be many people coming and we needed to prepare. It was hard to imagine this but there was a very real sense of an infrastructure – in the usual chaotic Indian style – being created. Buildings were built, the canteen was set up, gardens were cultivated and creativity flourished. Chuang Tzu Auditorium was built for the morning discourses and the evening darshan, where small groups of people gathered to talk to Osho personally about whatever issues were concerning them.
Within two years Osho’s prediction proved to be correct and people started to arrive in their thousands from all over the world. Chuang Tzu quickly became too small, except for darshan, and so an adjoining property was bought and the Buddha Hall Auditorium was constructed for discourses and meditations. ” (Veena 2012, p. 59)
Osho on sannyas
“Sannyas means, “I will try to become an individual while alive! I will live my life in my own way. I will not be dictated to, dominated. I will not function like a mechanism, like a robot. I will not have any ideals, and I will not have any goals. I will live in the moment, and I will live on the spur of the moment. I will be spontaneous. And I will risk all for it!” Sannyas is a risk.” (Sannyas, 1978:2, p. 29)
“It is a discontinuity. It is not a growth; there is no bridge between the past and the future. The mind functions as a bridge: it carries the past into the future, it contaminates, poisons, the future. It doesn’t allow the future its own being, its own saying. It goes on playing the old tapes. It does not allow that which is happening; it goes on covering it up.
Sannyas is the risk of losing the known for the unknown. It is a gamble, but in that very gamble something is born… something for which one was waiting without knowing, something for which one was searching and seeking without knowing…” Don’t Look Before You Leap. Intimate Talks Between Master and Disciple (1983), p. 311.
On the Ashram
“Somebody coming from the outside for the first time may start feeling: What is happening here? In fact, never has such an Ashram existed. Sometimes efforts have been made on a very small scale – some Sufi schools have existed, but on a very small scale. Twenty, 25 persons working in a closed world… nobody knowing what was happening there. Now this [commune] is an open university. Almost the whole world is participating in it: You can find every nationality, every race, every religion represented. It is an open phenomenon. Never has freedom been experimented with on such a big scale.” Tao: The Pathless Path (1979). Vol.1, Ch. 12.
Sam writes from 1975
“All that winter there was a sense of creative power being steadily and implacably stepped up. As soon as you went through the ashram gates you could feel the raw surge of it, and it was a wonderfully exhilarating feeling. Something new seemed to happen every day. Another house was bought adjacent to Osho’s, and work started to convert it into a residential block. Then a large empty field next to the original ashram building was bought (the whole now forming a solid rectangle of territory) and the foundations for a new meditation hall dug out. There were cement mixers, electric cables, queues of Indian labourers carrying tin scoops of earth on their heads. Bits of Western equipment started to arrive, a lot of it smuggled in. Someone donated a brand new land rover, which another sannyasin (as Osho, helpless with laughter, recounted during discourse) promptly stole and drove off somewhere to the south.” (Sam 1997, p. 45)
“The Shree Rajneesh Ashram is situated in Koregaon Park, a quiet graceful suburb of Poona. In the ashram’s six-acre site sub-tropical plants luxuriate everywhere: poinsettia and hibiscus, coral-flame and papaya trees, burgeoning bougainvillea, frangipani. Buildings are named after the enlightened ones: Lao Tzu House (where Bhagwan lives), Buddha Hall, Chuang Tzu Auditorium; the main office is called Krishna House, while residents live in houses named after Jesus, Eckhart and St. Francis. As Bhagwan’s reputation spreads abroad, more and more seekers are attracted; more and more come to feel that this is home and ask to stay. Since the establishment of the ashram in 1974 the resident community has risen from a score or so to over three hundred. To accommodate the many sannyasins waiting to move in and to facilitate the next phase of Bhagwan’s work the whole ashram is shortly to move to a very much larger new site.” (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. A Space Where God Can Descend. RF, 1979)
Shambala in Tibet
“Shambala is a well-known name. It is a mythological city somewhere in Tibet, where only enlightened people can enter. To the unenlightened it remains invisible. No such city exists – it is a beautiful myth – although many foolish people have been in search of it. Still people go on searching, thinking that somewhere in some deep hidden valley of the Himalayas the city must exist.
But it is a beautiful myth and of great meaning. There are a few spaces in existence where only enlightened people can enter. To the unenlightened those spaces remain invisible – not that they are hidden somewhere in the deep valleys of the Himalayas: they are just by the corner. They are within you. You are the valley where they exist. They exist in the Himalayas of your inner being. But unless your inner world becomes full of light you will not be able to see them.” Don’t Look Before You Leap. Intimate Talks Between Master and Disciple (1983), p. 341.
Osho’s former incarnation
“Details are not clear, but it is said that several hundred years ago Osho was a Master with many disciples, living somewhere in the Himalayas. He didn’t indicate the place in which he lived, but there is a legend that his body along with the bodies of other great Masters, is preserved in a hidden chamber in the Potala Palace, formerly the winter residence of the Dalai Lama, in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.” (Rosciano 2013, p. 106)
Glossary: Lao Tzu House
“Lao Tzu House: the name Osho gave to his own residences; in Poona, a large sprawling villa situated in a jungle garden originally known as Number 33, Koregaon Park. He lived in a single room with bathroom and came out twice a day for discourse and darshan and, later, only once a day; usually also inhabited by about 20 other people, including his care-taker Vivek, who occupied the neighbouring room. On the Ranch, Lao Tzu House was a triple-wide trailer home surrounded by lawns, fir trees and peacocks. Unlike Poona One and Two, on the Ranch, only his direct support people shared the house with him – his cook, cleaners, doctor, etc.” (Savita 2014, p. 265)
Veena is shown Osho’s room in Lao Tzu House by Vivek
“I started to tremble as she [Nirvano] lead the way to Osho’s room, opening the door and gestured to me to enter, again one of those devilish grins flitting lightly across her face.
The shock was enormous. Firstly I was almost knocked flat by the wave of energy hitting me – I know my knees buckled. I had already had many experiences of the energy field surrounding an enlightened master, but never as concentrated as this. With nowhere to be dissipated, the energy just builds up inside the room and to someone not used to such a force, the impact is enormous.
Once I had pulled myself together and could take a breath I registered that Osho was not in the room and that the room itself was a nightmare! The walls were made of sections of patterned marble (I hate pink as decor) with the slabs separated by bilious green strips of tile which culminated in a kind of Islamic arch over each slap. The remaining wall and ceiling was patterned with pink and yellow stucco – the colour of vomit, if you have just eaten or drunk something red. Two plastic imitation chandeliers completed the Liberace effect. Knowing my interior design sensibilities, Nirvano giggled and gestured me to sit down near the window.
‘Awful, isn’t it?’ she said and went on to whisper that her biggest freak-out ever had been when she had been shown the room which Osho was to occupy – one hundred percent Bollywood decor! Neither she nor he had any say in the decoration – it had been prepared for him while he was still in Bombay… Osho’s room was joined to Nirvano’s room by a corridor with a green curtain so it was always referred to as ‘The Green Corridor’. Osho walked down this corridor to the veranda outside Nirvano’s room where he ate all his meals so there would not be a smell of food in his room.” (Veena 2012, pp. 112,121)
Glossary: Lao Tzu Balcony above the car porch
“Lao Tzu balcony: the large two-sided terrace on the first floor of Lao Tzu House overlooking Osho’s garden that over the years served to accommodate, first, morning discourse, and later, writers, tape duplicators and seamstresses; it is now enclosed and used for groups.” (Savita 2014, p. 265)
“In 1979 Devateerth Bharti, or Dadaji, as his father was affectionately known, became very ill and on one of Osho’s very rare outings from the ashram. he went to visit his father in hospital.
I recall the day, sitting on the ‘writer’s balcony’ above Osho’s car porch in Lao Tzu, when the new yolk-yellow Mercedes – the predecessor to his first Rolls Royce – rolled out along the driveway, emitting a distinctive scrunching sound as the tires hit the gravel. We few pulled away from our desks near the balustrade and stayed silent and invisible, always in awe of any extremely rare moment when Osho stepped out of his regular routine of morning discourse and evening darshan, especially, as on this occasion, to drive out through the ashram gate to see his sick father.” (Savita. In: Savita 2014, p. 111)
“I’d seen him do it every session: he’d wrap his lungi around his lower body, and holding his arm out, with incredible speed and dexterity, he’d rapidly flick the extra length of fabric backwards and forwards to make pleats and in no time at all the top was tucked into his waistband and the rest hanging perfectly neatly down to the ground. Then I took him by his hand, because that’s what Nirvano had always done, and from the balcony I walked with him across the room… He came out a minute later holding a beautiful gold and diamond fountain pen. “This is for you!” he said.” (Satyarthi. In: Savita 2014, p. 227)
Krishna Prem writes from the ashram in early 1977
“Number 17 Koregaon Park has also changed. Beyond recognition, in fact. Where once a scraggly hedge of crimson lantana sprawled, a massive teak gate stands, brass-studded, a white marble kiosk flanking either side. And looming majestically above it arches a great white portico, crowned with a Kremlin-style cupola and Osho’s name emblazoned in chiselled black lettering. And smack in the centre I detect Laxmi’s hand. Hanging there, pure glitz and glitter, is a tear-drop crystal chandelier, looking for all the world like she’s purloined it from the lobby of some Beverly Hills hotel…
The transformation inside the front gate is as un-bargained for. The original four-bedroom bungalow that was 17 has mushroomed into an edifice the size of a residential hotel and the newly acquired next-door property now boasts a gigantic oval lecture hall, roofed in a tarpaulin befitting a massive circus tent…
But the commune itself? When we left there had been numbers 17 and 33 and a bare patch of earth between. Now there are four compounds on six acres and a thriving community bubbling with activity, bursting at its seams. The bookstall, the boutique, the cafeteria, the residences, the darkroom, the design studio, the warehouse, the group rooms and therapy chambers – it’s all too much to absorb! And Osho named everything. Number 17 is Krishna House, 33 is Lao Tzu House, and the path in between has been roofed, floored, and renamed Radha Hall. And all the new names! Jesus House, Francis House, Eckhart Village, Buddha Hall, Chuang Tzu Auditorium, Vrindavan – I’ve no sooner heard them but forgotten not only which is which but also which is where. It’s a bewildered, bedazzled Krishna Prem they lead to Laxmi.” (Allanach 2010, p. 149)
(Note: Eckhart Village is the former servants quarters for Jesus House)
Photo 1. Osho on the lawn. 1974.
Nirgun remembers when cleaning in Lao Tzu House
“Only Bhagwan’s care-giver, Vivek, entered his room when he was there. He never went out of his room alone. She escorted him to meals in his small dining room, to discourses and to darshan, guarding his privacy with the fierce devotion of a lion mother. None of the rest of us glimpsed him by day or night, except his secretary, doctor, dentist, and robe makers, who saw him by appointment…
One day when buds were beginning to burst out on the huge trees inside the gate, Vivek asked me to help spring-clean Bhagwan’s room. The stark simplicity startled me. An enormous bed with three great pillows, an exquisite rosewood stereo cabinet, a desk and chair. That was all…
I looked around the kitchen. Black and gray granite slabs covered the floor and the counter that ran the full length of the room. Huge papaya trees in the driveway shaded the windows. Through the branches I caught a glimpse of the orange Fire of the Forest. A cool, serene room – a single question came to me and it was anything but spiritual: for God’s sake, where’s the equipment?
The only stove in evidence was an old four-burner gas plate on the counter. An antique refrigerator stood near the door, a grinding machine in the far corner, a sink under the windows. Rows of pots and pans with rounded bottoms and flat covers sat on shelves under the counter, china cups and saucers on a wall shelf, and on the counter a thali, a huge round silver tray, held eight small dull silver bowls. I grabbed a cloth and started rubbing them.
Astha came in. She was young, tall, strongly built and couldn’t have been more friendly. She told me the kitchen routine: Vivek takes Bhagwan’s meals in at eleven in the morning and six at night. Always the same: a thali of dahl and vegetables, chutney and curd and chapatis, salad, fruit juice.
“That’s it?” I asked incredulously.
“Vivek takes him a cup of tea every morning at six and a snack at bedtime,” she told me. Astha had been working in his kitchen for years. I was impressed by the salads she made for Bhagwan; they were works of art – dramatic, showy.” (Hamilton 1998, pp. 63-66)
Arun recalls the school in the commune
“He called the school in his commune the No-School where children were allowed absolute freedom to choose and study what they wanted to study and when they wanted to study. A teacher could only teach a child when the child was ready for it. His vision for this neo-education system is compiled in his book ‘Siksha Mai Kranti’ which has been translated into ‘Revolution in Education’.” (Arun 2017, p. 354)
Renu remembers from 1977
“Later that first afternoon we decided to look in on what was called Kundalini Meditation. We were directed back through the garden to Radha Hall where all the meditations took place. We were looking all around but couldn’t see anyone meditating anywhere… all we saw were a bunch of people dancing in wild abandon. We stood next to that scene and asked some people, “Where is the meditation hall?” They cracked up and told us that this was it. We tried to join in… I tried to move in front of someone like, signalling them to see if they wanted to dance with me. The meditation leader, Christ Krishna had to come up and tell me that this is meditation and we dance alone.” (Renu. In: Bhagawati 2010, p. 495)
Meditation camp in ashram
“The Programme: From the 11th to the 20th of every month an intensive meditation camp is run with five meditation techniques held daily. These are usually: dynamic meditation, Sufi dancing (Rajneesh Ashram style), nadabrahma (humming), kundalini meditation and nataraj (dancing) or gourishankar.
Between camps when the therapy groups are running, dynamic, Sufi dance and kundalini take place, plus open classes in t’ai chi, karate and hatha yoga.” (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. A Space Where God Can Descend. RF 1979).
(Note: ‘Samadhi Sadhana Shibir’, was the name of the meditation camps in the ashram. The Empty Boat (1976), p. 8)
Four major celebrations
“In addition to this daily routine, four major celebrations were held each year when the numbers at the ashram would swell still further. These were held on the day of Bhagwan’s enlightenment (21 March), on Guru Purnima Day, a traditional day of celebration when disciples in India acknowledge their relationship with their Master (6 July), on Bhagwan’s birthday (11 December), and on Mahaparinirvana Day (8 September). This last was to celebrate all those sannyasins who had died, special attention being paid to sannyasins whom Bhagwan declared had become enlightened on dying. These included his own (biological) father and Prince Welf of Hannover, who had been among his first sannyasins.” (Thompson 1986, p. 21)
Satyananda recalls from December 1978
“Neben der Buddhahalle sind zwei Grossraumbüros in Japanischem Stil entstanden: Strohdach auf Holzpfeilern, innen mit Tuchbespannung und Neonröhren. Keine Wände, sondern brusthohr Bastmatten. Schreibtische auf Zementboden. In dem einen Büro arbeiten die Übersetzer – Deutsche, Italiener, Franzosen, Japaner, Holländer, Inder. Viele hübsche Mädchen. In das andere Büro ist das Presse-Office eingezogen.” (Satyananda 1984, p. 211)
“The Pune ashram, as I kept discovering, wasn’t a normal kind of ashram. Meditation was the backbone of what was happening, but celebration came a close second. In Osho’s vision of life, meditation without celebration is too dry, while celebration without meditation lacks depth. A synthesis is needed, so the ashram’s daily program offered many opportunities for singing and dancing… Every night there was singing and dancing in the Buddha Hall… If someone were to ask me what I got out of those early years in Pune I’d have to say that the lifestyle, as a whole, was far more important than any single experience or point of understanding. Osho called this collective phenomenon a “buddhafield” – where a group of seekers enhance each other’s growth process simply by being together with an enlightened master in the same energy field.” (Dillon 2005, p. 179)
Satya Vedant writes on arriving Westerners
“Many from this new generation who were identified in general as “hippies” or “flower children” had a sense of direction, but they did not have the needed guidance. Their search brought them to the East. They were the first ones to come in touch with Bhagwan, not the academics, the sophisticated, the highbrows. Only the wanderers came in that early contact. Only the rebels, revolutionaries, radicals, all those who were searching for an alternative to their conditioned way of living, came to Bhagwan.
So these “mad people,” whom Bhagwan calls “my people,” were the first ones to approach him, to fall in love with him. They were accepted and unconditionally loved by him, without exception. They received some initial energy from Bhagwan and then went back to their own countries and began spreading the news about Bhagwan. They assured others like themselves that there was someone who could bring them out of their misery, pain, and frustration. On one hand, these early Westerners functioned to spread Bhagwan’s message to others, and on the other, they functioned to bring feedback to Bhagwan. They provided him with firsthand understanding of what was occurring in the social as well as psychological realms of the West. It was only subsequent to this initial work done by the “hippies,” “flower children,” and “drop-outs,” that more educated, refined, and sophisticated people started to be drawn to Bhagwan. It took several years for the intellectuals, the academics, the rationalists to realize that there was someone who, instead of answering their questions, was able to bring about such a radical change in their perspective that the very questions dropped away and evaporated, and they felt deeply relaxed, almost ecstatic.” (Joshi 1982. Epilogue, p. 175)
Prem Gayan remembers
“People came from all corners of the world, we merged and mingled and lost all sense of time… a new life had truly begun. We were immersed in a sea of orange, red and maroon colours, the lectures every morning were inspiring, enlightening, and made us aware of our deep seated conditionings. Yet letting go of the old and familiar was not easy; we clung to our past, as if our lives depended on it.
But Osho just kept hammering anyway. After some time our old lives appeared more and more hollow and just simply untrue. Our dogmas and beliefs crumbled and our old thought patterns, that had kept us imprisoned for so long, disappeared in the silence of his presence. His wonderful stories and jokes made us roar with laughter. He made us laugh and he made us cry and slowly we relaxed into the present moment; listening to him every morning was of an incredible intensity. The wisdom and love that poured into our minds and hearts is indescribable. The inner freedom we felt, to finally be ourselves, was expanding our beings. So we listened, we danced and we worked, seven days a week; time was standing still…” (www.oshonews.com 12.02.2014)
P1A, section 4.2, ca. p. 25.
Video 1. The Blessings Times. Footage made by an Indian filmmaker for the national German TV in 1978. Collected by Manik for Osho film festival 2005. Music by Laz Luiz: ‘Mythologize Yourself’. 4:30 min. Color.
“Arriving at his Poona commune in the late-seventies, I walked down a country lane of walled estates dating from the British era. Behind a beautiful wooden gate out of an Arabian Night’s tale, a lush garden courtyard led to several smaller houses and a large, tent-covered, outdoor meeting hall where women in flowing red gowns were twirling, dervish-style, and dancing in free-form bliss and play. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Coming from the uptight west, the atmosphere of the commune was, in a couple of words, blissful and enchanting.
The next morning I attended my first discourse. Due to Osho’s back trouble and asthmatic condition, his attendants drove him a few hundred yards from a rear house to the side of the open-air meeting hall. When I first saw Osho emerge and float-walk towards his famous chair, I sensed there was something absolutely different, unique, and mysterious about this man – something I had never sensed with any other human being.” (Sarmad. http://zorbathebuddha.net/21.09.2005)
Indira Gandhi reading Osho’s books
“Even a courageous woman like Indira Gandhi wanted to see me, wanted to come to the ashram, and at least six times the date was fixed and just one day beforehand, it would be cancelled: “Some urgent work has come.” Finally her secretary came and told me, “There is no urgent work. The problem is that her political advisers prevent her. They say, “Going to Bhagwan can affect your political position; so it is better not to go to him, because the old traditional Indian mind is so much against him that if you go to see him, you may lose votes.” Even the prime minister of the country is afraid to come and see me – she wants to, but her own vested interests prevent her.” The Razor’s Edge (1987). Session 29, p. 334)
(Note: Indira Gandhi first became Prime Minister in 1966 and had a landslide victory in the 1971 election. Her popularity declined during many crises in early 1970s and she was defeated in the 1977 election following the curfew. She had one more term as PM in 1980, and was killed by her Sikh body guards on 31.10.1984 in response to the Blue Star operation in the temple in Amritsar. Sanjay Gandhi, a pilot, was killed in an aircraft accident in 1980. Her second son Rajiv became a PM and was killed in 1991)
Arun writes on Mobos Hotel and meditations in Poona 1974
“Hotel Mobokos itself was also once part of a princely state. This double-story hotel was a huge complex, but had only a few bedrooms. These rooms, however, were king-sized, with luxurious en-suites. The rent per room ranged from forty to sixty rupees a day, which was quite expensive. When more and more sannyasins began arriving and requesting cheap accommodation, the hotel management decided to convert a considerably big drawing room into a dormitory. They charged each person three rupees per day, and provided a mattress and pillow for each of us, but we had to use the servants’ bathroom, which was crowded and not very comfortable. Any other provisions we had to manage on our own. Outside the hotel, there was a cafe where we would buy inexpensive treats. Many of my roommates from that dormitory later became famous group leaders, gurus and therapists. I remember Radha, the pretty Italian ma living with us in the dormitory, who later became Bhagwan’s medium. She was very popular among the sannyasins…
I would try to rest for a while, despite the noise there, then I’d shower and get ready for Kundalini meditation. In those days, we didn’t have a meditation hall; meditation was done in any open space available in the ashram. So every day I would go to the ashram, and have to find the place where the meditations were happening for that day. Teertha, who was the meditation coordinator then, would come with the tape recorder, and we would all follow him. Construction was in full swing in the ashram. Some days, we would come to the lawn, only to find heaps of bricks had been unloaded there, so we would have to go and find another space…
One evening, after Kundalini meditation, I fell into a trancelike state. I remained in that state until late into the night. At that time, we were doing Kundalini meditation on a lawn at the ashram, where they built Radha auditorium later.” (Arun 2017, pp. 131-136)
(Note: Mobos Hotel appears on Swami Bindu’s cd ‘Plain Tales From Poona’ (LC 0760. 2014) which presents an incredible vivid portrait of what it was like being around in Poona One)
Satyananda shares his understanding of Osho’s work
“Ich liebte es, meine indische Entdeckung in grossen Zusammenhängen zu sehen. Ich sah Osho (so nannte Bhagwan sich später, kurz vor seinem Tode), ich sah in diesem Inder den Mann, der die Brücke schlug zwischen Materie und Geist, zwischen Macht und Bewusstsein, zwischen Ost und West, zwischen spirituellem Know-how und technisch-wissenschaftlichem Fortschritt. Ich sah ihn in einer Linie mit Buddha, Mohammed, Heraklit, Sokrates, Jesus und Lao Tse. Er woillte keine neue Religion begründen, aber er war offenbar im Begriff, das spirituelle Vakuum des Westens dadurch aufzufüllen, das er die angeborene Religiosität der Menschen entfachte, die mit ihm in Berührung kamen. Der modus operandi dieses modernen Buddhas schien mir genial. Fasziniert beobachtete ich, wie souverän er mit der Psychologie der Massenmedien umging und wie elegant er die Möglichkeiten der modernen Kommunikationselektronik nutzte…
Bhagwans Aschram war kein Kloster, in dem man sich in frommer Stille dem Gebet hingab und Selbstverleugnung übte. Er war auch kein Modell für eine neue, bessere Gesellschaft. Der Aschram von Poona war ein Laboratorium, in dem sich der Wahnsinn unserer Welt wie unter einem Brennglass konzentrierte – alle unsere passionen, Ängste, Perversionen und Lügen, unsere Illusionen, unsere Gier und Wut. Die Art und Weise, wie Osho mit diesen verrückten Energien umging, erschien mir oft rätselhaft manchmal sogar unheimlich. Dabei konnte ich täglich beobachten, wie viele Menschen, die sich ihm anvertrauten, offener, freier, authentischer, herzlicher wurden.” (Elten 1992, pp. 216,220)
Organizing the Ashram
During the 1970s the ashram was gradually expanding into a internationally recognized growth center based on Osho’s understanding and a therapy programme within the framework of humanistic psychology.
Osho on the ashram
“The ashram is my polar opposite. I have to have a polar opposite. If you love me, you will tolerate the ashram. That’s the price to be paid. One who loves me by and by forgets about the ashram and starts accepting it. The ashram is part of the world. It cannot be like me… It is not possible. But you should be grateful towards it because it helps my work, that’s all. It makes me comfortable. It helps things to happen, that’s all. But it is just an organization. Don’t be worried about it. Forget it and just remember me, mm? Good!” At the Feet of the Master. Darshan compilation (1992), p. 323.
“I can manage the ashram in such a way that nobody will be offended, that is so simple, but then I will not be of any utility to you. You can find those kinds of ashramas everywhere in India. They give you consolation, they never offend; they give you comfort, they never annoy.
I am here to annoy and offend because that is the only way to destroy you and the only way to create you anew. So it is going to be uneasy; but one thing has happened in you – that you know, you have recognised me, so all else is not important. That feeling is there in your heart that you have found me and I am going to help you. That is essential; everything else will drop by itself. If that is not there you will be disconnected with me.
The ashram has two functions; it connects people with me, it disconnects people from me. If the people are worthwhile, it connects them with me; if the people are not worthwhile, it disconnects them from me. It has to serve a double function. It is just as a gate is both an entrance and exit, it has a double function: it allows people to enter in, it throws people out too. But if you meditate, slowly slowly you will see the reason for everything that looks so irrational. The rational is there, deep, hidden; it is not on the surface. And in finding it you will become deeper, you will become more profound.” Don’t Bite My Finger, Look Where I’m Pointing. Initiation Talks Between Master and Disciple (1982), p. 33.
Ashram described in guide to ashrams in India
“The Ashram: A modern, suburban centre, originally residential for around twenty ashramites and the staff of ‘Sannyas’ magazine (which is published here) and now housing several hundred at a time. Even now, with more land and more accommodation, the number of students is usually way out of proportion to the space available and the ashram is generally filled to overflowing. Many students therefore prefer to share flats outside (which is expensive in Poona) and come in for sessions.
The ashram canteen serves very good Western or Indian-style vegetarian food, with fruit curd or milk. Tea or curd is served between meditation sessions. Breakfast consists of tea, curd and porridge. Lunch costs five rupees and supper four.
Meditation camps are held for ten days each month in a huge marquee in the garden, holding about one hundred participants.
The Neo-Sannyas International organization, which propagates the teachings of Bhagwan, produces many attractive books from his taped lectures, also cassettes and the glossy magazine ‘Sannyas’. Lists available from the ashram and affiliated centres.” (Murray 1980, p. 239)
“The ‘Gateless Gate’ is the name lovingly coined by ashramites for the antique Burmese teakwood gate which is the main entrance to the ashram.” (Sannyas, 1977:3, p. 51)
Arun writes on early days in the ashram
“As more and more sannyasins came, the ashram needed more staff, and Laxmi decided to use the Press building as a dormitory for the newly-appointed ashram staff. My first room-mates were Swami Chaitanya Keerti and Ma Krishna Priya. One Muslim sannyasin joined us later. Keerti immediately got the job as the editor of ‘Rajneesh Times’, which meant he received all the facilities of a resident including food pass. The other two also had food passes, as they were working in the ashram; I was the only one who didn’t. I had a free-entry pass and free ashram accommodation, and so was treated as a half-ashramite. Pune ashram was not very financially stable in those days. All the staff members were given a cup of tea in the morning after Dynamic meditation. They had to work from ten until eleven o’clock, when they were given brunch. They were always served chapati, rice, daal and a curry for both brunch and dinner. After brunch, they would go back to work, and meet again at three o’clock for a cup of tea. Dinner was served after Kundalini meditation in the evening. Apart from the camp days, we only had Dynamic meditation in the morning and Kundalini in the evening. The ashram did not have enough funds for breakfast or to expand the menu in any way. But as I didn’t have a food pass, I couldn’t even eat the food or drink the tea in the ashram.” (Arun 2017, p. 143)
Vidya writes on the Office
“I’d like to tell you a bit about the Office, since it keeps coming up here and there, and it is such a centrally important place in the ashram.
The office is a place of fear and trembling, and fun, depending on which side you are facing. It can be the Bloody Tower itself, or the palace portals through which all must pass when seeking audience with Him. The organization’s heads reside there. Women, of course. The chief head is Laxmi, tiny-little-powerful Laxmi, who after Bhagwan, knows the most of what is happening around here. She is Bhagwan’s right-hand man. She’s a combination of softness, intuition and pure potency. Her two secretaries are Arup and Sheela. Arup handles Western affairs, primarily anything having to do with groups and darshans. Sheela handles domestic affairs with the Indians and the work distribution of the entire ashram, together with Vidya, secretary to both Sheela and Arup. These are pretty heavy ladies, incredibly competent and direct in manner and in work.” (Vidya 1980, p. 190. Excerpt in: Sannyas. 1979:2, p. 29)
“Nachdem Bhagwan nach Poona gezogen war, änderte er einige Dinge innerhalb seiner Organisation. Er schlug eine klarere Richtung ein. Er definierte seine Arbeit neu und änderte einige grundlegende dinge in seinem privaten und öffentlichen Leben. Mit Hilfe seiner Sekretärin Laxmi isolierte er sich mehr. Er entledigte sich während dieses Prozesses aller Leute, die nur nutzlos herumhingen. Er machte sich exklusiver, sorgte dafür, das er geheimnisvoller wirkte. Jetzt traf er sich nicht mehr so bereitwillig wie früher mit allen, die ihn sehen wollten. Private Treffen hörten völlig auf.” (Sheela 1996, p. 118)
Women in power
“There is evidence that women have sometimes been historically significant as the power behind a prophet’s throne. This was certainly the case with Osho, whose main emotional support in the first phase of his teaching was his devoted cousin, Kranti. The most important single follower from 1969 to 1981 was Laxmi, the daughter of a prominent Jain businessman and member of the Indian National Congress party, and herself secretary of the All-India Congress Women’s Conference. Osho’s biographer Joshi describes how ‘First as Bhagwan’s secretary and later as managing trustee of the Rajneesh Foundation in Poona, Laxmi has been largely instrumental in the expansion and growth of Bhagwan’s work’… The woman with the greatest power in the history of the Osho movement was Sheela, who took over from Laxmi as Osho’s personal secretary in 1981 and ran Rajneeshpuram until she left in September 1985.” (Puttick 1997, p. 164)
Bodhena on organization
“All this had to be organized, and that it was, in the form of a charitable trust (“Rajneesh Foundation”), responsible largely for running the therapy groups and meditations, and a non profit company (“Rajneesh Foundation Limited”) that was more or less taking care of the media work, books, audio tapes, etc. It was Laxmi who was “managing trustee” for the former as well as “managing director” for the latter.” (Bodhena 2016, p. 56)
Krishna Prem writes on Laxmi in the office 1977
“I stand for a moment in the doorway of the new administration office, watching this woman I love, just savouring the sight of her. She sits in a high backed chair at the centre of a cyclone of activity, dealing, as she’s always done, with everything at once. She’s tinier than before, even more frail and bird-like, but still, an energy of dynamic proportions emanates from her – mercurial and volcanic, but at the same time, centered and alert…
“Have you visited commune?” she asks. “Much growth has happened, hmm?” She spreads her hands to include the women seated on either side of her, one Indian, one European, each dealing with someone. “And now, you see, secretary has secretaries!” She introduces me. “This is Ma Arup,” she says, turning to the statuesque European. “Dutch lady.” Arup flashes me a toothy smile. “And this is Ma Sheela,” she adds, her voice all at once motherly. Sheela returns my gaze directly with a straightforwardness rare in an Indian woman. “Gujarati,” Laxmi whispers. “From Baroda.” I’m not quite sure what Sheela’s native state and city have to do with anything, but to Laxmi they seem as significant as university degrees.” (Allanach 2010, p. 150)
(Note: Ma Prem Arup’s legal name was Maria Gemma Kortenhorst).
Divya remembers Laxmi
“Laxmi deep down is Indian. By Indian I don’t mean the Indian of the society, I don’t mean the Indian mind, but the motherly Indian. I have known her since 1972 and the Laxmi from then is not there any more. That person does not exist any more. She is mysterious now, she is totally changed. Now she is becoming very very soft and I enjoy her energy very much. Sometimes when I don’t feel good I just go into her office for a few minutes and, sitting by her side, I feel very good again. It’s almost the same as being with Bhagwan. She is very straightforward. If she has something to say to you, she will say it, she will even shout at you, but after two minutes she will have forgotten that she shouted at you, that you should be thrown out of the ashram or whatever. You come back after two minutes and everything is okay and she is as loving to you as if nothing had happened. I find that quality really beautiful in her.” (Divya 1980, p. 124)
Krishna Prem on Laxmi’s telepathy
“She leans back in her chair, her eyes half-closing. And I swear she’s checking with Osho. I’ve never seen this happen before, but I get the distinct impression she’s waiting for him to tell her what to say. It’s as if there’s some kind of telepathic hook-up between them, some sort of psychic radio connecting her and him, linking her office in Krishna House with his room in Lao Tzu. And she hasn’t done this with anyone else! While we’ve been sitting here, she’s dealt with everyone quickly, easily, on her own. It’s as if she wants to tune in to him first before replying to us.” (Allanach 2010, p. 177)
Laxmi and her work
“… when Laxmi was in with Osho doing Ashram business (she saw him twice a day, in the afternoon and after darshan. Incidentally, if a sannyasin had written a letter to him with a question, this is when he read and answered it)…” (Veena 2012, p. 115)
Osho answers letters
“At that time, the Master was answering personal written questions, sending his replies on small yellow sheets of paper. His answers were usually telegraphic. When they required more detail, he sent verbal responses through his secretary, Laxmi, who would either deliver them herself or pass them via her own secretaries, Arup and Sheela.” (Rosciano 2013, p. 208)
Osho occasionally produced questions in peoples names, like he had been doing ever since ‘Prayas’ in 1944. (Anando. Personal information. August 2011)
The Office interior
“We were shown into a long room with large glass windows overlooking the front gate and the promenade. There was a long desk along one wall with three women sitting side by side behind it. In the middle was an Indian woman wearing a headscarf; she was so tiny she was practically swallowed by the chair she sat on. On either side of her sat more substantial European women, one with long wary blonde hair, the other with somewhat darker straight hair.” (Stork 2009, p. 95)
Arup on library and office work
“And then I heard that they were looking for a typist for the Lao Tzu library. That was right in Bhagwan’s house, so how could I resist that one? I came running and they said, ‘Yes, you can do it. It’s four hours a day.’ So, I came every day to the house and sat there and typed… A few days later as I was walking through the corridor she says, ‘Come on, let Laxmi show you now.’ And she pulled out those [photo]albums and she spent maybe two hours with me! (There is affectionate softness in her voice, still touched by ‘the little giant’s’ attention). Just like that, in the middle of the day! I don’t know what happened to the office in those days. And she gave me this incredible energy! She was telling me all about her life, about Bhagwan, how she met him and what had happened, and this and that…
I was waiting, you know. By that time the library job wasn’t happening any more and I had to type manuscripts – because they’d found out I was a really good typist. So when I started doing the letters for Laxmi, that was my opportunity of being in contact with her all the time! The letters were just an excuse – it was the closeness that I was interested in.
So I would do that work in the early morning or in the evening whenever she wasn’t around. And then I’d started hanging out with her in the office, and because I was there the whole time, she started giving me things to do, so I started seeing what needed to happen and I started helping her. And then it just grew. Then part of the time I’d be doing the letters and the rest of the time I’d be in the office, and I’d be in all the meetings and all that. She’d come out every night and I’d wait till everybody else was gone and then either we’d sit till two o’clock in the morning – and night after night she’d be talking – or sometimes we’d go home early. But it was like there was my total life! And that lasted for a long time until Sheela came.
Oh god! (She looks up in mock horror!) Then I went through an incredible rejection trip and jealousy when Sheela came. I knew all along, of course, that I was attached to Laxmi and that wasn’t good. It was incredibly painful for me, especially because Sheela’s personality and my personality just clash! Really!” (Arup. Interview by Divya. In: Zorba the Buddha. A Darshan Diary (1982), p. 159)
Photo 2. Inauguration of the Gateless Gate. 1978.
Tim Guest writes on Vismaya, his mother
“As part of my mother’s training she was sent each week to work in a different part of the Ashram administration. She spent her first week in the filing department, where, in a row of tall filing cabinets against the black wall, index cards were filed, along with summaries of letters asking for sannyas, and any other information on each disciple. As letters were received, my mother saw some of the women in the main office writing comments on these cards; she couldn’t resist looking up her own. On the back, scribbled in the wide margin, there was just a single-phrase summary of her first heartfelt letter to Bhagwan: ‘Flowery blurb’. She spent the day in fury, but she got over it. For the rest of that week she amused herself by looking up the cards of everyone she knew. The second week she spent in the books and tapes department, where she helped organize the stream of new recordings and publications. Bhagwan’s every word was transcribed and published; by 1981 here were over three hundred books already in circulation. There were just as many tapes of his discourses. (Even though he believed history was an illusion, he clearly believed in posterity; if the recording equipment stopped, Bhagwan would pause the lecture until power could be restored.) The books and tapes department arranged mail-order sales of these discourses – a major source of income for the Ashram.” (Guest 2005, p. 48)
Sheela in darshan July 1978 on her moving to the ashram
“It seems you had invited Sheela, Indian sannyasin, to become a part of the ashram, and she is undecided. I don’t think my parents will let me come, she says, then explains something more in Hindi.” Don’t Look Before You Leap. Intimate Talks Between Master and Disciple (1983), p. 204.
Satyananda remembers Sheela in office
“Zur linken von Laxmi sitzt Sheila, die hübsche indische Sekretärin. Schwarzes Glanzhaar, rundes Gesicht, dunkle Augen, die in ständiger Rundumbewegung sind, denen nichts entgeht. Extrovertiert, mit einer affronthaften, etwas auf die Nerven gehenden Lebhaftigheit. Stahlhart, wenn es darum geht, die geschäflichen Interessen des Aschram zu vertreten. Sie hat eine durchdringende Stimme, die all anderen Laute in den Rang von Nebengeräuschen verweist.” (Satyananda 1984, p. 219)
Sheela becoming Osho’s secretary
“Unter diesen Umständen war es schwierig, in Indien Land zu kaufen… Bhagwan wurde ungeduldig und wollte nichts mehr von diesen Schwierigkeiten wissen. Seine Laune wurde jeden Tag schlechter. Er wollte nicht mehr in diesem stagnierenden, erstickenden Ashram leben. Er wollte aus. 1980 erklärte er seine Sekretärin Laxmi für unahig und feuerte sie. Sie hatte versagt.
Kurze Zeit später ernannte er mich zu seiner neuen Sekretärin, einen Job, den ich nicht wollte. Ich traute mir diese Aufgabe nicht zu. Ich war darfür nicht ausgebildet. Das einzige, was für mich sprach, war meine Liebe zu ihm.” (Sheela 1996, p. 173)
Press Office was opened December 1977 and provided press kits, press releases, photographs and slides of Osho and the commune, videos on Osho and his work in various languages. Further videos or selected film footage in broadcast quality, updated articles on Osho and the commune life, discourses, quotations by Osho on a variety of subjects and press archive information from 1974 onwards.
“I am bad with grammar and word choice in English, as I did not have an education in English. Another Indian, Swami Satya Vedant, was proficient in English and a significant contributor to the Press Office. But we preferred to have Australian Krishna Prem, British Subhuti, and American Veeten write the press releases in British and American English, although we were mostly working in India or from India. (Keerti. In: Viha Connection, 2002:5)
Osho answers question on Press Office
“Why not? I am a modern man. In fact, a little ahead of my time. I am going to use every possible means to spread the truth: newspapers, video, tape recorders, film, radio, television, satellite transmission, everything. Buddha had to go to every village. You didn’t ask him, ‘Why do you go on walking from one village to another village?’ That was a primitive way of spreading the message. For forty-two years he was travelling and travelling: to do that now would be foolish. I can be in my room, and I can fill the whole world with my message… The press office creates a question in many people’s minds. They think truth need not be declared. It needs to be declared! Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Go in every direction and shout from the housetops! Only then will people hear, because people are deaf.’ I will not tell you to go and shout from the rooftops. Better means are available. Man has invented great technology. Everybody else is using that technology, but when it is used for truth, questions start arising. If you use it for politics, good; if you use it for evil, perfectly right – but if you use it for God, then questions start arising. I’m going to use all kinds of media. It pays to advertise. And this is not a new thing either. Krishna Prem has been with Moses too. He is an ancient pilgrim; he is not with me for the first time only.” (Allanach 2010, p. 283)
Krishna Prem recalls
“Before getting into bed that night I write to him, outlining what’s been happening, telling him what I did in Canada and asking if I’m right in feeling there’s something in the area of public relations or publicity he wants me to do. Running into Vivek on my way to the balcony the following morning, I hand her the note. A bit later I look up from the typewriter to find her standing beside my desk, a big grin on her face. “He said to tell you, you got it. He said that’s what he was trying to tell you. Journalists are starting to come and more are on the way. He wants you to set up a press office to handle them.” And I knew that if I hadn’t understood his non-verbal message, I wouldn’t have been ready to do what it is he wants me to do…”Hey, you guys!” I shout the moment I catch sight of them. “Guess what! I’ve got a new job! I’m going to do PR for God!”” (Allanach 2010, p. 187)
Niranjan on press coverage
“If one takes a look at the newspapers, magazines, and periodicals of those days, they will come to know that almost daily, false and highly provocative matter was being published against Osho and the Meditation Centre. In one very prominent newspaper of Rajasthan, a news item was printed that thousands of naked people sat with Osho in an underground hall every morning to listen to his discourse. There was one other news printed in a very popular Pune newspaper that Osho has raped a Japanese girl and police were enquiring about it. Such baseless and vile news was continuously being published by the media. There would be no follow up on such serious allegations after the news was published. They would simply print it and leave it and then find some other thing to malign Osho. Obviously, vested interests like the priests and the politicians were behind it.” (Niranjan 2012, p. 172)
Ageh Bharti has an incomplete listing of published articles
“All the periodicals in the languages of the entire country would quite often publish excerpts from His lectures, books, and interviews. Several Osho-lovers used to contribute articles to the magazines on demand. Today I do not have the records to testify except some periodicals that brought out articles of His message presented by me alone.” (Bharti 2007, p. 283)
The articles are listed by Ageh Bharti with name of magazine / paper and place of publishing. The number of articles are: 1967:3; 1968:4; 1969:30; 1970:21; 1971:16; 1972:9; 1973:2; 1974:2; 1975:6; 1976:2; 1977:2; 1978:2; 1979:6; 1980:5; 1981:14; 1982:1; 1983:1. Total: 126.
Article in STERN
“Once long before the press office began, she [Laxmi] had allowed a STERN photographer to shoot in Teertha’s Encounter group. The journalist with him, STERN’s Andrees Elten, had done the group to write an article, and both he and the photographer, Jay Ullal, had taken sannyas. When this happened, she agreed to the photos. But after the article had been through the hands of STERN editors, the photos, inadequately explained, just looked bizarre, frightening to anyone who didn’t understand what was going on. And a decision had been reached – no journalists or photographers in cathartic group. Apart from the obvious risks of misinterpretation, this one experience showed Laxmi it wasn’t fair to the participants either, being put on display like monkeys in a zoo… In full-colour spread, albeit off-register in typical Indian style, the STERN photos, plus a few others so horrific even the Germans rejected them, are laid out for all the country to see [in New Delhi magazine]. And the editor’s been clever. Under the simple title, Total Love, there are just a few words: “The Poona Acharya allows disciples in his community to practice what he preaches. The group therapy ‘sessions’ are a means to achieving the ultimate bliss and freedom.”” (Allanach 2010, p. 224)
Press conference in Bombay October 1978
“… a press conference has been called in Bombay and in New Delhi. Just yesterday a photographic series appeared in a new magazine, ‘The New Delhi’, depicting sannyasins naked in a group at the ashram. There was no verbal counterpart, no story with it, only the caption that Acharya Rajneesh’s disciples practice what He preaches!… The photos were obtained by illicit means and taken at angles which insinuated something other than what actually happened.
The press conference, then, is to answer all questions directly and lovingly, attempting to convey to people what is really happening here. Somendra and I have been selected to talk, together with Satyananda, the German reporter from Stern magazine.” (Divya 1980, p. 270)
(Note: Subhuti had for the conference prepared a press kit ‘The Role of Therapy Groups in the Great Experiment of Osho’ (Allanach 2010, p. 229))
Contacting Bombay magazines
“Up and down filthy staircases strained betel-spit red and crammed into elevators reeking of hair oil and sweet talcum powder, we see ‘Indian Express’, ‘Free Press Journal’, ‘Bombay Samachar’, ‘Navbharat Times’, ‘Maharashtra Times’, ‘United News Of India’ – all the Bombay biggies… We secure the publication of a couple of discourse excerpts in the two biggest weeklies, ‘Current’ and ‘Blitz’ – on sex, naturally – and others for special material from ‘Youth Times’, the girlie-mag ‘Debonair’, and ‘Mirror’, a kind of sub-continental ‘Reader’s Digest’. We arrange a visit to the commune workshops with ‘Eve’s Weekly’, a national rag for the ladies, a let’s-see-it-for-ourselves report in the magazine ‘Onlooker’, and score amazingly well with the Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati press. The rest nibble – curious, interested, but wary and somewhat apprehensive.” (Allanach 2010, p. 213)
Krishna Prem on Larry Malcolm article in TIME magazine
“You know how TIME works – reports come in from correspondents and then they’re rewritten in New York to suit the magazine’s style… But the article in TIME shows me one thing – in the game of religion, negative publicity attracts more than positive does. Within the next week I met dozens of people who’ve come to Poona as a direct result of the snide, sneering, smart-ass TIME report.” (Allanach 2010, p. 203)
Subhuti joins Press Office
“There is a journalist around, a thin, balding, former House of Commons reporter, but Laxmi told me not to touch him with a barge pole. He’d apparently written a couple of pieces so negative and awful that Osho, after he’d read them, had sent him a message, saying he could drop sannyas if he wished. But Subhuti, distraught yet tenacious, had tried again – this time with an article for ‘The Guardian’ on Pramod, a one-time British diplomat and EEC official. He’d sent it in to Osho. And it must have been his redemption. When I ask for him again, Osho agrees, making it clear that he still has reservations but that the decision is mine. Subhuti joins us on the balcony. And now we’re four.” (Allanach 2010, p. 201)
Krishna Prem on BBC
“His program is a big one, Laxmi, ‘The World About Us’. It’s shown in England first, then syndicated worldwide – America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, all over. It reaches millions and millions of people. “What he wants to do is go back to London, put together a proposal and submit it to the Indian government. You know, ever since that 1969 Louis Malle documentary on Calcutta, permission to film in India is needed…” The BBC’s application has been turned down!” (Allanach 2010, pp. 202,209)
Subhuti writes on the first Press Statement from Rajneesh Foundation dealing with the refused application from BBC to make a film from the ashram:
“Indian government Vetoes Foreign Filming at Osho Commune.” The government later on made a statement that “Foreign television and film units have been refused permission to document the activities of the Osho commune at Poona as ‘It is felt that a film on activities there would not reflect favourably on India’s image abroad’ the Lok Sabha was informed.” (Allanach 2010, pp. 209,218)
Subhuti in Press Office
“Being in the press office was hectic and fun. My main task was to attack people who wrote articles attacking us, which, given Bhagwan’s notoriety, certainly kept me busy. But I don’t know if it did any good. I rather think that our greatest protection was the natural fear and awe with which most Indian regard their spiritual mystics. They have a centuries-old habit of steering well clear of such people while they are alive, then praising and worshipping them when they’re safely dead.” (Subhuti 2010, p. 42)
Bernard Levin and Peter Jenkins in ashram
“A few days ago he had arrived. In mid-conference. “Much more interesting here,” he said. And he had a journalistic bonus in tow – Peter Jenkins of ‘The Guardian’. “Not bad,” Subhuti commented, “getting London’s two biggest papers at once.” I handed Jenkins over to Subhuti. One of Subhuti’s old House of Commons cronies was now news editor at ‘The Guardian’ and had given Jenkins Subhuti’s name. I like Levin at first glance. I don’t mind having him to myself at all.” (Allanach 2010, p. 250)
Bernard Levin returned to Poona almost a year later before his articles for ‘The Times- were eventually printed. Peter Jenkins never had the guts to fight his family and editors at ‘The Guardian’ and desisted from writing anything on his visit to the ashram. Krishna Prem in 1980 also met with William Rittold from ‘Der Spiegel’ and his wife Heike. He was writing his article from the Blue Diamond pool, reading Satyananda’s ‘Ganz Entspannt im Hier und Jetzt’. Joseph Kammer from ‘Bild-Zeitung’ and Conrad Zander of ‘STERN’ both were among the reporters coming to the press office. Christopher Hitchens, writing for ‘The New Statesman’, but now in 1980 visiting the ashram on behalf of the BBC who has asked him to make a show for ‘The World About Us’. Being fed up Satyananda stopped dealing with journalist and focused on writing his second book.
(Note: Hitchens’ somewhat alcoholic visit to the ashram is reported in his book ‘God is Not Great’ (2007), chapter 14)
Krishna Prem seems in 1980 to have had his share
“I wish I know how to handle my situation. Except for Bernard Levin and a few Indians like Bachi Karkaria, I’ve been faced, for the last couple of years, with an unending parade of total journalistic assholes, of phoneys and liars and manipulating cheats. And somehow the combination of Rittold and Hitchens is the straw that, I feel, is about to break my back.” (Allanach 2010, p. 310)
“The German part of the Press Office is being shifted around again and those people are being put to do translations, as Germany is now eager for more information on us and German publishers are interested in Bhagwan’s books…
This week has been a foreign press visitor’s week. After the Rajneesh wave (as Bhagwan calls it) hit Germany, it went to Holland… Television and magazine people are also arriving from France. Rajneesh appears now on the front covers of big newspapers. A profound article on Bhagwan’s work just appeared in the International Herald Tribune. Next to be hit by the Rajneesh wave is Italy. The Press Office here is preparing. New departments for every language are emerging as a consequence of this worldwide interest.” (Divya 1980, pp. 379,136)
Press work 1980
“So far, I’ve been pretty much bypassed, not interfered with, left alone to watch my buddies getting the chop. For the most part, in press office affairs, I’ve been dealing directly with Osho, via Laxmi, or with Laxmi herself. And we’ve grown: the staff’s over twenty now. We’ve just had two great new additions – Lalit, a wild young Canadian photographer, and Vadan, a lanky Libra from New York. Vadan has joined Madhura and me in dealing with journalists. And he’s good at it: he’s light and funny and has a terrific mouth. Everything’s going fine. Madhura gets the Indians, I take the English and the Yanks and the French, and Vadan, thanks to a ‘STERN’ cover-girl wife and a few years sculpting in Sicily, is handling the Germans and the Italians with ease. Everything’s running smoothly.” (Allanach 2010, p. 275)
Group booking office and bank
“By early 1979 I was working in the group booking office and it would remain my place of work until Bhagwan escaped from us and the ashram dissolved. When I began working there it was a small room tucked into a back corner, but it grew considerably and eventually occupied a key position on the main thoroughfare, between the main gate and Bhagwan’s house. A kind of bank was incorporated into the office which allowed people to deposit their rupees for safe keeping, and then draw on them as needed. As with all ashram businesses, it was open seven days a week. All sales were in cash, in rupee, the Indian currency. Every sale was recorded in a register. Each salesperson had a cash box and two sets of books. Sales of most groups and sessions were recorded in the one register, but certain specific sales were recorded in the second one. I never thought to ask why, but then it was of no interest to me. I mindlessly did what I was told. In the evening we counted the cash and balanced our books, before filling out Bhagwan’s group ‘vacancies’ in time for darshan.” (Stork 2009, p. 117)
“Krishna House had underground chambers where various therapy groups were happening and during the breaks many sweetly apprehensive looking participants wearing ‘in silence’ badges on their orange gowns and hugging stuffed animals in all sizes were hanging around. The meditations were being held in the big Radha Hall at the back of Krishna House. Taking a right turn in front of Krishna House we came to Vrindavan, the kitchen and restaurant that catered for the visitors, a place where Rahna and I would later hang out a lot, and where we made our first contacts with future friends.” (Gayan. In: Bhagawati 2010, p. 47)
“Number seventy was a large house surrounded by tropical gardens, combining a restaurant, sauna, session rooms, a medical center, a large bamboo hut for the kids whose parents lived in the ashram, a few craft shops, as well as residential rooms for workers. The environment was lively, teeming with Italians and French… To eat at number seventy was a rare privilege, as the menu was prepared with imagination and taste, European style (Lyra 2005, pp. 105,107)
“Apart from one Italian and one Greek, most of the other people who were close to Osho in order to take care of his physical needs were English. I suppose, in a way, it was a kind of karmic justice: a reversal of the recently-departed British Raj. In the colonial days, the Indians had served the English. Now it was payback time!” (Rosciano 2013, p. 87)
Divya writes from Lao Tzu House
“Everything is spotless in the house, especially the kitchen. No sooner is something used or spilled than it is washed and dried and put away. The tiles, the floor, the utensils, shine. It’s a large spacious kitchen, midway between an Indian one and a modern western one. On the far wall to the left hangs a beautiful collage with bright multi-shaped and multi-colored pieces done by Bhagwan himself. Baskets of fruits and vegetables line the wall on the left-side floor, next to the door. Two simple, long marble shelves hold Bhagwan’s tea sets (three, each for a different time of the day), His thali (Indian dish), His glass and assorted dishes. Next to them are Vivek’s dishes, and below are those for general use.
There’s a way to do each thing and a particular place for everything… and Bhagwan’s dishes are dried with a towel used only for that purpose. I started washing His thali, a beautiful large sterling-silver bibbed tray with ten small bowls and a chappati plate, three delicate Japanese-made bone China plates, and one lovely, tall, simple but exquisite cut-crystal glass to hold His soda water.” (Divya 1980, p. 450)
“The family, which includes cousins, nephews, and a variety of other relatives, creates a small and colorful tribe inside the ashram. They have their own kitchen, from where at all times the aroma of chai drifts from, mixed with the smell of chapattis, making the place appear like an ancient and pastoral island amid the cosmopolitan and technological trend of the commune.” (Swami Svatantra Sarjano. Interview with Osho’s father Babulal. At: www.oshonews.com/2010/11)
FitzGerald on Westerners pouring into the ashram
“By 1976, the Shree Rajneesh Ashram had become one of the major stopping points along the guru route. In “Seeking the Master” – a kind of Guide Michelin to spiritual India, published in 1980 – it rated the longest entry and the equivalent of at least three stars.” (FitzGerald 1986, I p. 80)
Vismaya writes on the ‘mommas’ running the departments
“The ashram is these days one of the largest ‘tourist attractions’ in the sub-continent, even in the early eighties it was the largest ashram in India. I am to work in the entrails of the engine that drives the international machine of the ashram. Two weeks each in the records department, books and tapes and the main office. And I was to learn to be like them.
But I knew I could never be like these women, or like Deeksha, Susheela, Puja and the other ‘mommas’ who ran the various departments. These are the women who hold together the world. The women who in all communities are the gravitational force that maintains the tribal integrity, that stops its many factions splitting off into outer space, who manage the multitude of detail and demand, from babies’ nappies to strategies of war. These women were the powerhouse that made the whole project to create a thousand Buddhas viable. Without this terrible and wonderful matriarchy, a few mystics would have jumped up and down in a field somewhere and had a few satoris.” (Geraghty 2007, p. 158)
Satyananda moves to Lao Tzu balcony for writing April 1979
“Ich ziehe um. Mein Schreibtisch wird auf die Lao-tse-Haus-Terasse gebracht. Chef-Wächter Krishna empfängt mich am Tor, um mich einzuweisen.
“Das erste, was du wissen musst”, sagt er, “kein starker Geruch am Körper oder in den Kleidern. Also kein Tigerbalsam, Kerosin oder ähnliches.”
Er fürht mich durch einen Seiteneingang ins Haus. Ich stelle meine Sandalen ab, und Krishna bittet mich, ein zweites Paar mitzubringen, das ich nur im Haus tragen soll. Er geht voraus durch einen Korridor. Zu beiden Seiten verglasste Bücherregale, die bis zur Decke reichen. Zur Linken ist die Küche. Die Tür is geöffnet. Prasad sitzt auf den Fliesen, Vivek kocht Tee, und die blonde Yoga Astha, die schon als Achtzehnjärige zu Bhagwan stiess (die einzige Astha ausser der “meinen”) bereitet Bhagwan’s mittagessen vor. Die Küche is gross un hell. Peinliche Sauberkeit.
Wir gehen an Laxmis Zimmer vorbei und am Zugang zum Lao-tse-Auditorium, wo jeden Abend die Close-Up-Darschans stattfinden. Im weiten Rund des Terrakottabodens sitzt ein Wächter auf einem Klappstuhl und liest. Der Korridor führt um eine Ecke. Dahinter beginnt Bhagwans Wohnbereich. Ich sehe von weitem den grünen Vorhang, hinter dem sich die Tür zu seinem Esszimmer verbirgt. In dem Esszimmer wohnt Vivek, die sich Tag und Nacht um Bhagwans persönliches Wohl kümmert. Die zierliche Engländerin mit den intensiven blauen Augen und dem langen braunen Seidenhaar ist ausser Laxmi der einzige Mensch, der jederzeit Zugang zu Bhagwan hat.
Krishna und ich biegen links ab un klettern über eine Wendeltreppe auf eine offene Terrasse. Es gibt noch einen anderen Weg, der an Bhagwans Esszimmer vorbei führt, aber der ist den 24 Bewohnern des Lao-tse-Hauses vorbehalten. Ich bin hier nur Gast…
Durch zwei weitere Türen und ein Treppenhaus führt der Weg schliesslich auf die etwa hundert Quadratmeter grosse überdachte Terrasse., auf der inzwischen mein Schreibtisch aufgebaut ist. Ich bin hier nicht allein – Niranjana, die österreichische Millionärstochter, sitzt an der Schreibmaschine. Sie tippt für das Übersetzerbüro. Ihr Zimmer liegt gleich um die Ecke. Ma Suvita, eine sanfte Schönheit aus England, arbeitet an Darshan-Büchern. Divya tippt auf einer elektrischen Schreibmaschine ein Aschram-Journal.” (Satyananda 1984, p. 371)
Urban on the expansion of the ashram
“The Koregaon Park neighbourhood grew into “a huge multinational camp of seekers,” with orange-clothed sannyasins wandering everywhere. By the late 1970s, there were at least 6,000 sannyasins living in the Pune area, though only about 600 actually lived on the ashram’s grounds. Meanwhile, some 25,000 to 35,000 visitors came each year, filling the meditation halls, therapy sessions, and local restaurants – a seemingly endless flood of enthusiastic, orange-clad young people… Meanwhile, money began to pour in from seekers eager to enrol in classes at the new Rajneesh International University, which claimed to be “the largest and most innovative growth center in the world,” offering over fifty different group offerings by 1977 and attracting some 1,000 to 2,000 people a week. At the same time, the ashram added a publishing house, a press office, a clothing boutique, a carpentry shop that made musical instruments, a bakery, and studios for making jewellery and pottery and for weaving, essentially becoming its own small city with a thriving bazaar.” (Urban 2015, pp. 69,72)
Fig. 2. Plan of Shree Rajneesh Ashram. 1978.
FitzGerald writes on the ashram
“By January of 1979, the Poona ashram had changed decisively in character. In the first two or three years of its existence, it had an Indian flavour. Westerners would meditate side by side with Indian sannyasins, and on Master’s Day the gates of the ashram would open to a procession of men in white robes and women in colorful saris leading white heifers with garlands around their necks. Because ashrams in India tend to be for people with the leisure and the maturity to reflect, a lot of those who came were middle-aged and eminently respectable people from the business world in Poona. There were many ashrams in the city, and for the first few years the Shree Rajneesh ashram seemed not very different from the rest. As time went on, however, more and more Westerners came to the ashram, and fewer and fewer Indians. Finally, the balance tipped, and by 1981, when the guru left for the United States, there were four to six thousand Westerners in his audience every day, and only a few hundred Indians.” (FitzGerald 1986, I p. 84)
Change of colours
“At this point we all start wearing red as well as orange. Later Osho changes the colour of our robes to all sunset colours, which include a softer shade of orange, red, pink and maroon. With Osho, nothing is static. There are different phases of his work which help our growth and our meditation, and help us not to become set in our ways, or ritualistic.” (Devika 2008, p. 60)
Change of name to Rajneesh International No-University
“Rajneesh International No-University will function in freedom and will not seek recognition from any state, country, government, nation or educational authority. It is not prepared to compromise its revolutional approach to education in order to gain official recognition. Nor does it need to do so…
The function of Rajneesh International No-University is to create an intelligent human being who responds to life spontaneously: one who is capable of living in the world without being attached to it, and one who is free from the past. It is a rebellion against formal education.
While not seeking any recognition itself, the No-University will recognize certain schools, colleges, institutes and universities around the world. Hitherto known as Rajneesh International Meditation University, the university has changed its name beginning with the date of this announcement.” (Press Release. 15.04.1981. No Compromise Declaration From Rajneesh No-University. Swami Krishna Prem. Nr. 190)
The chapter on Therapy Groups is only a short presentation of sources to the comprehensive programme carried out by leading therapists from the west who had chosen to use their skills in a spiritual setting. For a fuller understanding of these activities see: Osho Therapy. 21 well known therapists describe how their work has been inspired by an enlightened mystic. (Svagito 2014)
Vasant Joshi writes in his biography
“The encounter and primal therapy groups began in April 1975. Bhagwan has explained the need for therapy in great detail. “Therapy is needed,” explains Bhagwan at one point, “because people have forgotten how to be religious. Therapy was not needed in Buddha’s time; people naturally knew how to be religious. Therapy is a modern need.” And, keeping this need in mind, Bhagwan made it essential for his sannyasins to go through these therapies. “In my commune I have made it a must, “he says, “that everybody should pass through therapies. They will help you to unburden the garbage that you have repressed within yourself. They will clean you, and only in a clear, clean heart is prayer possible. And when prayer arises, the miracle has happened.” (Joshi 1982, p. 124)
“My therapists are not only therapists, they are meditators, too. And therapy is a superficial thing. It can help to clean the ground, but just to have a clean ground is not to have a garden. You will need something more.” Light on the Path. Talks in the Himalayas (1988). Ch.14.
“My emphasis here is on therapies which don’t go on for years and years; just a few days of therapy to clear the ground for meditation.
We are running here almost one hundred therapy groups, for every possible human being. But his therapy is not the end; therapy is a preparation, clearing the ground for meditation.
This is the only place in the world where therapy is being used as a clearing of the ground for a tremendous transformation from mind to no-mind.” Zen. The Mystery and Poetry of the Beyond (1990). Ch.1.
The ashram as a lab
“My ashram is a lab, we experiment here. That is creating great trouble because man has forgotten to experiment. We are experimenting in a multi-dimensional way. We are experimenting with Sufism, we are experimenting with Jainism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity; we are experimenting with Tao, Tantra, Yoga, alchemy. We are experimenting with all the possibilities that can make the human consciousness whole and a human being rich. So this is a new experiment; it has never been done before in such a way. This is a synthesis of all the paths.” The Secret of Secrets (1983). Vol.2, p. 137.
Love and therapy
“Love is the best growth group. No Encounter, no Gestalt, no Primal Therapy, can be compared with it; it is incomparable. In fact Encounter, Gestalt and Primal are needed because people have forgotten how to love. Otherwise in the ancient days love was enough – that was the only therapy. And it is a natural therapy: it wounds, it heals, and finally it brings you to a point where you become so aware of the agony and the ecstasy that you see the whole game – that both are going to remain together, you cannot choose one. Either you have to choose both or you have to drop both.
And the day one becomes so alert that he can drop both, a great silence descends, a silence that is not of the earth. That silence is freedom, that silence is absolute freedom. You can then love a woman or a man with no attachments, with no possessiveness. You can simply share your love energy, but it creates no trap.” Snap Your Fingers, Slap Your Face and Wake Up! Initiation Talks between Master and Disciple (1984), p. 170.
“Osho was unique in being the first Eastern guru to deeply embrace Western psychotherapy. In his ashram in the 1970s a number of 1960s-style therapies were used, led by several experienced therapists. At that time the Pune ashram where Osho’s experimental approach was unfolding rivalled the famous growth center in northern California known as Esalen.” (Mistlberger 2010, p. 161)
Tratak and kirtan
“It was an experiment in all the techniques that could possibly be used to pursue Buddhahood. New ideas were being introduced all the time. Some, like Dynamic Meditation, were adopted as valuable on a permanent basis. Others were seen as having a place in the ashram as short-term measures, such as tratak and kirtan meditation techniques. Once their usefulness was considered to be at an end they were discarded.” (Thompson 1986, p. 20)
(Note: Tratak is ‘fixed gazing or staring’. Kirtan is an Indian devotional song involving repetitive chanting)
Dwari on therapy
“Osho encouraged his therapists to create processes for human development and growth in consciousness – often with his personal input – but it was always clear that meditation was his essential vision. Therapy functioned mainly as a bridge to meditation.” (Dwari. In: Svagito 2014, p. 196)
Therapies in the ashram
“One of the rare things about Bhagwan is that he is as much at home with modern therapies as with traditional spiritual paths, as familiar with the work of Reich, Perls, Rogers and Assagioli as with the Vedas and Upanishads, Zen, Sufism and Tantra.
He began to use therapy groups in the middle of 1975 and with seventy groups happening every month with one and a half thousand participants, the ashram is now easily the largest growth centre in the world. Group leaders are trained and experienced therapists, many from well-known centres in the West like the Esalen, Radix and Arica Institutes in the U.S.A., Kalptaru, Quaesitor and Community in London and Zist in Munich. All are sannyasins working under Bhagwan’s guidance.” (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. A Space Where God Can Descend. RF, 1979)
Margot Anand writes
“I had been told about Arica by John Little, who, together with a group of people from the Esalen Institute in California, had participated in a lengthy spiritual training in South America with a Bolivian mystic named Oscar Ichazo. Ichazo named his school Arica after the town of Arica, Chile, where the initial training had been conducted. Now Ichazo had relocated to New York and I had begun to investigate – this was my second visit.” (Anand 2017, p. 85)
Sarjano writes on Fritz Perls and Wilhelm Reich versus Osho
“Sta vo cercando di descriverla con parole che potrebbero essere di Reich, perché è stato l’approccio seguito i terapisti reichiani che l’hanno fatta entrare a far parte delle loro terapie, pur allievo di Fritz Perls ch si è trasferito nell’ashram di Rajneesh, una rivista di psicanalisi ha chiesto: “Che differenza c’è tra Reich e Rajneesh?” Risponde Allen Lowen (Swami Rajen): “Rajneesh è Reich + Buddha!” (Sarjano 1979, p. 143)
FitzGerald on Alan Watts
“In fact, it was Alan Watts who constructed what would be the intellectual bridge between the therapists and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. In his “Psychothrapy East and West,” published in 1961, Watts proposed common ground between the therapists and the sangha, or Buddist clergy. His opening paragraph read, “If we look deeply into such ways of life as Buddhism and Taoism, Vedanta and Yoga, we do not find either philosophy or religion as these are understood in the West. We find something more nearly resembling psychotherapy.”” (FitzGerald 1986, I p. 76)
On Alan Watts
“FitzGerald argues that it was Alan Watts who constructed the intellectual bridge between the Eastern mystical traditions as being closer to psychotheraphy than to philosophy or religion. He thus influenced many people to travel to India to discover meditation”. (Puttick 1997, p. 15)
Quaesitor in London
“The first ‘growth centre’ in Britain was Quaesitor, founded in London in 1970 by Paul and Patricia Lowe (later Teertha and Poonam)… In 1972 the Lowes discovered Dynamic Meditation… Shortly after this discovery, the Lowes went to India to meet Bhagwan and became two of his first western disciples… Poonam ran Kalptaru, the London centre, from 1972 until she set up the ‘city’ of Medina in Suffolk in 1981, which ran until 1984 when she was invited to Rajneeshpuram”. (Puttick 1997, pp. 18,169)
FitzGerald on Teertha
“He had, he said, no academic training in psychology; he had studied at Warwickshire University and had worked at a variety of jobs, one of them in photo advertising. On a trip to the United States, he had wound up, somewhat by accident, at the Esalen Institute at Big Sur – then the center of the growth movement. He spent a year there and then returned to London… in the spring of 1972, Teertha – then Paul Graham Lowe – went to Bombay to see Rajneesh… He became a disciple and went back to London to turn his center into a Rajneeshee meditation center. A year later, he moved his entire center to Bombay. After Paul Lowe came Leonard Zunn and then Michael Barnett, another English therapist and the author of a book called “People Not Psychiatry,” and after them a steady flow of growth-movement therapists… According to Teertha, Rajneesh showed immediate interest in what the therapists were doing, and promised to incorporate some of their therapies into his own enterprise. Teertha took the promise for mere politeness at the time, but three years later Rajneesh did just that. The Westerners in his ashram first taught primal-scream and encounter-group therapies, and later, when there were more of them, branched out into Gestalt, bioenergetics, rolfing, and so on.” (FitzGerald 1986, I pp. 73,78)
Satyananda on Teertha
“Bhagwan hat schon zweimal in der Lecture davon gesprochen, dass Teertha nicht mehr von der Existenz getrennt sei – ein Mann ohne Ego. Deshalb, meinte Bhagwan, könnte er direkt durch Teertha arbeiten. Teertha sei “ein hohles Bambusrohr”.
Im Aschram spielt er die Rolle eines “Chef-Jüngers”, wie Ananda, der Buddhas Chef-Jünger war. Zu seinen Sonderaufgaben gehört es, morgens vor der lecture die Sutren über Lautsprecher zu verlesen. Er lebt mit Maneesha, der schönen, dunkelhaarigen Australierin, im Lao-tse-Haus direkt über Bhagwasns Zimmer.” (Satyananda 1984, p. 368)
Teerthas’s encounter group
“Of the therapies, however, Teertha’s Encounter groups had the reputation of being among the best and certainly among the toughest. Each ran for seven days. Under the guidance of Teertha, ‘the angelic Rasputin’, participants confronted each other, confronted themselves, acted out fantasies and guilts, fought, made love, catharted, sulked, resisted, and surrendered. The emphasis was very much on spontaneous action rather than on carefully thought out and verbalized interchange. Thus Teertha began each group with the injunction, ‘The way to do work in this group is to do it. Not to talk about it, but to do it.'” (Thompson 1986, p. 53)
Festival in London
“Bhagwan in London” Letter dated May 11, 1977 from Poonam, Kalptaru Rajneesh Meditation Center in London, on The Festival of Mind and Body with 50.000 people passing through during the six days. (Sannyas, 1977:4, p. 43)
It will be hard to argue against the fact that Swami Ananda Teertha and Swami Anand Somendra were the most prominent figures in the vast sea of therapists in Poona. They are to be mentioned here also due to their involvement and work with Osho’s publishing. Teertha was the first English editor of ‘Rajneesh. Rajneesh Foundation Newsletter’ (1975-1981) and of the discourse series ‘The Way of the White Clouds’ (1975), not to mention his daily reading of questions and sutras at morning discourse. Somendra is an editor and author of introductions in a number of discourse series published in the mid-1970s.
(Note: This author has participated in several intensive therapy groups with Teertha and done energy work with Somendra. He is most thankful to both of them for their gifts).
Teertha met Osho in Bombay and was initiated 03.10.1972
“And so he arrived in bombay late at night on the 1st of october on bhagwan’s first english lecture, which was the first of the tantra series. It was 1972, at woodlands, laxmi told him to attend the discourse in the evening…”
Teertha: “So I came (sigh). I came to the discourse… and I hadn’t really seen a picture apart from on the locket, which was very small. So, I didn’t really… I didn’t know what to expect. But as he walked down the corridor, I was just stunned by… just incredible (voice breaking). Oh I had a dream about some eyes and I’d some psychic readings and several people had mentioned that a man was with me with dark brown eyes and a long beard, very beautiful and very loving and, ah… as soon as I saw him, everything connected.
When I saw him… something really happened…
[The following morning, on the 3rd] I went into his room (pause) and sat down and it was as if I’d come home. He was everything! He was all these people that had helped me. He was the father and parent. It was just as though I’d been relieved of something… I remember he said: And then you leave the rest to me (sigh)… Right now, I can’t think how I understood and I am sure I didn’t understand (swallowing his tears)… I just feel that he really meant it. He wasn’t one of these people I had met before. He had it, and I don’t know even what ‘it’ was either – it was just, ah well, I knew I was there forever. There was no conflict, no anything.” (Divya. Interview with Teertha. In: Only Losers Can Win In This Game. A Darshan Diary (1981), p. 453)
Teertha’s library goes to the ashram
“Rajneesh, though his disciples never knew it, learned a great deal from the Westerners he met in Bombay and in Poona. Teertha brought him his entire library, and many other sannyasins brought him books. Rajneesh was a voracious reader, and quite a good listener as well. His English became colloquial, and he learned how to do the more profound work of translation.” (FitzGerald 1986, I p. 78)
Divya interview with Teertha
“I never met paul lowe (teertha’s old name), though I’d heard a lot about him and his then wife, paticia (now poonam). It was they who introduced the whole growth movement trip to england… It was at that time that quasitor, the first growth center in the british iles and the continent, really started. (Quasitor means seacher. Teertha has settled on this name because it conveyed something which could not be pinned down or put into a box)…
The next time I saw him was in bombay, during the first days of the year 1974. I had arrived with shiva to take sannyas. We saw him outside woodlands. I noticed his beautiful silken hair which flew with the breezes that blew over the open grassy slope by the driveway. He had a manuscript under his arm. He was wearing a sleeveless robe. He talked and looked and moved so carefully! I felt terribly self-conscious in his presence (something I was to feel for many years)… Then, a few days later, we happened to have our reserved seats in the same cabin as he had his reserved seat on the express train to mount abu; we were on our way to the january meditation camp. All I remember here is my own self-consciousness…
A few months after the move [to Poona] maneesha arrived and it was then that the era of teertha-and-maneesha started.
Teertha’s job in those days was to lead the meditation camps and the regular on-going meditations: dynamic and kundalini. He also started the newsletter. When groups started happening in august 1975, christ chaitanya took over both the meditations and the newsletter editorial. Today  teertha leads two encounter groups a month. The rest of the time he councels – one can see him at all hours, floating through the ashram gardens with a weeping damsel in distress, or between two heavy-set faces of a he and she…
Teertha sitting before me on a white textured double bed. We are surrounded by bare white walls. I recognize bhagwan’s old bookcase from woodlands, to one side. We are inside a peaceful, almost-precious quality of emptiness and silence. It is darshan time and we are alone. I love him, but I don’t know him. I have no idea if or how he will reveal himself. He begins in a feather-soft voice…” (Divya. In: Only Losers Can Win In This Game. A Darshan Diary (1981), pp. 442-52)
(Note: Other interviews with Teertha (Paul Lowe) are in: Sannyas magazine, 1978:3; New Frontier (USA), January 1988; ‘The Experiment is Over’ in: Here & Now (GB), February and March 1988; Esotera (Germany), 1988; Magazin 2000 (Germany), August 1988; International Academie of Meditation. Newsletters, January, February and Spring 1988. In an unpublished excerpt from tape Paul Lowe is in Bavaria Easter 1988 talking on Shree Rajneesh. Two pages.)
“By the time his Encounter group was over Roger [Sw. Prem Riten] had bonded with the group leader. This man was like the high priest of Bhagwan’s temple. He lived in Bhagwan’s house on the first floor in a room above Bhagwan’s bedroom. He placed his bed so that it was exactly over Bhagwan’s bed, no doubt the better to receive the energy transfer from the master as he slept. The high priest was well known for his charms. Women fell in love with him all the time and he had his pick of the loveliest of them… Bhagwan once said of his high priest that he was enlightened in his first chakra.” (Stork 2009, p. 101)
Teertha’s encounter groups
“In the first phase of this work in Pune in the 1970s, the more dramatic groups, especially the Encounter group run by Paul Lowe (Ananda Teertha), became renowned for representing both the possibility of ego-shattering breakthroughs into higher states of consciousness, or, on occasion, bone-shattering exercises in experimental totality. It was not uncommon for bruises, black eyes, and occasionally a broken limb to occur.” (Mistlberger 2010, p. 169)
Divya writes on Somendra
“A quick note on Somendra. I met him years ago in London when he was directing the growth center called ‘Community’ which he’d taken over as ‘Kaleidoscope’ from Bill Grossman (now Swami Deva Ashoka). He was one of the most popular group leaders around, with dancing turquoise eyes and a fiery-energetic disposition. He was good at Encounter, aggressive, firm and daring. Then he took sannyas at the end of 1974 and stayed in Poona by the master for about eight months. Much happened to him, physically, psychically and emotionally. He never wanted to do a group again, not in the old way.
He returned to London where he stayed for approximately eight months. He went through a very intense period of isolation and deep subjective experience. When he returned to work he found himself working more and more with healing methods of moving subtle energies – something which he’d done only occasionally before. He always had that ability; now, with Bhagwan working through him, groups really took off in an entirely new manner.
He returned to live in Poona shortly afterwards and is leading the Leela and the Awareness groups. Bhagwan has called him one of his ‘horses’ (like ‘knight’ in chess). His groups are very, very powerful. So, although he can be quite eccentric, everyone understands that Somendra must be going-through-his-thing.” (Divya 1980, p. 284)
Interview with Somendra
“She had some photographs of Bhagwan, and my first impression when I looked at them was that he looked like a member of my family – kind of very cozy and familiar… Well, I thought I’d be coming some time, but I didn’t think any more about it. Then in early 1974 I had a letter from Teertha (a friend who was living in Poona). I’d sent him a copy of the book that I’d published in England and Bhagwan had read it. According to Teertha, he had connected to me through it, enjoyed it, and asked Teertha to write to me and ask me to come. So I had this letter saying, ‘Come… Bhagwan wants you to come.’ Now it’s even more shattering than it seemed then because of Bhagwan’s stature, but then it was very flattering, and I felt a very definite pull to drop everything then – but I didn’t. I guess I still didn’t feel quite ready to come… It was at a hindi lecture, and when he finished talking, he stepped off the dais and walked over to me instead of walking towards the door, and said, ‘So you’ve come. I’ve been waiting for you.’ I made a gesture as if to say something like, ‘Okay, old chap.’… when I first came [nine month ago] I felt that nothing had essentially changed. The atmosphere seemed to be the same as when I left. Then I began to find a lot of changes which upset me. Suddenly I found him to be inaccessible, because last time at the hindi lectures at this time of year there’d be maybe only twenty-five people or so, so there was always tremendous work going on. I wasn’t my illusion. He used to spend a tremendous amount of energy working on me in lectures. He used to have this whole process of looking and coming into me. I realised that that wasn’t going to happen this time with two or three hundred people in front of him – and my mind missed that.” (Somendra. In: The Passion for the Impossible. A Darshan Diary (1978), p. 174)
(Note: Somendra is the author of ‘People Not Psychiatry’ (1973) and he writes in his ‘Time is an Illusion’ published around his 70-year birthday (Barnett 2000, p. 11): “In 1974 Michael Barnett visited the Rajneesh Ashram in Poona for the first time, and within hours became a sannyasin. He stayed for eight years, with periods in London and Brussels, but in 1982 he left the sannyas movement under a cloud, moved to Germany with his girlfriend and started all over again. Slowly his seminars began to flourish and in 1984 he founded the Wild Goose Company in Switzerland, and moved to Zürich… After a six month break in Spain he moved to the Villa Volpi, on the shore of the Lago Maggiore in Italy.” Michael Barnett is included in Rawlinson 1997, pp. 175-78. See also: Mistlberger 2010, p. 178)
Devapath on breath therapy
“Osho talks about his psychology as Parapsychology, or The Psychology of the Buddhas. This psychology moves from the known to the unknown and ultimately to the unknowable – from the body-mind into the mystery of life. Our breath is the most precious tool in this journey. Nothing else works without it. It is the essence of life. If we cleanse our body-mind from all its tensions we can ride on the wave of breath from sex to super-consciousness. (Devapath. In: Svagito 2014, p. 273)
Vasumati on therapy
“When I went to see Osho and asked what approach I should adopt in my new group, he said, “Do nothing. I am leading the group and you are just in the room. So just be present and I will take care of the rest. And remember if it is a bad group, it is my group, but if it is a good group, it is also my group”… My understanding about Osho therapy is that we are vehicles for a greater energy to come through us. Sometimes we called it ‘Osho’, sometimes ‘Existence’, sometimes ‘the Whole’, but it alludes to the fact that we need to be empty. It is our emptiness, not our fullness, that has value and this allows a deeper truth and healing to manifest… Changes happen quickly, often on an energetic level rather than in a cognitive way. In other words, changes to people in the groups occur in the form of expression, release, transformation – maybe simply as a radiance, a glow in their faces, or a sudden wave of heartfelt love – and only later are we able to figure out what this means on a psychological level. The energy itself has a power and rawness that dissolves stuck patterns.” (Vasumati. In: Svagito 2014, p. 258)
Radha on Tantra
“Second, I want to keep my secrets. There is great power in keeping a secret – or ‘the secret’ as I like to call it. In the several meetings I had with Osho in the privacy of his room, in his whispered transmission to me, he told me to keep ‘the secret’ and this gave birth to a much bigger experience of Tantra inside me.” (Radha 2005, p. 217)
Divya interviewing Arup
“Arup is a remarkable groupleader. Anyone who’s done a group with her will rave about her insightfulness and the kind of clarity and energy-field which she will seem to emanate during the process. Her speciality was the Enlightenment Intensive. When Bhagwan started the therapy programs in August of 1975, first with the Primal group and then with the Encounter, Arup was asked to follow with the Enlightenment Intensives. Like all the rest of us group leaders, she’d thought that her group-leading days were over and was quite taken aback by the developments – which happened, incidentally, during one of her short trips back to the West.
Whenever I had gone off on a trip, something devastating would happen. The first time I came back to find that the library work was finished and the second time it was the group thing!” (Arup. Interview. In: Zorba the Buddha. A Darshan Diary (1982), p. 161)
Osho on Enlightenment Intensive
“So in fact the question ‘Who am I?’ is a koan. Maharshi Ramana used to give that to every disciple, to go on thinking ‘Who am I?’ But man is so foolish that those disciples are still repeating ‘Who am I?’ They think that some day the answer is going to come. There is no answer! That question is such that by asking it continuously again and again, you go on getting deeper and deeper into yourself. One day you suddenly see that the question is absurd. ‘I am!’ and there is no way to answer who you are. All answers are false. Then there comes great relaxation, and in that relaxation is knowing… An answer never comes; there is no answer. Life is a mystery: not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived.” Don’t Bite My Finger, Look Where I’m Pointing. Initiation Talks Between Master and Disciple (1982), p. 44.
Divya interviewing Arup on Enlightenment Intensive
“It was around this time that she wrote to Bhagwan a long letter, listing the various points of the Enlightenment Intensive and suggesting some ways of intensifying it here. Those were the days when we would get personal and sometimes detailed advice from him, and specific answers to our questions – through letter or in darshans. After a few months, when groups became too numerous and the whole thing was taking off on its own, he came to answer us less and less verbally and encouraged us instead to tune into him more from the inside by following our feelings. Arup’s letter, which she showed me, contains one of the few samples around of his handwriting! He has commented on the margins, paragraph by paragraph, things like, ‘Follow the same’, ‘Push as much as you can’, ‘Follow the original cycle…’, and many little pointers like that. The prize, however, is the two or three times he said, ‘You leave everything to me and become just a medium!” (Arup. Interview. In: Zorba the Buddha. A Darshan Diary (1982), p. 162)
Ganga on Enlightenment Intensive
“The most famous and well-known life koan is “Who am I?” which grew out of ancient Indian spiritual traditions. It was popularized and attracted global attention in the mid-[20th century] through the teachings of an enlightened mystic living in South India called Ramana Maharshi.
The actual structure of the process, originally called Enlightenment Intensive, was created by American therapist and spiritual seeker Charles Berner in 1968. In a stroke of genius he put together three elements:
The Question “Who am I?” which, as I say, came from India.
The Western method of co-counseling, developed by American psychotherapist Carl Rogers.
The discipline of working on a koan in the Zen Sesshic tradition facing the wall in silence.
Berner’s intention was to evoke in his client the ‘sense of self’ – as he called it – without having to face a wall in meditation for endless years. His observation was that people who acquired this sense of self made faster progress in a therapeutic situation than those who didn’t. Looking for a solution, he came up with the Enlightenment Intensive structure.
When I arrived in Pune, the process was renamed Intensive Enlightenment by Osho and was one of the first groups to be introduced. From 1976 onwards, hundreds of people arriving at the Shree Rajneesh Ashram (as the Osho Meditation Resort was then called) took part in the Intensive Enlightenment process on Osho’s recommendation.
Ashram facilities were very limited but the number of participants in the group kept expanding. The biggest one took place with two hundred and fourteen people who had access to only six showers. Yes, you might say, we were dedicated to the search!
In the late 90s, Osho replaced “Who am I?” with the question “Who is in?” and there is a story about how this happened, which I will relate shortly…
Another historical nugget happened in 1989, during a series of discourses given by Osho called ‘Yahoo! The Mystic Rose’. In one of these discourses, Osho hammered “Who am I?” as the most stupid question ever asked. This was very surprising to many listeners, since on another occasion Osho had made it clear he was very fond of “Who am I?”
Anyway, next day I sent him a question, asking if I should look for another job, since I was working in a process where we did nothing else but asking this ‘stupid question’ all day long. His answer came back: the new question is “Who is in?”
A new ball game altogether.” (Ganga. In: Svagito 2014, p. 431)
(Note: Rajneesh has spoken on the koan ‘Who Am I?’ in his answer to questions several times, e.g. in ‘The New Dawn’ (1989). Session 10, p. 106. Next to the koan also the mondo was a much used device in Japanese practice of Zen: a brief, sharp and to-the-point dialogue between the master and disciple. Enlightenment Intensive is further presented in Avikal 2016, p. 56)
American Prageet was giving sessions in Rolfing and bodywork. She arrived in the ashram Summer 1975. (Punya 2015, p. 58)
Medical team Feb 1978
“Navanit heads the group of five doctors/therapists who form the ashram’s medical team. The care they give is pretty special, and there are those unique touches to whatever they do that you could only find in such a place as this. Bhagwan promises Navanit tonight that in the ‘new place’ he’ll have a crew of at least twenty. It’s growing, enthuses Navanit, but sometimes I have doubt in my ability.” (Maneesha. In: Believing the Impossible Before Breakfast. A Darshan Diary (1981), p. 30)
Photo 3. On the lawn with disciples. 1974.
Richard Price, director of Esalen growth center in Big Sur
“In 1977 Dick announced much to the confusion of his closest friends and colleagues, that he and Cris had become devotees of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a charismatic Indian guru who was at that time synthesizing Tantric philosophy and Western psychology in a particular potent mix… Dick received the name Geet Govind from the guru (through the mail) and began planning what would become a month-long trip to Poona… Dick spent the first two weeks in the ashram’s meditation facility, where things went reasonably well. Then he moved into the encounter group sessions and participated in a session with an English psychotherapist who had studied with Will Schutz in London. Still well enough. Then in a session next door, a woman got her leg broken in a fight, apparently generated by the group session. This upset Dick deeply. What sealed his rage, however, was a second scene involving Rajneesh himself. Shortly after the broken bone, a woman stood up in the question-and-answer session and asked the guru about the violence. She questioned whether this was really necessary. According to Dick, Rajneesh not only did not respond the question, he turned on the woman and tried to intimidate and shame her into silence. That was it for Dick. Disgusted, he left the ashram in Poona, much as he had earlier left Ichazo’s Arica retreat in New York.” (Kripal 2007, p. 364. See also: Time magazine, January 1978)
Satya Bharti on Richard Price
“When Richard Price, the director of Esalen (the well-known growth center in Big Sur, came to the ashram for the first time and did the encounter group – he’d taken sannyas through the mail two years earlier after reading some of Bhagwan’s books – he was so outraged by the sex and violence in the group that he dropped sannyas, writing to Bhagwan about what he called dangerous, irresponsible therapy.” (Satya Bharti 1992, p. 109)
Subhuti on Esalen
“But when Price came to Pune and joined the Encounter group, he soon freaked out and left. He couldn’t handle the paradigm of no limits and the possibility of violence.
Esalen was well known in America, which is why Time magazine used it as a way of introducing the public to Bhagwan – hence the headline ‘God Sir in Esalen East,’ which I already mentioned. Both places offered a wide range of therapies for self-discovery.” (Subhuti 2010, p. 36)
(Note: “God Sir” at Esalen East. (No author). Feature on ashram therapies. Time magazine, 16.01.1978. Page 57-59.
Richard Price later wrote to ‘Time’ magazine to correct any notion the Esalen East was Esalen at all, or that Esalen itself was about to become Poona West. ‘Time’ never published that letter, but it is reproduced in ‘The Upstart Spring’. It reads:
“Rajneesh is well worth reading… He can speak brilliantly of the transformative possibility of human life. His “meditations” I find worth practicing. However, the ashram “encounter” group is an abomination – authoritarian, intimidating, violent – used to enforce conformity to an emerging orange new order rather than to facilitate growth. Broken bones are common, bruises and abrasions beyond counting. As such it owes more to the S.S. than to Esalen. Until the compassion Rajneesh speaks about with such eloquence is reflecting in his groups, I am content to be known as “Richard Price” rather than as “Geet Govind.” (Kripal 2007, p. 365. Quoted from: The Upstart Spring, p. 302)
Richard Price, famed founder of Esalen, later repudiated his sannyas status and wrote the ashram a private letter (23 Feb 1978) that was to be published in Indian and American media. (Brooke 1986, p. 145)
Rachel Storm writes
“Several leading figures of the Human Potential Movement made their pilgrimages to the ashram. Among them were Gerda Boyesen, founder of Biodynamic Therapy, a development of Wilhelm Reich’s teachings, Richard Price, founder, with Michael Murphy, of Esalen, Bernie Gunther, a body-centred therapist who gave workshops at Esalen, Paul Lowe, co-founder of Europe’s Esalen-modelled therapy centre Quaesitor and Michael Barnett, another European group therapy leader and author of ‘People not Psychiatry’. Richard Price later repudiated the ‘authoritarian, intimidating, violent’ methods used in the ashram’s encounter marathons, recounting examples of limbs being broken in the disciples’ efforts to break through to enlightenment. But many sannyasins were prepared to take the risk: ‘I have always known that discipleship is not a safe process,’ says one. ‘If it is real it is dangerous.'” (Storm 1991, p. 101)
On violence in therapy groups
“Most people’s deepest inhibitions revolve around sexuality, aggression, and violence because it is here that the deepest taboos lie. One guru utilized “workshops” where various expressions of sex, rage, and intimidation were used to break through people’s boundaries. Bones were broken and group, impersonal, and even forced sex occurred. This is indeed a fast track to breaking down personality. By telling people this was a path to liberation, deep taboos could be broken without initial guilt.” (Kramer 1993, p. 96)
(Note: Kramer’s writing of ‘The Guru Papers. Masks of Authoritarian Power’ first appeared in a limited edition 1984 while Bhagwan was in Oregon. It says on page xvii: “Given that the view much of the abuse of authoritarian power as essential structural, ‘The Guru Papers’ was never meant to be critical of specific individuals – leaders or followers. Thus we do not name names, though those familiar with some of the occurrences may be able to glean the identity of the figures involved.”)
Puttick on therapists
“Osho delegated very few spiritual powers to any disciples. This was partly because he was profoundly anti-clerical, seeing priesthoods as the ‘source of all kinds of ugly institutions’ and the root of all misery and repression, instilling obedience through fear and guilt. Nevertheless, his therapists performed certain priestly functions. The catharsis and breakthroughs experienced by group participants were comparable to the experience of absolution produced by the confessional.” (Puttick 1997, p. 178)
“A general convergence of religion and psychotherapy has been happening during the past few years creating various psycho-religious therapeutic methods. In this cohesion, special attention must be given to the movement around Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh… The psycho-religious movement around Bhagwan is the most outstanding and influential within the broad range that has been developing during the last decade.
Bhagwan creates an image of Jesus that is enriched with the features of an Indian Yogi and Master….” (Central Office for the Ideological Questions for the German Protestant Church. June 1980. Germany. In: I Say Unto You. Talks on the Sayings of Jesus (1980). Vol.2. Back flap)
Amitabh on therapy in the ashram
“At the Shree Rajneesh Ashram in Poona, India, a provocative laboratory in consciousness that is unique to the world is unfolding. As if rising out of nothingness, an existential center of transcendental psychology is emerging, bringing together Western therapeutic and humanistic growth movements with Eastern esoteric teachings and meditative practices. The unique, revolutionary feature of this melding of traditional with modern, East with West, love with meditation, is that it is interwoven on the fabric of the Master-disciple relationship…
In the manner of a Master Magician, Bhagwan creates from apparent nothingness, and in a wink presents the world with a stage upon which a new level of human actualization is now possible.
In short, now in Poona, India, is the most flourishing, broadest-based therapeutic community and Growth Center in the world today.” (Robert M. Birnbaum (Swami Prem Amitabh), Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist; Associate Professor, San Francisco State College. In: The Wisdom of the Sands. Discourses on Sufism (1980). Vol.1. Back flap)
Mistlberger on therapists
“The chief therapists at the ashram during the 70s, or ‘group leaders’ as they were generally called, acquired a fame and prestige within the community that at times would rival Osho’s. Some of the more notable ones over that time were Michael Barnett (Swami Anand Somendra), Paul Lowe (Swami Ananda Teertha), Allen Lowen (Swami Anand Rajen) and Robert Birnbaum (Swami Prem Amitabh). By the early 1980s some of these therapists (such as Barnett and Lowe in particular) eventually left Osho, either believing themselves to be sufficiently awakened as to not need him anymore or simply feeling that their time with the master was complete.” (Mistlberger 2010, p. 87)
On managing the therapy groups
“A couple of years later I would work in the booking office where people registered and paid to attend groups and individual sessions. Most people came to make their bookings with the small slips of paper they had been handed at darshan the night before. When the shutters were lowered at the end of the day, we went through all the group cards and filled in a pristine white card with the number of places still empty in each therapy group, and whether women or men were needed to balance and fill the group. The white card was for Bhagwan, and had to be ready for him before darshan each evening.” (Stork 2009, p. 98)
Therapies and meditations
“Group therapies on offer included encounter, neo-Reichian bodywork, polarity balancing, primal therapy, hypnotherapy, bio-energetics, the Samarpan group, the awareness group, the Anatta group, Enlightenment Intensive, the Centering group, the Leela group, and the Tantra group. Formal meditations included the famous Dynamic Meditation, and the Kundalini, Nadabrahma, and Gourishankar meditations. Therapies were put on for two weeks in every four. Meditation camps ran from the eleventh to the twentieth of every month, five different meditations being performed daily. Therapies cost up to 1000 rupees each. A one-hundred rupee book of tickets sufficed for the ten days of the camps.” (Thompson 1986, p. 52)
“Groups. The therapy groups at the ashram took place from the 21st of each month to the 10th of the following month. Trained Western professionals, all Sannyasins, led the Western therapies and the Eastern methods: from primal, encounter, gestalt, bioenergetics, neo-Reichian, rebirthing, and enlightenment intensive to zazen, Vipassana, and tantra. Over 80 such groups took place each month, accommodating 200 participants.” (Amitabh. In: Aveling 1999, p. 112)
Osho’s discourses on masters and psychology
“The talks in English will be on anything from India, China, Japan, Israel, Greece or the West, from Patanjali to the mad Bauls of Bengal, from Lao Tzu to Heraclitus and Jesus and… You name it – from anywhere or any time in the history of the world, and Bhagwan has either talked about it or has a scheduled talk on it in 1981! However, one constant during the English series seems to be His references to psychology. That is western man’s keenest interest in this age, which is also why there are so many psychotherapy groups here open to westerners. It is through them that He works on the western mind!” (Divya 1980, p. 111)
“A couple of days later I happened upon an acquaintance of mine from New York, a successful, elegant and urbane psychiatrist whom I had met through a lover of mine. He was sitting in the garden looking horrible. This once handsome man resembled the skull and crossbones warnings on bottles of iodine. Drained, hollow cheeks, eyes glazed. Gingerly I approached him to say hello and asked if everything was o.k. He simply mumbled “Encounter Group.” He had been figuratively stripped naked and attacked throughout the group.
He pointed to a woman with bandages around her head. “Encounter,” he mumbled once again. He nodded at a man with a cast on his arm. “Encounter,” came from his lips this time, barely audible. Fear raced through my body. This was much more that I had bargained for.” (Jayapal. In: Bhagawati 2010, p. 142)
Susan Palmer writes in 1992
“The therapy groups were a major source of income for the movement. ‘Time’ (16 January, 1978: 57) reported that between 1975 and 1978 more then fifty thousand “seekers” had visited Poona to try out the famous groups. According to the lengthy study in the ‘Oregonian’ newspaper, “For Love and for Money” (1985), they drew from one to two thousand participants a year, and claimed in a financial statement filed with Maharashtra state charity officials in 1980 that therapy accounted for $188,253 of the movements savings.” (Palmer. In: Aveling 1999, p. 269)
Vasant Joshi writes in the Epilogue to his biography
“Bhagwan’s study of the human mind and psyche has made him a forerunner in a field he calls “the third psychology” or “the psychology of Buddhas.” Freud, Jung, Adler, and other psychologists gave birth to the first type of psychology, the psychology of the pathological mind. Maslow, Fromm, Janov, and others concentrated more on the growth of a healthy mind. Their approach was “holistic” and they gave birth to the second type of psychology, humanistic psychology. The third type of psychology, says Bhagwan, never existed before. Buddhas – who were beyond the pathological and the healthy mind, who were just “no-mind” – lived before, but none of them ever tried to make a scientific study of the awakened mind, except, as Bhagwan points out, Gurdjieff… But P.D. Ouspensky, upon whom Gurdjieff depended for communicating his insights in a scientific way, left him in the middle…
In view of the difficulties faced by Gurdjieff, Bhagwan took upon himself a double role. He has described the nature of his work in creating the third psychology:
“I am trying to work in the third dimension and I have not taken the risk that Gurdjieff took. I am not depending on anybody. I am Gurdjieff plus Ouspensky. It is hard work to live in two different dimensions. It is very hard, but anyway, it is good. Because nobody can betray me and stop my work – nobody. So I am continuously moving, in the world of no-mind and in the world of books and analysis… I have been working continuously on both levels; there is every possibility that the effort can succeed.”” (Joshi 1982. Epilogue, p. 172)
Turiya remembers Vipassana
“When I came to Pune in 1975 with my husband and daughter I was twenty-seven-years-old and within a short time Osho told me I should work with Teertha (Paul Lowe) as co-leader of the renowned Encounter Group.
This was after he’d told me: “Do Vipassana meditation. You don’t need anything else, you don’t need to do groups.”
Vipassana is an ancient meditation technique that requires the meditator to sit in silence with a straight back and watch his breath for forty minutes, then walk in silence for twenty minutes. This cycle is repeated continuously from 5:30 am until 11:00 pm.” (Turiya. In: Svagito 2014, p. 299)
(Note: When Osho after World Tour returned to Poona in January 1987 Vipassana was the first group meditation to be offered).
Alan Atkinson writes
“The development of the Poona techniques of Western psychotherapeutic methods combined with meditation appears to be unique and shows that, whatever one might think of Rajneesh, he certainly has at least some special flair for attracting people to Poona, that reveals how far the ashram appears to have been from just another soul-sop or haven from the world for disillusioned youth or ageing hippies. Some of the most ardent disciples and co-workers in the Rajneesh movement are doctors, teachers, former clergymen.” (Alan Atkinson. Amended from reprint in: The Citadel. Poona City Magazine. February 1991. Also as Press Release. Digital press echo distribution. 1991).
(Note: First appeared in ‘Saturday Review’, Adelaide, Australia. 01.08.1981)
Margot Anand writes from the very first Tantra group
“The date was set for my first Tantra group. I was informed of the basic rules: All participants had to have a darshan with Osho first. No one could come to this group if Osho had not sent them personally. The Tantra group was reserved for those who had already done inner work and had enough maturity to tackle the delicate issue of sexuality in a group setting.
Everyone, including me, had to go through a medical check to make sure we had no viruses or infections, from a common cold to herpes. Participants would be freely touching each other and sexuality might also be involved, so basic measures of hygiene were in order.
The group was to be held in Chaitanya Chambers, a series of specially built underground, soundproof rooms with padded walls and mattress-covered floors. These had been designed for primal therapy, so sannyasins could shout and scream at full volume – all day long if need be – without alarming our neighbours in Koregaon Park, the residential area in which the ashram was located…
The first few Tantra groups I led at the Poona ashram happened around 1978. Imagine those days: life with new freedom given by the invention of the pill – the first truly liberating birth control method – and the openness to explore sex before the advent of AIDS.
It was easy to focus on the here and now because there was no Internet, no emails, no mobile phones, no Facebook, etc. It was an ideal environment in which to explore an open, wild, and free sexuality. It was a revolution that began in the sixties in the United States and then, for me, flowered in the seventies in Osho’s ashram in India. I’m glad I could experience it.
However, telling this story on paper for the first time has taken a huge effort on my part. In my mind’s eye, I can see the readers of today judging those no-holds-barred methods of therapeutic work as naive, amateurish, dangerous, and reinforcing trauma rather than healing it.
In those days, we did not have the gentle therapies that have been developed since, such as Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing or the Theta Healing process. This was a time of encounter groups, primal therapy, bioenergetics, scream therapy, and radical confrontational work…
Tantra, as Osho has said many times, is a ladder reaching from sex to superconsciousness. Sex is the first rung. Superconsciousness is the last. The folly of most spiritual disciplines is that they try to remove the first rung of the ladder – condemning it – and then urge people to climb to the top of the ladder.
Osho changed all that. He put the first rung back in the ladder and showed us how to honor it, and use it to begin the climb to higher states of consciousness.” (Anand 20017, pp. 144,159,151)
“To his disciples, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh offers what the Masters before him offered. The potent difference is that he is alive, so rather than a dependence on commandments, dogma, or method, we are able to have a personal experience, a communion, a love interconnection, and in so doing, directly touch the transcendent space within.
Further, he is a man of our time. Thus, the targets he aims at are those he sees are at the root of the modern person’s dilemma: sexual and aggressive repression, being controlled and controlling, convention, living for the future, attachments to physical and psychological survival. In fact, any position at all, even being caught in the choice between a meditative and worldly life, comes under scrutiny as just one more subtle form of entrapment.
This article, written in 1980, covers my experience with Bhagwan at his ashram in India during the previous six years, and affords some glimpses of the way Bhagwan works with his disciples.” (Amitabh 1982, p. 19)
On Osho’s therapy
“Soon after he first settled in Pune and a community of seekers had begun to gather around him, Osho began to integrate new Western therapeutic approaches into his work. Known broadly as ‘Humanistic Psychology Movement’ these methods had evolved in the West as a response to the limitations of Freudian “talk therapy” and B.F. Skinner’s behaviourism.
Osho combined a wide variety of these therapy groups and processes as stepping stones, with his revolutionary ‘active meditation techniques’, which soon earned the community a reputation as “the world’s finest growth and therapy center.” It attracted those in search of personal transformation, some of the most innovative therapists and bodyworkers in the West, and people interested in meditation. Osho worked closely with both therapists and group participants to ensure that these offerings were in tune with his vision of a psychology that aims not to restore people to the functional neurosis society defines as “normal,” but to open the doors to a radical transformation of consciousness.
This book, ‘Enlightenment is Your Nature’, lays out Osho’s approach as he explains that therapy is used only as a cleansing process, that it is only a preparation for meditation. In his vision, therapy has a different function from that used in the “outside world” where therapists and councellors try to bring the person back into the mind so they can function efficiently in society instead. Osho uses therapy only to prepare the ground, cleaning out the weeds of neurosis in order to plant the flowers of meditation. Rather than trying to “fix” the neurotic mind, the person is supported to be courageous enough to take a step beyond the mind – and that happens through meditation.” (Promotional marketing. Osho 2017)
4.3 Lao Tzu Library
Osho Lao Tzu Library houses Osho’s book collection in Lao Tzu house where also his private quarters are located. In fact the house is more like a shell around the library, as the whole interior is dominated by library matters with packed shelves along the corridors. In a corner a door is leading to Osho´s privacy, and in the former Chuang Tzu Auditorium a samadhi has now been constructed for the ashes of Osho. Already in Gadarwara he wanted his whole house full of books as we have heard, and a similar process seems to have been the case in Lao Tzu House. Also here the library has taken over the whole house and ‘corridor library’ with attached rooms and wings may be the proper term to identify the physical design of Lao Tzu library.
His personal library was moved from Bombay to Poona around Enlightenment Day in March 1974, and the books from Osho’s apartment in Woodland were first kept in boxes in Lao Tzu before being unpacked and then shelved in the new library. Even before unpacking Osho would require certain books to be retrieved from the boxes for his excessive reading.
Tim Guest writes
“When Teertha, Poonam’s husband, first discovered Bhagwan in the early 1970s, he shipped his entire library of philosophy, religion, and self-development books over to Bombay as a gift to Bhagwan. Bhagwan was a voracious reader (among his sannyasins, tales about his literary appetite were rife: he read fifteen books a day, a hundred books a week).” (Guest 2005, p. 39)
Teertha interviewed by Divya on moving Rajeesh’s library to Poona
“When the move to poona happened, it was teertha, with astha, who stayed behind to clear, label and ship bhagwan’s entire library to poona. A few months after the move maneesha arrived and it was then that the era of teertha-and-maneesha started… Teertha sitting before me on a white textured double bed. We are surrounded by bare white walls. I recognize bhagwan’s old bookcase from woodlands, to one side.” (Divya. In: Only Losers Can Win In This Game. A Darshan Diary (1981), pp. 443,446)
The first librarian after the move to Poona 1974 was Italian Lalita who had the initial task of working out the interior design of the library. She was involved in managing the library until 1987 when she moved to Boulder in the US Midwest.
“During the move from Bombay to Poona, I was at Kailash so i can’t say anything about it. When i started working in the library with Krishna Priya (around 1974 or 75) all the books were stored in boxes in Lao Tzu (in the old servant’s quarters – which are now the office) and were moved only when the bookshelves in the main library were finished.
All the books were catalogued by author and by title. The catalogue was started in Bombay. In Bombay, Vivek was taking care of them while other sannyasins were going out to buy them.
Maitreya, Narendra and Asha were some of the Indian sannyasins i remember taking care of the Hindi collection.
For your information, Krishna Priya could be a good person to interview – she started working in the library before moving to the Lao Tzu kitchen. Also Narendra and Asha (Indian sannyasins) maybe? Or Rabya, or Gayan (if she is in Poona) or… my brain cells are failing… can’t remember any other names of people who might be in Poona.
We were providing Him with a selection of about 10 to 30 new titles per day (the subject matters were religion, philosophy, psychology, sociology, humour, arts etc. – no novels). He would choose some of them and the others would be returned to the bookstores. He would go through a few books per day. However, if He had a book He really liked, He would spend more time reading it and would annotate it with dots on the margins. Sometimes He would copy an anecdote, a poem, or a paragraph to use during discourse. At times, He would remember a particular section in a book He liked and would ask if we could find it… not knowing the author or the title we had to fall back on our sixth sense!!!
Let me know if these answers are too brief… i could go on and on with precious remembrances…” (Lalita. E-mail. 08.11.2000)
Gayan writes on her years in the library
“For me the first thing in the day was taking up the new books to the roof (which was a flat tiled place). There I spread out a sheet and put the books on top – standing up and opened up. The last thing in the afternoon was to bring the books back down to the library. The books needed to be aired because pretty much all of them had a strong smell and the sun and wind were taking the smell out, which was important because of Osho’s allergies to Smells.
When Osho needed new books to be read, His bookcase was rolled out to the library and stacked with clean new books and returned to the room while He was in the shower. Read books that came back from Osho’s room (normally brought by Vivek) were now signed by Osho in the front and in the back had the date of reading. Now the books got new file cards, were filed in the file system and put away on the shelves. There was no system for sections by subject or anything – they went into the shelves as they came and got put in so their top ends would create a wavelike line and their colours would change and create a beautiful coloured image.
There was always some movement of books, either old shelves or the glass doors needed some repair or we got new shelves like the wooden ones in the corridor end close to Osho’s room and the ones in the entrance hall to His room. These shelves were made by sannyasins in the Ashram. These books were if needed aired, cleaned, repaired and if they didn’t go back to their old shelf filed into a new place. We pulled all the books with drawings together and made an area for Osho’s books and all His translated books, as well as all publications which were written about Osho or mentioned Him. The same with the magazines.
We found some bookworms in some books and we thought in some shelves as well. (It might have been 79 or 80. I might have a way to find out when I am back in Brazil). After a little research we decided to “bake” the books. We brought a small electric oven and started baking the books by ca. 50 degrees Celsius for maybe 15 to 20 min. The shelves with the holes we wouldn’t use again.
I went to Bombay about once a month together with a small group of sannyasins in an Ashram van. We started early in the morning and returned the same night. I went around in town myself in a taxi. “Strand’s” was one of the places where I regularly stopped by and had a look at the books. The people there were really friendly and helpful and you could feel the respect they had for Osho and likewise for me as the “helping hand”. They packed up the chosen books, made a list and off I went to the publishers. “Strand’s” had normally the most interesting selection of books and the latest editions. – I went to about 3 different publishing houses (I don’t remember the names) where I looked around in the warehouses and chose whatever I thought suitable. Here too they would make a list, pack up the books and have someone carry the parcel for me to the taxi. If there would be many books and heavy parcels I would leave the parcels at the publishers and do a collecting trip after I finished going round choosing the books.
Back in the Ashram I cleaned the books and send them in to Osho (via Vivek). He would look through them and choose the ones He wanted to keep. I packed up the rest into separate parcels for Strand’s and the publishers, marked the lists and sent it back with the next transport to Bombay, where it was returned and paid.
There were also shops in Poona where I went. There was “Manney’s Bookstore”, which was the most interesting. Then there was one shop on MG Road and one on Deccan Gymkhana, but I forgot the names.
Ma Lalita read through the “Books in Print” etc. and marked books Osho might be interested in. He looked through it later and marked the ones he wanted her to order. The same she did with the joke books: she marked the jokes and Osho ticked off the ones he wanted her to type out. He had two wooden boxes in His room where He kept the jokes He hadn’t used yet – these boxes are now in the library. The jokes He used in the discourses went after the discourse to the editor.
Lalita ordered the books in USA and UK through sannyasins. They took care of getting the books and sending them through other sannyasins that were visiting Poona or they mailed to the library in the Ashram. It was Ma Sushila in the US and [?] in the UK. – You need to find Lalita. She will be the best to tell you all the details and I think she has a better memory for names too! Osho wanted her to be the librarian of the library in Rajneeshpuram, but it never came to the point; the books were never unpacked.” (Gayan Anand. E-mail. 12.10.2006)
Gayan remembers from working in the library
She went on her own to Strand bookshop in Bombay to buy new books for the library, where Narendra was the librarian taking care of the collection in Hindi. She remembers two file cabinets with lined cards, one cabinet according to authors, the other according to titles. At the bottom of the cabinets there were a smaller system for books in Hindi. Cards also had ISBN numbers, but no subject classification was made. This may have been done later on by Kavisho.
In the spring of 1981, before moving to Oregon, Gayan was sick at that time but she remembers that Lalita did all the packing of the library with a few helpers. The file cards were at that time put into the books before books were placed in containers.
Back in January/February 1987 Osho wanted some books before the unpacking to be placed first on the shelves for his walking into Lao Tzu Auditorium. Kavisho became the key important figure during Poona Two, and Gayan has in Brazil kept some photos of the old cabinets, the drying on the roof after rainy season and of other daily routines. Krishna Priya was working in the library too, in 1974-75. (Gayan Anand. On phone from Hamburg. 23.08.06)
“I was not in tune with the Hindi publications etc that were in the library. I think Sw. Narendra did that (he is now leading the center in Dehradun), if not him it must have been some other swami, Narendra might know or Lalita for sure.
In the library there must be all the leaflets etc. Maybe Swami Pratabh from the translating dept. could help and translate for you or Swami Amit, Osho’s brother, who is also working with translating.
About numbers of the whole library stock I don’t remember much. When I started to work in the library, that was somewhere spring of 1978, I sort of remember that it were 32,000 or 35,000 volumes at that time. But there should be records in the library computers. Maybe Lalita has a better memory for numbers.” (Gayan Anand. E-mail. 03.04.2011)
Maneesha on library work
“When not translating [Italian] Lalita is Bhagwan’s chief librarian. She works in his house and goes twice a week to Bombay to hunt through and haunt the shops there, and in Poona every other day, to purchase books for him. Ten a day he reads, it’s said! Catalogued the way he likes, in special Bhagwan order, you can see next to ‘The Last Hours of Jesus’ something called ‘Intestinal Fitness’. New books that smell too strongly of printer’s ink she faithfully collects each day to lay on the terrace upstairs to sunbathe and to air…” (Maneesha. In: The Tongue-Tip Taste of Tao. A Darshan Diary (1981), p. 94)
Krishna Prem on Osho’s reading and library
“The balcony, accessible only through the library, runs along the front of Lao Tzu House, overlooking the gravel drive we used to walk, years before, towards darshan – in the days when a half dozen or so would gather around him on the lawn or during monsoon, under the covered car port leading to the main entrance of the house.
Osho, Laxmi told me, reads up to ten books a day. As food was for Ramakrishna, my feeling is that books are Osho’s anchorage, his grounding, his way of staying in the body, something, he’s told us from time to time, that becomes more and more difficult for him as time passes. I also recall him saying once that his reading, his books, had helped him prepare for the deluge of Westerners he always seemed to know would one day come. “Your authors,” he’d say, “are the mirrors of your minds.”
There’d been a lot of books in Woodlands, but compared to the Lao Tzu library the Bombay bookshelves had been bare. There must be thirty thousand books at least, from Freud to Raymond Chandler, Sri Aurobindo to Mark Twain. Long ago, the original library had spilled over into floor-to-ceiling cabinets that line the corridors of the house, inching, with each new shipment, down the hallway, closer and closer to the back door. The books are arranged helter-skelter by the colour of their bindings, and located through a complex card system – the Master’s device, swears the Italian librarian Lalita, to short-circuit her once ordered, logical mind.
Half the balcony is used by her to air the books before Vivek takes them in to Osho. The allergies again…
One afternoon something starts to register. A gift arrives for him – a block of English cheddar and a big, glossy art book… [Vivek] tells Laita to put the book away for the time being. “I’ll save it until he’s ill,” she decides. “About the only way I can keep him in bed is with picture books.” (Allanach 2013, p. 179; Viha Connection, 2014:2, p. 19)
“When Osho moved to Poona in 1974, a library was set up for his huge collection of books, some 150,000 volumes, just a stone’s throw from his bedroom. He had read every last one of them, and signed his name on the first page. He had also colored more than 600 of the volumes, 900 books in which he painted the endpapers and 3,500 of them in which he colored his signature. Osho was not only a rebel, poet, mystic and intellectual par-excellence, but a contemporary as well!
The only instructions for his Italian librarian was to place the books in no logical order, but to put different sizes and colors together to make a wavelike pattern. No two similar books were to be next to each other. What a headache for Lalita to catalog! Every so often, she would get a request for a particular book, and she had to find it ASAP. When I lived shortly in Osho’s house, I enjoyed looking at the books lining the corridor; just standing in his library was a treat, as the tomes seemed to radiate energy.” (Abhiyana 2017, p.153)
Maneesha remembers Lao Tzu library
“In its entirely the collection of books numbered, by 1981, a staggering fifty thousand. Some passages in books from his student days had small, neat comments written in them. On every book in his library Bhagwan wrote – or drew – his signature and the date. I had seen some examples of Bhagwan’s signature as it evolved over the years; it was written in different colored felt-tip pens, and changed from a small inscription to a bold flourish, into which were interwoven many different patterns, often quite decorative.
I’d also had the opportunity to use the catalogue system – unique in a way that only Bhagwan could dream of! His preference, Lalita explained, was for colors and sizes to be mixed together to create a rainbow-colored wave effect. So I found that ‘The Secret Life of Jesus’ had its place alongside ‘Intestinal Fitness’, and so on!” (Forman 1988, p. 89)
Each section of Osho Lao Tzu Library has been given a name by Osho: Ramakrishna, Kabir Balcony, Sanai Corridor, Rabiya Corridor, Vimalkirti Wing, Devateertha Wing and Maitreya Wing. During the reconstruction of Lao Tzu House in Poona Two, Zarathustra Archives were turned into the Dentist Room, and Mansoor archives into the Chair Room, from where Osho’s chair every evening was taken to Buddha Hall for the Evening celebration. Wings and corridors were in 1998 renamed as sections.
Lacie Poona Two: laotzu(2)
Fig. 3. General plan/layout of Osho Lao Tzu Library.
Not to scale. In progress.
– al ovenstående tekst medtages.
General plan of Lao Tzu Library 1999:
- In entrance from portico, Virmalkirti wing with cupboards of dark brown wood, archive of English and Hindi editions plus translations. Mirrored entrance to Osho’s private rooms.
- Where corridor starts: Archive of books on Osho, including publications mentioning his name. 11 shelves of books by sannyasins on Osho, mostly nonfiction, also a few fiction. Theses too, and spare copies of biographies.
- In Ramakrishna: Most valuable material: Old signatures, new signatures and paintings. Dictionaries and reference works behind the glass table.
4: Sanaii corridor with its 26 sections is next to Ramakrishna the oldest part of the library, shelves with second oldest material. Photo session took place here. Latest signatures; Osho’s earlier kitchen, now archive for slides and video, Sanaii was earlier double packed with paperbacks. Also in Sanaii, Hindi bookmarked books and four copies of all discourses published. In earlier kitchen now archive, including video and slides. In Mansoor at end corner of Sanaii Corridor we find unpublished darshan diaries and full sets of Rajneesh/Osho magazines internationally.
5: Rabya Corridor shelves books bought by Osho.
- Now Meditation Academy in Devateerth. Hindi books shelved along the walls.
- In Maitraya Osho’s discourses in Hindi. Also Anando’s office. (Rabiya. Interview and own observation. December 1999)
Satyananda on Lao Tzu Library
“Die beiden grössten Räume der Villa liegen im Erdgeschoss und dienen als Bibliothek: 33.000 Bände in Regalen , die bis zur Decke reichen. Eine junge Ma sitzt auf einem Kissen auf dem Boden und sortiert Karteikarten, Amerikanerin, gelernte Universitätsbibliothekarin.” (Satyananda 1984, p. 26)
Sheela on Lao Tzu Library
“Jahrelang hatten wir Tausende von Dollars für Bücher ausgegeben, die Sannyasins aus dem Westen mitbrachten. Er hatte eine eindrucksvolle Bibliothek, sowohl was die Qualität als auch Quantität betraf. Ich hatte viele Sannyasins über seine Lesegewohnheiten reden hören. Sie sagten beispielsweise: “Er liest so viel, damit er in seinem Körper bleiben kann…” Ich hatte nicht viel davon verstanden. Ich war mir jetzt aber sicher, dass sein Schweigen mit seiner Gesundheit zu tun hatte.” (Sheela 1996, p. 147)
Veena on Guiness Book of Records
“Initially, when a photo session was scheduled, Osho suggested something for me to make – a hat, a hood, maybe a cloak or something. After a while, however, he started to ask me for ideas, and I spent many hours poring over costume and historical books in the library. I was lucky, I had, according to the Guinness Book of Records, the largest private library in the world to browse through. I was trying to be a little prepared… if that were ever possible with a Master like Osho.” (Veena 2012, p. 124)
(Note: When later on Veena asked Lalita she heard that the entry in Guinness Book of Records was but a rumour)
Veena on Gayan working in the library
“Gayan was a beautiful German woman who was working in the library helping Lalita, the librarian. Gayan was later to be the dancer dancing around Osho on the podium in Rajneeshpuram. She could knit. She was one of those people who tucked the left-hand needle under her arm and flicked the right-hand needle in and out at the rate of knots. I thought the problem was solved until Lalita said she needed Gayan to help with the books because they were packing up the whole library to ship to the USA.” (Veena 2012, p. 136)
(Note: Later on Gayan was engaged in a project in the Brazilian jungle in the 1990s. With Nivedano, the Brazilian drummer, in the jungle at Val de Lua she was working on The New Man Project).
“Gajan (das deutsche Landkommunemädchen) ist für den Nachschub verantwortlich, fährt mehrmals im Monat nach Bombay und kommt mit grossen Bücherkisten zurüch. Bhagwan schaut sich alle Bücher an und entscheidet, welche gekauft werden sollen. “Wenn er viele zum Ankaufen auswählt”, sagt Gajan, “dann freue ich mich. Dann habe ich gut gewählt.” (Satyananda 1984, p. 171)
Strelley writing on Nandan
“After a few weeks the message came that she [Nandan] was to begin working in the library. Bhagwan had an extensive library inside Lao Tzu. If books came in that were too scented, they would be rebound and put out in the auditorium for a time to air. Previously this had only been done by Lalita, an Italian woman” (Strelley 1987, p. 184)
(Note: Nandan remained engaged in library work until she left the Ranch later on)
Deeksha in library
Laxmi: “‘Bhagwan says you’re to work in the library.’ So for three months she worked alone in the corridors of Lao Tzu house filing and cataloguing Bhagwan’s thousands of books.” (Maneesha interview with Deeksha. In: Halleluja! A Darshan Diary (1981), p. 209)
Statistics for Lao Tzu library are impressive. It contains an official figure about 100.000 books, mostly English non-fiction, but also books in Hindi, adding up to two kilometres of shelves. The author’s estimate is less than 80.000 volumes. Earlier figures for the growth of the book holdings are: 1974 20.000 volumes; 1977 33.000 volumes; and by 1981 50.000 volumes. Valuable parts are the four copies of all Osho’s published discourses in Hindi as well as in English, translations thereof, darshan diaries published and unpublished, theses, and full set of international Rajneesh/Osho magazines. There are also numerous biographies and secondary works on Osho or mentioning him. (Evald 2005)
All books have been read, signed and dated by Osho, except about 10.000 titles which have been accessed from 1987 onwards (‘Osho Times International’, 01.08.1991). Some 3.500 books contain various styles of his signature in colour or as part of a painting. A full-page painting of Osho inside the cover is found in 900 books. These special books are kept in the library’s best protected hall, Ramakrishna.
Only a minor part of Osho’s total reading throughout the years is now in Lao Tzu Library. Figures for his total reading over the years are uncertain, but must be in the region of 150,000-200,000 books, based on 5,000-10,000 books each year between the 1950s and 1980. A kind of speed-reading had been developed by him which allowed him not only to remember what he had read with a photographic memory, but also to underline and add special coloured dot in the margin in his dialogue with the text. (See Fig.3 Osho’s bookmarks, in Volume I / Part 3. Bombay)
Each day new books were brought to him. Following Eastern tradition his reading never took place in the library itself, but in his private room. It constituted the major part of his daily schedule in Bombay and Poona until 1981, when his eyes were so weak he had to stop reading.
Fig. 4. Special library codes (Attributes)
These are the explanations for the codes used for the Special books in the library:
OS – OLD SIGNATURE
‘Rajneesh’ or ‘Rajneesh Chandra Mohan’ etc, or three-part hieroglyphic style with color inside
NS – NEW SIGNATURE
Regular signature with color inside (many of these are exhibited around the commune as silkscreen prints from Gatasansa (Japan))
PA – PAINTING
Signature with color outside the signature. (Often is a full page painting done on the end page(s) of the book).
LS – LATEST SIGNATURES
Signatures from 1988 onwards (after the World Tour). New books only.
LP – LATEST PAINTING
Airbrush paintings done in 1988 (after The World Tour).
As of 9 May 1994 this is our count of: Additional Codes:
Old Signatures(OS) 844BM – Bookmarked
New Signatures(NS) 1487BS – By Sannyasin
Paintings(PA) 645BO – Books On Osho
Latest Signatures (LS) 180BZ – Osho Mentioned
Latest Paintings(LP) 13SA – Signed by Author
Categories in the library also include: Books I have loved, and Sutra-books for discourses, etc. (Kavisho. Interview. Poona. August 1999)
As a book connaisseur his whole life Osho was giving specific instructions for the style and character of the library’s interior design and for the various techniques to be used. Among other features the books are arranged on the shelves according to size and colour. Two books of the same size or colour are not to be placed next to each other, so the effect is that of waves going up and down, adding a much lighter impression of the packed shelves than usually seen in libraries.
His priorities for the library were aesthetics combined with cleanliness. This general aesthetic approach also influenced his choice of materials and colours. In early days Ramakrishna was arranged more like a study, with all wooden shelves and cupboard doors in cream colouring, a colour used throughout the whole corridor library.
Photo 4. Music Group.
The acquisition of books was based on requests from Osho supplemented by the librarians. He was going through ‘Books in Print’ and his marginal notes are to be found in the volumes. Books were ordered in hundreds in one order from Bowker, later using cd-rom for book selection. After he stopped reading in 1981, the acquisition of books continued until 1989 only, whereas the accession of new editions and translations of his own books is still ongoing.
Early Hindi books were sometimes dated in both Hindi and English. Dates were changed from front to back. According to some interviewees, even encyclopedias were read by Osho. At least they were signed and collated when brought to him and later on referred to.
Solid works of reference are lined up on the airy glass shelves: Two full editions of ‘Encyclopedia Britannica’ (14th ed.1968 & 15th ed.1974), ‘The Oxford English Dictionary’ (12 Volumes), ‘Encyclopedia of Religion’ (16 Volumes) and as mentioned: ‘Books in Print’ (1967-89). Also ‘The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi’ (30 Volumes) are included. According to some interviewees, even encyclopedias were read by Osho. At least they were signed and referred to.
The co-dependency of access to a physical library and spiritual development is of intriguing nature. In Norbulinka in Lhasa, a physical combination of library and meditation room is found in the private quarters of the 13th and 14th Dalai Lama. The meditation room of the 13th Dalai Lama is placed on first floor above his library on ground floor in Tuzin Palace, and the meditation room of the 14th Dalai Lama is adjoining his library room on the secluded top of the New Summer Palace. In Lao Tzu House no specific meditation room was needed as the resident’s enlightenment made this arrangement unnecessary. An enlightened state of consciousness no more requires a specific setting for meditation, and the library comprises, as we have seen, most of the interior space in his residence.
Meredith in library
“The first time I went to Vivek’s room, I was considerably more agog than I might otherwise have been at such an amazing moment. It was further into his house than I had ever been before. Every inch of the walls of the passageway was covered with books… I was soon in the long corridor to his rooms, past those beautiful books. (Meredith 1987, pp. 102,156)
Satyananda in Lao Tzu House
“Er führt mich durch eimen Seitengang ins Haus… Er geht voraus durch einen Korridor. Zu beiden Seiten verglasst Bücherregale, die bis zur Decke reichen. Zur links die Küche… Wir gehen an Laxmis Zimmer vorbei und am Zugang zum Lao-tze-Auditorium, wo jeden Abend die Close-Up-Darshans stattfinden. Im weiten Rand des Terrakottabodens sitzt ein Wächter auf einem Klappstuhl und liest. Der Korridor führt um eine Ecke. Dahinten beginnt Bhagwans Wohnbereich. Ich siehe von weitem den grünen Vorhang, hinter dem sich die Tür zu seinem Esszimmer verbürgt. In dem Esszimmer wohnt Vivek, die sich Tag und Nacht um Bhagwans persönlicher Wohl kümmert… Krishna und ich biegen links ab und klettern über eine wendeltreppe auf eine offene Terrasse… Durch zwei weitere Türen und ein Treppenhaus führt der Weg schliesslich auf die etwa hundert Quadratmeter grosse überdachte Terrasse, auf der inzwischen mein Schreibtisch aufbebaut ist. Ich bin hier nicht allein – Niranjana, die österreichische Millionärstochter, sitzt an der Schreibmaschine. Sie tippt für das Übersetzerbüro. Ihr Zimmer liegt gleich um die Ecke. Ma Savita, eine sanfte Schönheit aus England, arbeitet an Darschan-Büchern. Divya tippt auf eine elektrischen Schreibmaschine ein Ashram-Journal… Zehn Mädchen sind in der Bibliothek und in diesem Haushalt beschäftigt, der mit der Geräuschlosigkeit und Präzision eines Schweizer Uhrwerks abzulaufen scheint.” (Satyananda 1984, p. 171)
In Poona One a large part of Lao Tzu House was occupied by residents, a space which later on was to be changed into library premises:
“Lao Tzu added another six rooms  and people were moved into these. The Lao Tzu personnel included Laxmi; Vivek (…); Chetana, who did Bhagwan’s laundry; Savita, an Englishwoman who did proofreading (…); Pratima, who ran book printing and distribution; Hamid (…); Shiva (…); Haridas (…); Teertha, a right-hand to Bhagwan on the esoteric side of things, whose girlfriend Maneesha, another proofreader, also taught in the children’s school; the seamstresses Veena and Gayan; Asta, who cleaned Bhagwan’s rooms; Nirgun, who cooked for him; Nandan, who worked between the library and cleaning; Lalita, who ran Bhagwan’s library; a woman named Anurag, who did writing for the press office; Christ Chaitanya (…); Champa (…) and Daniel.” (Strelley 1987, p. 297)
“While Lao Tzu residents didn’t see Bhagwan any more than everyone else – he never left his room except for lectures, darshans, and an occasional dentist appointment – his energy and vibe permeated the atmosphere, turning it into holy ground, sanctified.” (Bharti 1992, p. 114)
During the 1970’s the book drying procedure following the rainy season continued the old tradition from his father’s house in Gadarwara, now taking place on the flat roof of Lao Tzu House. This was of importance as no smell was to be in the books due to Osho’s allergy. On the roof we find equipment for disinfection of library books, and the whole Lao Tzu House, including all library facilities, has been airconditioned and humidity control provided for all rooms containing books.
Satyananda recalls from May 1979
“Auf einer nicht überdachten Terrasse werden jeden Tag Hunderte von Bhagwans Büchern hochkant aufgestellt und in Richtung Sonne aufgeblättert: in den Regalen hat sich der Holzwurm eingenistet, und nun soll die Sonne Bhagwans Bücher säubern. Auch wurden zwei Sterilisationsapparate für medizinishe Instrumente angeschafft, in denen die Bücher entkeimt werden, bevor sie zum Meister gehen. Gayan (das deutsche Landkommunemädchen) ist für den Nachschub verantwortlich, fährt mehrmals im Monat nach Bombay und kommt mit grossen Bücherkisten zurück. Bhagwan schaut sich alle Bücher an und entscheidet, welche gekauft werden sollen.” (Satyananda 1984, pp. 171,375)
Ma Prem Usha
“She took sannyas in the late 1970s in Pune where she lived with her husband, also an Osho disciple. For some time she worked in Osho’s library and wrote out Hindi poems, Sanskrit ‘slokas’ and Urdu couplets for Osho for his discourses and embroidered small towels for Osho that he carried all the time… Later she took to Tarot and started her horoscope column in the Osho Times.” (Kul Bhushan. Obituary at www 23.07.08)
Savita on Madhuri
“In Osho’s communes she became librarian to his thousands of books…” (Savita 2014, p. 243)
Madhuri lived in Lao Tzu, Osho’s residence
“In 1976 Vivek came to me where I was cleaning books in the library.” (Osho News, 20.10.2013)
“Madhuri, author of several books and one of bhagwan’s librarians… Vandana, Anurag and Maneesha – all editors.” (Blessed are the Ignorant. A Darshan Diary (1979), p. 288)
Madhuri writes in The Poona Poems
“poem while cleaning in the master’s house
near you in silence
I sit forever
the lord lives in my hands
1974, Lao Tzu”
(Madhuri 2017, p. 42)