OSHOpping on day 7!

Posted on September 29th, 2008 by Jim

An OSHO 8a.m ‘Sir, room service, room cleaning ? ‘ morning call was my first glimpse of reality that earned the messenger 100 rupees. It was good he knocked otherwise I’d have probably slept the morning away and claimed man-flu although my calves were STILL slightly sore from dynamic meditation. My cold had dropped from my head onto my chest and throat now so maybe the sauna helped?

I still had plenty of vouchers left to use up for breakfast and with only 1 day of robe wearing left to GO! tucked into a bowl of cereal with Soy milk, a samosa, a bowl of yellow daal and a slice of delicious fresh papaya. Surely every other western lentil eating, Soya drinking guest here really wanted juice, coffee & chocolate?

Enjoying the listening to my Ipod mediation whilst doing a sudoku puzzle I made my way down to the OSHO campus shop….

What a wonderful merchandising operation it was – OSHO books in several language, CD’s, robes, massage chairs and copies of the OSHO times magazine. You could get even get a daily text to your mobile phone detailing what was on offer in this 21st century ashram – one of over 300 Osho Information & meditation centres in over 45 countries around the world. Maybe OSHO theme parks, cruises, cola, airlines and a bride service were the next brand extensions being considered by whoever owned OSHO Inc.

Who did own OSHO inc?

I still couldn’t establish this despite sending OSHO inc a polite email upon my arrival

At the checkout counter I overheard a black robed ‘guru’ rambling on about ‘universal reality’ as he waited for the books and CD’s he’d bought to be packed away ready to be hauled to the OSHO post office for dispatch. I turned around expecting to see a wiry little Indian man. Instead, in front of me stood a huge German guy, in his late 50’s with wild white hair and long beard. Dressed from head to toe in black robes with a white sash I wondered if he’d been lured into the dark side:

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As the others seemed pretty content and enlightened by their morning meditation it was no surprise that Obi wan wasn’t challenged over his assumptions. Well why would he be? He held rank here and if I didn’t agree with him and say, insist that one way of looking at a reality was through different fragments as people perceived things in different ways – as individuals just as an example then maybe I’d have been laughed out of the OSHOp. That made me of mind you see, rather than no-mind.

OSHOp – that’s how I would have branded it. Yup, trademark sign after the ‘p’ puh-lease.

A peacock thankfully snapped me out of my grand, brand ideas as it hopped up on a nearby wall pecking away at has been croissant crumbs. It really struck me as I switched off from OSHO-wan Kenobi and really looked at the colours on this creature as his words melted away into the ether. A beautiful thing and I wasn’t sat cross legged to appreciate it in all it’s splendour.

An OSHO discourse would disagree with this gift of sight of being a blessing, as I understand it. This is taken from a website called oshoworld:

Eyes are your doors for going out. Through eyes you are moving, through eyes the desire, through eyes the illusion, through eyes the projection—through eyes moves the whole world. But the innermost cannot be approached through the eyes. You will have to become blind. Not that you have to throw away your eyes but that your eyes must become vacant, objectless, without dreams. Your eyes must become empty—empty of things, empty of pictures, empty of reflections.

If you can look into the eyes of an enlightened one, you will see they are totally different. A buddha looks at you and still he is not looking at you. You do not become a part of his eyes. His look is vacant. Sometimes you may get scared because you will feel that he is indifferent to you. He is looking at you so vacantly, not paying any attention to you.


Really, he cannot pay any attention to you. The attention is lost now; he has only awareness. He cannot be attentive to anything exclusively because that exclusiveness is created by desire. He looks at you as if not looking. You never become a part of his eyes. If you can become a part of his eyes, then you will become a part of his mind—because eyes are just the door for the mind; they go on collecting the outer world into the inner. Eyes must become blind. Only then can you see your self.

OSHO

I for one am truly glad of my sight and the peacock reminded me of exactly that.

Shuffling over to the Multiversity (empty handed – none of the books jumped out at me) information help desk I interrupted a wide eyed Argentinian ‘worker’ guy tapping into his computer terminal.

“What’s the deal with these courses?” I asked and “could you explain more about this mediation at work?” I asked an assistant just to see if I could nab the course note I missed out on. The response I got was to be pointed to where I could “buy Osho books, CD’s and magazines about meditation” or sign up for the Inner skills for work & life course.

So whenever a Western seeker reaches an understanding that ego is the problem, he can easily dissolve it, more easily than any Eastern seeker – OSHO

This was not what I was expecting.

Wasn’t I meant to be won over, given a sales pitch, shown a seat or at least convinced which course was right for me rather than feeling like I was interrupting an emotionally troubled full time resident? There was no history, no context, and no debate. There was simply activity followed by inactivity until I let out an almighty sneeze which was intercepted by a:

“Hey, shoundsh like you have a really bad cold, dude” confirmed a grinning red haired Dutch bloke ” A nashty cashe of the chillsh” as she slapped me on my back, reminding me briefly of me doing the same a couple of days earlier over lunch.

“Yup, you could say that”. I snuffled weighing up if I should wipe on sleeves or grab a tissue from the counter.

“Have you tried that Trishun stuff, by Zandy or Zandu – at the pharmacy here?”

“Voucher or cash?” I had vouchers – cash was back in the room.

“Vouchersh and itsh Ayurverdic shtuff – natural at leasht – worth a try”.

Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word, derived from two roots: ayur, which means life, and veda, knowledge. Knowledge arranged systematically with logic becomes science. During the due course of time, Ayurveda became the science of life. It has it’s roots in ancient vedic literature and encompasses our entire life – the body, mind and spirit. - Source : Zandu site

So 60 rupees later I’d washed down a couple of these brown liquorice tablets that packed a punch on the tongue and hopefully an exit strategy for my sore throat and heavy chest. Pills weren’t the answer but these seem to be the ones with the OSHO stamp on and I wanted to help any recovery however I could so I could find the energy to prance around at least.

Grabbing a simple brochure that listed a basket of courses on offer here at OSHO were enough to keep you here for at least a few weeks. Osho allied itself with many therapies that were on offer as paid courses from Reiki, constellation training, cranial biodynamic, post reichan therapy, tarot, colour therapy, Japanese facials, Aursoma light-pen, Chakra healing, eye relaxation, neck & shoulder back release, tantra (no Indian men are allowed in this class), art with heart and Ayurvedic massage for women.

All of these were available as paid courses within Osho and all purported to help ‘clear your mind’ and ‘help me focus’ while I ‘spent my vouchers’. I overheard a slight disagreement form a dissatisfied customer who had just returned from what was going to be the start of his course…

“Well, I arrived 3-4 minutes late, just as they were closing the doors.”

“Those are the rules Sir, you have to be on time so not to spoilt for the others”

Apparently he and the group of other people with him were told they were direspectors and were instructed to leave immediately. Being branded a “disrespector” could have consequences, clearly and as a white haired elder stepped in to diffuse the situation I noticed another poor soul who was wearing a yellow cast to heal a broken arm heading towards us to see what all the fuss was about. It was so out of context, a yellow plaster cast elder coming to join in. It should have been maroon!

I resisted to step in and start playing gangster, thanks to my reality check for the week Tony Soprano:

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After what I’d seen and heard I decided not to book or shed any rupees on any of the courses on offer and simply opted for another crack at one of the free meditation classes back in the dark side of the moon auditorium. This time Vipassana (meaning literally ‘to look, to watch, to witness) , no less and I left my cynical side outside with my croc sandals, open to whatever was next.

I was back in the huge marble floor where I took my place in a plastic chair at the back to experience this without worrying about my posture or how flexible everyone else was. Our 30 something Australian instructor lightly talked the 25 of us through the process and reminded us that first up was 45 minutes of silent sitting and then 15 minutes of walking at half the pace we normally do, with total awareness.

“During the first 45 minutes you’ll feel a gentle touch on the crown of your head -this is to remind you you’re doing well and to provide you with encouragement – I’ll tap you lightly like so….”

As she demonstrated with her 2 m long broom.

Stage 1: Sitting (45 minutes)

They key here was to remain ‘comfortable yet alert’ position to sit for 45 minutes with eyes closed, blindfolded or in my case allowing the occasional peek. I focused on my back and head being straight, and tried to breath normally, stay as still as possible.

Resiting the temptation to scratch my nose the primary objective was to pay attention to the rise and fall of the belly, slightly above the navel, caused by breathing in and out. Luckily for me ‘nothing is a distraction in vipassana’, so when something else comes up, stop watching the breath, pay attention to whatever is happening until it’s possible to go back to your breath. This included my thoughts on this blog, booking my flights to Delhi, hoping my nose wouldn’t run and if I needed to top up on rupees.

My time came with the stick of encouragement as I was tapped lightly on the crown of my head and I have to confess I did hear the instructor approaching so I didn’t jump out of my skin. I enjoyed that contact, brief though it was as 45 minutes sat in total solitude was a stretch for me.

Part 2: Vipassana walk

I was very ready for this slow, ordinary walk based on the awareness of the feet touching the ground.

We were allowed to walk in a circle or a line of steps going back and forth. Eyes weren’t meant to be lowered on the ground more than a few steps ahead. While walking, the attention should go to the contact of each foot as it touches the ground. If other things arise, stop paying attention to the feet, notice what else too your attention and then return to the feet.

It felt like the exercise went on forever and my breakdance demons kept tempting me to break into either gibberish, a windmill or both.

That was pretty much that and I felt very calm afterwards, bordering on slow motion glad that my nose hadn’t ran that I broke into uncontrollable laughter or coughing.


Breath coming in is rebirth; breath going out is death. The outgoing breath is synonymous with death; the incoming breath is synonymous with life. So with each breath you are dying and being reborn. The gap between the two is of a very short duration, but keen, sincere observation and attention will make you feel the gap. Then nothing else is needed. You are blessed. You have known; the thing has happened. – OSHO

IT did feel great and my appetite soon returned as I felt like I’d earned my food as I overdid it at the curry counter. The Osho equivalent of Club Med buffet fatigue where you pig out on the first night and eat progressively less as the week went on didn’t apply here – I loved my curry and had probably been close to my first cumin overdose.

The food here is excellent of course. Organic Vegetarian Indian cuisine I couldn’t think of anything better and the place was immaculately clean and remarkably odourless considering the food. It amused the staff when I asked for “extra spicy / extra garlic ” all in aid of clearing whatever needed clearing.

I helped myself to the Bombay Aloo, carefully positioning my bowl and delicately scooping the tumeric coating potatoes up. There ware strict rules here about how food is put into bowls. To avoid biological contamination, the bowl had to remain on your tray at all times and this came at a price to those waiting behind me in as a hungry queue of hardcore dynamic meditators formed behind me.

With minor spillage, tokens stamped and food consumed I accepted that after dinner mints wasn’t an option but after dinner hugs were. Well at least on some of the tables as they stood like compassionate statues, locked together as I shuffled tracks on my ipod. The Dutch guy, an Austrian Freelance fitness trainer and her boyfriend, a little Indian man and a small Italian woman who wore mafia type sunglasses on the top of her head all hugging away.

The world DID need more of this. No question but right after dinner? Far be it for me to fold my arms when there’s the chance to roll out the twister mat and move my right knee somewhere that could be painful but right after dinner?

Rather than retire to the Sopranoes and lock myself in I decided to get curious about the 9.30pm activities that were hosted. This evening celebration take the form of a light “rave” with high energy music, lasers and a general healthy wind down. All quite happy in their world of safety and peace here which watching everyone harmlessly twirling away felt like that. What if all the world leaders could come and do this on an unconditional level – what if everyone could come and smell their flowers like this?

I took a seat at table near to the bar watching unity of the dance floor whilst behind me at the bar the staff were delivering the “waiting for drinks meditation”. People were getting frustrated, buying drinks from the bar involved various rules that needed to be obeyed such as vouchers to only be used in the evening NOT the ones from the daytime.

The bought vouchers that were used to pay for food or anything else you needed on the campus was OK but the bar used a different voucher system. So once people had finally ordered their drinks they couldn’t pay and further confrontation would ensue. I’m not sure what the zen of a riot is or if OSHO ever quoted it but if drink was easier to by it could well have kicked off.

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I did wonder. As did one of the guys who had been on my work / life course and wondered why it “hadn’t been for me” unaware that I was too sick to attend. The message clearly hadn’t got through to the rest of the group who justifiably felt like I’d deserted them.

Finally, having hoped I’d bump into Brit ‘Dave’ who I’d spoken to a couple of days earlier, there he was sat back quite happily sipping away on a hot chocolate. Another firm handshake and 15 minutes of chatting like old buddies Dave apologised for ‘downloading the other day‘ and it was out of context as from time to time he needed to get out and enjoy a change of scene. He was intending on doing exactly that this weekend and was about to start another course at the ashram.

“I could be doing alot worse, eh Jim?”

“Just keep it all in perspective. The Soprano’s help” I suggested.

Comments on my 7th day are most welcome! Thanks for reading as I prepare for the final installment here at OSHO tomorrow, cheers.


63 Responses to “OSHOpping on day 7!”

  1. Thank you Jim for checking out the store!! Just more indoctrination, but quite varied. As I read your post, a couple of things stood out. Well, actually more, but I am going to try to stick to the two. One is the thing from oshoworld about the eyes. So, if that is what is to be attained that scares me. It is a form of dissociation (anywhere from freeway glaze to multiple personalities) where you become disconnected from yourself and others. In that way, you really do not form any attachments to others or yourself which is unhealthy and in infants and children leads to death. From a Christian point of view, I stay connected to God and to others. That is what the Bible teaches. I know we’re talking about Eastern stuff here, but it seems a bit unhealthy. Can you image a world of buddhas? Thinking about it reminds me of some of the sections of psychiatric hospitals where everyone is in their own world and may respond or initiate contact, but they are not connected to you or themselves.

    The other observation I had was life is breathing in and out, so why place such a metaphorical life and death image on it. Both are necessary for life itself. It shows me very black and white thinking. Like the dark (evil) side versus the Jedi (good) side. Even in the movie, everyone has to deal with the fact that they have both an evil and good side. I don’t like splitting things like this. I like integration…integration is healthy and so is being non-judgemental about something being about death or evil.

    From a psychological stand point, this is scary. And, typical cult “brainwashing.” I am being serious here.

    • Jim says:

      Well CC the Osho Ashram is set to encourage a place of unpolluted, busy, chattering minds – ‘no mind’

      No mind = peace with oneself = peace with the world

      What is no mind?

      Still water (running deep – not our tech guy, the water level)
      Calm
      Unpolluted

      OR

      NO personality?

      I’d rather have the personality, thanks.

      Secondly the polarity, black / white, luke versus Darth, Ying versus Yang has to be there to exist.

      To quote Paul McCartney in Ebony n Ivory:

      “There is good & bad, in everyone….as we learn to live….

      (Stand up, everyone…)

      Learn to live together….”

      Right?

      (((GROUP HUG))))

      • When you start viewing life in polarities, it creates problems. Like wars. Like President Bush. He is very polarized in his thinking of good versus evil. It is just a dangerous place to stay. Integration is healthier, in my opinion.

    • I am sorry if you took what I wrote as offensive, but I was trying to address the disconnectedness to others and self. If everyone one were in that state, then there would be no connectedness with each other which is a very dangerous thing. I was not calling Buddhism a cult. However OSHO shows signs of cult-like characteristics.

      I do not find that Christian churches, Muslim mosques, Hindu temples, or Jewish synagogues or any other religious icons are cults as cults are defined. They encourage individual thinking and connectedness with each other. That is one of the fundamental parts of religion.

      The following is an excerpt from the book “Captive Hearts, Captive minds”, by Madeline Tobias and
      Janja Lalich adapted from information compiled by Dr. Micheal Langone.

      Checklist of Cult Characteristics

      “Comparing the following statements to the group with which you or a family member or loved one is involved may help you determine if this involvement is cause for concern. If you check any of these items as characteristic of the group in question, and particularly if you check many of them you may well be dealing with a cult and should critically examine the group and its relationship to you or your loved one.

      1) The group is focused on a living leader to whom members display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.

      2) The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members and/or making money.

      3) Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged.

      4) Mind-numbing techniques (for example: meditation, chanting, denunciation sessions, or debilitating work routines) are used to suppress members’ doubts.

      5) The group’s leadership dictates how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, or get married;) leaders may determine types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth.

      6) The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, it’s leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity).

      7) The group has a polarized we-they mentality that causes conflict with the wider society.

      8) The group’s leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations).

      9) The group teaches or implies that its “superior” ends justify means that members would have
      considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities).

      10) The group’s leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control then

      11) Members’subservience to the group causes them to give up previous personal goats and interests while devoting inordinate amounts of time to the groups.”

      12) Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.

      From http://www.essortment.com/all/whatisdefiniti_rjli.htm: “In our modern world of the new millennium, the word “cult” has become largely overused and is now a catch-all for any group, religion or lifestyle which someone doesn’t understand, or with which they happen to disagree. This is a dangerous trend, as many of the organizations labeled a cult by dissidents are truly legitimate groups. Once the taint of the term “cult” is applied to a particular group, it is often difficult to change that image to the public.

      To avoid careless labeling which could be harmful to a group and its adherents, it is important to know just exactly what a cult is, and how it is defined. A cult, by modern standards, is any group that incorporates mind control to deceive, influence and govern its followers. Although most people think of cults as being religious, they can also be found in political, athletic, philosophical, racial or psychotherapeutic arenas.

      The mind control, or brainwashing, exerted by cults often take the form of at least several of the following elements:

      A totalitarian control over the lifestyle and time of its members – Many cults tend to dictate exactly what its followers should read, eat, how and with whom they should spend their time, and even what they should do in off hours. This totalitarian control is necessary for the leaders to indoctrinate the followers in everything they do, and is also an attempt to separate them from anything not associated with the cult. This is why cults often live together in groups. ”

      A charismatic, self-appointed leader with complete authority – Cult members are taught not to question the teachings, practices, or ideas of the leader. Many cult leaders truly are charismatic people, and are able to influence people to believe them. It is common that a cult member is not told everything up front when joining the group, but that they are taught increasingly controlling ideas and teachings as they go. In the case of some of the more well-publicized cults that have come and gone, it is also common that the leader’s ideas and demands evolve over time, becoming increasingly controlling and restrictive. One very clear identifying element dealing with the leader of a cult is that the leader will always focus the attention and veneration of the members upon himself or herself. At the heart of a cult usually lies a very self-centered and self-seeking person.

      A focus on withholding truth from non-members – Many cults teach their followers to be completely open and truthful within the group, while at the same time they are encouraged to be secretive and evasive when questioned by people outside of the group. This is another form of mind control-instilling guilt in the members if they hold anything back within the group. The members are taught that outsiders wouldn’t understand or that they would only make fun of the ideas and practices and requirements for living within the group. Only specially-commissioned members are appointed to recruit members from outside. New members are usually encouraged to keep silent or even lie, especially to their families and close friends.

      The three elements listed above are very successful ways to create a group mentality, an us-against-them way of looking at things. This is essential for any cult that wants to keep its members. The more afraid of the outside world the members become, the more strongly and faithfully they will keep within the safe fold of the cult.

      In terms of religion being superstitious, you may not believe that if you really studied religions and tried to disprove something like the ressurection of Jesus, look at both side of the arguement. Even took a course in religious studies.

      In terms of my taking an opportunity to tell my version of the “truth.” We all tell our version of the truth here. We share our experiences and being a Christian comes out in my opinion. That is what GSTF is meant to be, a place where we can simply share our opinions without attacking each other. I do not consider myself a fundamentalist. However, I can state the ways in which the Christian church has fundamentalist views, but that does not necessarity mean that I agree with it.

      • Svasti says:

        Oh, I missed a paragraph at the start of my comment!

        Basically I was saying that this OSHO place seems a bit like an Indian Disneyland – all over the place, haphazard and anything goes. I feel like going there to pack people like ‘Brit Dave’ and ‘Christ’ under my arm and set them free with a few rupees, saying ‘Run, run! Don’t look back!!’ ;)

      • Thank you for explaining where you were coming from. And you are right…With Christianity, there is proof/evidence to a point and then there is an informed leap of faith, albeit, not completely informed. I don’t know if you know this or not, but I am constantly questioning what is taught by the church and if I can’t find some congruence between what is said, what is in the Bible (not current day interpretations) and what I see and experience, I go research on my own. Many times, I do not come up with the “mainstream” answers and sometimes I do. When I became a Christian in 1981, I immediately started asking questions such as you bring up and I found satisfying and fullfilling answers, but it did mean taking a leap of faith. I maybe very devoted to Christianity, but that does not mean that I am closed minded. I want to hear other points of view given in a sharing type of way. It helps me to question and strenghten my own convictions, so that my faith is mine and not just a parrotting back of what is taugh. Most of my friends are non-Christian for some reason. I also have Christian friends.

        I also think that all organized groups of any sort can be looked upon as a cult if one was to try to prove that. This includes religions, sports, fan clubs, etc… Actually, it would be cult like or cultish.

        I really was only addressing the OSHO quote about “eyes must become blind,” but I think Svasti cleared it up. OSHO is really messed up. And, I certainly did not mean to attack another religion. Although I may not belive in their doctrine and theology, I cetainly respect their faith and probably do what you did and defend them if I felt they were being attacked. Taken, in context, I’ve been hospitalized in psychiatric hospitals and know what dissociation is, so the comment about the eyes sounded too much like what I’ve seen and experienced.

        Thank you for the dialogue. I really did not mean to attack any religion or belief.

      • Jim says:

        ***Applause – thanks for the learning you 2***

    • Svasti says:

      But the stuff about life and death… whilst OSHO has a very odd way of putting things, you have to remember these quotes are taken out of context. I’ve heard some really great quotes from OSHO, but I hadn’t heard any of the stuff Jim is putting up here. And it does sound strange, even to me.

      But! Contemplation on life and death is very typical of Hindu and Budhist philosophy, and the ultimate goal is in fact integration. Its a little difficult to explain here in a few sentences, but the general consensus is that all humans live in fear of death – which is inevitable – and that death is as much a reality as life. Okay, that still doesn’t really explain it I think!

      Alot of these sorts of teachings aren’t meant to be given to all and sundry – there’s an expectation of ‘basic sanity’ that spiritual aspirants are meant to attain for themselves first. Because for those with disassociation issues I can imagine it would be really confusing and possibly dangerous.

      I’ll finish for now by saying that OSHO Inc seems to be a very confused place, and it appears OSHO was not discriminant in how or to whom he distributed teachings. Seems like the animals at the zoo went a little wild and now its almost ‘anything goes’ without an acknowledged lineage holder of his teachings.

  2. Lib says:

    Was the dutch bloke called Sean Connery?

    Going back to my point on the Day 5 post, this is exactly what I mean about it being mercenary.

    The primary point of this centre is money and if anyone comes out of there feeling good about themselves, its a lucky by-product.

    That Dave character could be someone straight out of a John Grisham book, the whole thing smacks of something like the firm.

    And its interesting that you still haven’t found out who controls the cash tills, not very transparent and zen like is it?

    • Jim says:

      Yessshhhh Miss money penny…

      Sorry – no currency allowed – Misshhh ‘voucher person’

      Imagine that, some OSHO bond films….

      From Pune with love
      OSHOpussy
      The man with the maroon robe
      On the majestys secret Ashram
      Moonraper
      The guru who loved me
      Diehards are forever
      Dr ‘Oh, go on then’
      Maroon eye
      Licence to print money

      And later this year – Quantum of Vouchers

      Inspirational crossovers the Lib, thanksh.

      Nope – I’ve emailed Team OSHO to ask who owns the organisation but no reply….

  3. Why haven’t we heard from Jim since he posted this? To ill or…..

  4. Arvind says:

    Too ill, or he has been found out as a plant.

    I reckon they have kidnapped him and will hold him ransom in return for loads of bar vouchers.

    Also, Jim there are lots of easier and cheaper ways of getting that blank look in your eyes :-)

    • Really, don’t you find it unusual for him not to respond in his own post…not one word.

      I know of drugs that can get you that blank stare without the drool factor.

      • Jim says:

        Its all good – heading back to my room last for my last night here at OSHO I stumbled upon something very interesting!

        A name-changing ceremony!

        I sat in and will include in my final installment – another 2,000 worder to follow.

        • Arvind says:

          Jim – I wondered if you would come across a name changing ceremony.

          I have witnessed one of this at the Osho Leela place in Devon in the UK. Quite an event and a huge party afterwards.

          I have an Osho friend called Somesh – he is originally from South Africa but was called Grant at one time. From Jim’s next posting, I will finally understand the reason behind his name change.

        • Jim says:

          How uncanny Arvind…

          On the way back to my room last night I witnessed a name-changing gig,

          Writing about it in my final installment…..

  5. aussiecynic says:

    This I would have to say Jim is possbily my favourite in the series.
    I dont know quite what it is, perhaps during your stay and information gathering yours and my understanding of this place allows this to happen, but what ever it is a very enjoyable read.

    One thing I find in regards to such places as this, is their covert money making skills, all the things to which you pay extra for, the purchasing of vouchers (can you cash in any you have left when you leave or do they then become donations), what would happen if you flatly refused on purchasing a new pair of bright pink shorts to go wondering through the pschydelic theme park but still insisted on going in?
    Would those very friendly security guards suddenly turn on you andremove you from the property or back to your room?
    In the cafeteria if you broke the rules and messed up your food or god forbid dropped you bowl spilling soup all over the floor, would you be required to pay for the clean up or better yet clean it yourself as part of your working/meditation session?

    Why cant meditation centres and centres of well being be just that centres to actually make you feel better rather than a centre to promote materilistic, money making wealth growth and manipulation… I truly find it a shame so many people go to these places looking for something some kind of inner peace and find themselves stuck in a world they arent prepared for…. Part of what is a disturbing effect of this place is the peoples acceptance or even willingness to persue this life. The longterm residents must have family concerned for them, are there any children there, what would happen if a resident suffered a major illness given the staffs less than enthusiastic approach to your illness…

    It would be interesting to see on your final day what approach the centre takes to any rule breaking or refusals to adher to the standards..
    Looking forward to your conclusion its been one heck of a journey

    • Arvind says:

      AC – well said.

      It is really a sign of times that such places exist and people feel the need to go there. Interesting that most of the attendees are westerners seeking a way, especially Israelis and Europeans.

      Great way to drop out of society! Perhaps these people do NEED to be controlled and maybe they feel this is part of the experience.

      Jim – to me this is the best thing anyone has ever written on Flowers :-)

      But WHERE are you?!

      • aussiecynic says:

        Tah Arvind…
        Hubby and I keep wondering why westerners feel the need to travel to India, and why not, Tibet, Nepal, Bangkok.. or Hackney to find themselves….
        Perhaps unless it cost you an arm and leg as well you years wages and savings, its not seen of any value?

        • Arvind says:

          AC – Hackney is actually a great place and as good as any to find yourself :-)

          India is probably easier to visit and being so huge has more to offer westerners.

          Westerners do also visit Nepal and Tibet but generally after being to India. From my experience most westerner who do visit Nepal are volunteers who want to help the country, or they are into mountaineering big time.

          For now, I will stick to Hackney – got some good Indian friends who live there and one of them is the best Indian cook I know. So who needs to go to India?!

        • Jim says:

          PLUS you can’t get a Balti like you can in Sparkhill, Birmingham although the Dosas /Thali are pretty good….

      • AC & Arvind ~ Sign of the times indeed. Looking for some grounding…just looking for something. From a psychological perspective, I think a lot of it stems from a lack of solid connectedness with others like family, extended family, religion, neighborhoods, and friendships (face to face type). With the electronic age, we have a strange connectedness, but we actually need to see, touch and hear someone. Infants and children die without it, so sometimes I wonder how much as a society are we dying in a metaphorical sense.

    • Jim says:

      Thanks for this AC,

      The comments here have spurred me on! I’ll answer them in order:

      I’m giving away my spare vouchers – cashing in isn’t an option as on the bottom of them it says:

      ‘Donations to meditations’ even though you buy food with them and can spend 1 rupee or 500 rupees regardless of attending 1 or 10 meditation clasess per day.

      I tried to get into the sauna in my surfing shorts and it wasn’t worth it – despite being the handiest man at OSHO for sometime its not a position I’d want to put the paid security blokes in – they tend to be on the gate whilst inside the residents tend to work at the towel place, zennis courts (a longer court than tennis, I found out) and pool.

      Dropping food at the food court would be frowned upon as a breach of etiquette and greed – well thats how it felt….

      Shopping wise, like any shop -its there if you want it – no obligation to buy buy most of the workers / long termers do bury their heads in all things OSHO – imagine working in that shop – for say 3 months – all the discourses and books for free BUT at what price?

      No mind?

      Sickness wise there is a medical centre / Doctor if required – maybe my male ego / man flu stopped me taking that any further – in all fairness I could have had medical attention if I’d needed it – a shame staff can’t have a basic awareness of how to deal with a non-attendee on a course…support rather than dismiss ” You’re not in the gang”.

      Rule breaking – didn’t go that far so I wasn’t asked to leave and could see it through.

      Great questions – more welcomed!

      • Thanks so much for doing this series. It has made for some really good discussions.

      • Svasti says:

        Glad to hear you’ve given away your spare vouchers although one might question whether it would be a better idea to inspire some of these folk to leave!! ;)

        The money thing really frustrates me – its places like this that give genuine teachers, teachings and sadhakas a bad name. Tars us all with the same brush and that’s just not how it is in all places of yogic learning!!

        Re: being unwell, compassion is one of the basic tennants of most genuine teachings with “primacy of the body” being important. As in, this world isn’t illusion, its real and the way we work through it is physically. Therefore you need to take care of the body. And as such, it shouldn’t have been so hard for you to get even a little bit of compassion! In my yoga school, if you’re sick, you’re given plenty of attention by the resident Ayurvedic doc, as well as the small army of chiropractors, naturopaths and other health practitioners within our ranks. No one, but no one would leave a sick person suffering like that where I study!

        I look forward to more posts… :)

        • Jim says:

          A good point Svasti – should have built a trojan horse and smuggled a load of them out!

          Sick wise I guess I could of hammed it up a bit and knocked on the docs door but if someone was there who really needed it? That’s what stopped me – plus I couldn’t watch the Sopranos in the Docs, right? :-)

  6. phil says:

    hi jim,
    i dont disagree that the resort is a wierd place.
    but so is the world.
    if you dont like paying into a strange organisation,ok.
    but you may just have missed the opportunity to learn meditation for free!

    if you wait for a perfect place till you learn new stuff,you run the risk of remaining ignorant!

    • Jim says:

      Hi Phil,

      Welcome to GO! Smell the flowers and I appreciate you’ve not read the other 8 2,500 word entries I’d posted before this one but as you raise a valid point I’ll sum up for you:

      I originally went to OSHO for 24 hours but once inside changed my flights and stayed for 8 days pretty much trying everything on offer that was free (except Zennis & Zen archery) and had a bad experience with a paid work/ life course.

      So I meditated everyday (a new skill for me with all my energy) and well remember the dynamic mediations amongst others.

      The only place to meditate is NOW – in the moment and it can’t be defined as anything geographical. However, wrap yourself up in OSHO inc with 500 white robes, silence in a big hall and the ups and downs of chanting before complete silence then that zen like feeling is more likely to happen than rush hour on the tube, watching your football team lose or having an ATM card rejected – oh those last 3 were reality of course, not applicable to OSHO inc. :-) Fair?

  7. Urban Pagan says:

    erm phil

    I could be wrong but I don’t think any of it was free and while I can’t speak on his behalf I believe the commercialisation and cash cow attitude at the resort were the key factors that cheesed him off.

    If you haven’t read all his installments it could be worth going back through them to put it all in context.

    Its a good read. And pretty balanced in my opinion. I, as a cynic would have beenmuch more scathing- but then I would not go to such a place. Having someone else go and write back allowed me to experience it cathartically to some extent.

  8. phil says:

    thanks for the reply jim,
    so you have “got the transmission”
    you have learned meditation.
    and now you are free to play with this beautiful,(and not restricted to “religious types”)gift for the rest of your life.
    that is the real “osho”.

    and urban pagan.
    jim has invested well.
    he has not been conned out of his hard earned cash.
    he has learnt meditation in a nonserious way.a great opportunity,in my view.
    and he has come away with loads to write and gossip about,an opportunity to assert his individuality,throwing in a bit of controversy,to boot.
    i would call that value for money!?

    • Jim says:

      Cheers Phil,

      A great way of putting it ‘transmission’. I can get ‘chill FM’ for at least 12 seconds per day now :-)

      My only fear at OSHO inc was being encouraged to have NO MIND and to lose my personality, my individuality.

      I met a lot of lost souls in the place, some avoiding ever returning to the ‘real world’ where some of the OSHO ideals would be best put to practice…..

      There in lies the fun of life! Feel free to read the other posts and I’ve another one coming tomorrow as I prepare to meet one of the most photographed faces and true spiritual leader in the world.

  9. Urban Pagan says:

    oh I agree Phil

    nice post

  10. Jim says:

    Interesting feedback Alok John & thanks for dropping by….

    It’s for fun, of course….

    I honestly felt #2, 3, & 5 &12 are 100% true at OSHO, Pune…..

    • Jim says:

      Hi Alok John,

      Thanks for breaking each point down – all part of my learning.

      1990 at OSHO – alot changes in 18 years as I met several ‘long termer’ (one German guy who was with OSHO 29 years ago but no longer involved- pops in and out from time to time) told me it had changed….who is the head of OSHO – he asked me!!??

      Point 2) My previous posts (bottom of the homepage – click on previous posts) will lead you to my conclusion on the money making – a beautiful campus yes but when i was sick and bed ridden on day 4 or 5 there was no sympathy as I was meant to attend and pay for the ‘ work-life’ course – however – I was the only ‘paying’ guest – all the other attendees worked at OSHO and the course was free.

      The message waiting for me was not ‘ are you ok’ it was ‘ where are you and you owe us money for the course’

      Point 3 – covered
      Point 5 – I met 2 people who couldn’t afford to leave OSHO and were sick of the politics at the campus – seriously – there was no ‘going home’ for them – this was it. Their choice and it could be far worse but there was an expectation and a difference of ‘ we’re here long term’ versus ‘ just passing through’.

      Point 12 – The Israelies, spanish, south American avoided the real India – -they stayed cacooned in Osho inc rather than the dust, spit and sweat I enjoyed out and about in Pune…

      Hence my reason for writing this for Dharamshala where I’ve just met the Dalai Lama – noone forced a course on me or asked if I’d be interested in a 3 month program…..

    • Alok John says:

      Briefly while I have a few minutes, points 2, 5 and 12.

      2. I can well believe they wanted your money when you had booked for the course although you were sick. It has always been difficult to get your money back from sannyasins! From their point of view, there is no equivalent of getting a sick note as there is in the West, so there is no way of knowing if someone is really sick or has changed their mind. You could always have taken the risk of refusing to pay and seeing if they chucked you out.

      5. You mean they did not have money for fares home and could only survive by working on the campus. A bit stupid to get yourself in that situation, eh! Many countries in the West have repatriation schemes for distressed tourists. Maybe they will get home eventually.

      12. I believe you. I think it is “better” if you can mix a bit with the local culture, but maybe it was too much for them, culture shock and all that. I did not mix much when i was there.

      Must go now

    • Urban Pagan says:

      John

      interesting stuff- more when you get a chance!!

    • Jim says:

      Cheers John! Your views are both appreciated and welcome, thanks.

  11. Urban Pagan says:

    Jon- nice post however all it appears to say is Osho is like a lot of mainstream religions in the manner in which it controls people. I don’t see this as a positive at all. If anything it makes it as bad as the rest. Not better. I would also say that your perception of osho is different to Jim’s. Can I ask what your association is with it? I am genuinely interested.

    I would also really appreciate some feedback on the accounts Jim posted.

  12. Alok John says:

    Hi Urban Pagan,
    I am afraid I am a long standing committed sannyasin, and I don’t feel controlled by my involvement but liberated.
    I am going to answer Jim’s post now and will try and give some feedback on his account tomorrow.
    By the way I could only find Day 7, could not find the first six posts.

    Alok John

    • Jim says:

      Hi Alok John,

      For all previous posts just scroll down to the bottom of this homepage and click on ‘previous posts’ – you’ll get them right from Day 1 to day 6…..incidentally I only planned on spending 24 hours at OSHO Pune so hey, if it was THAT bad!

  13. Urban Pagan says:

    INTERESTING STUFF!!

    MORE POsts John if you get the time.

  14. Alok John says:

    I have no link Previous Posts at the bottom of this page.

    • Jim says:

      Hi Alok John – scroll down right to the bottom of the blog page – the home page – you’ll see an orange flowers banner at the footer – to the left of that, just about it is the blue wording <<PREVIOUS ENTRIES

      Hope this helps,

      Jim.

  15. Jim says:

    Great and thanks for these insights Alok John -we need more of this here at GO! Smell the flowers,

    Are you a Pune resident these days?

    I’m reading OSHO – Living Tao as I’ve read the Tao te ching and was curious so the journey continues -I’ll be posting about it shortly….

    • Alok John says:

      Hi Jim
      I am a Londoner.

      There are lots of free audio discourses you can download at http://www.oshoworld.com/

      Tao : The Three Treasures is a great book

      For Arvind, there are lots of Indian sannyasins and Nepali too.

      Go to http://www.oshoworld.com/ for the main Indian centre and http://www.tapoban.com/ for the main Nepali centre.

      Osho is very big in Nepal now.

      There is a small Indian Osho centre in Wembley.

      • Jim says:

        Cor blimey guv -would you Adam it?

        Will check out the treasures book and just posted about TAO at the top of this page.

        I was with Arvind at his St Johns Wood places this summer- we met for the first time! I spent 1 year enjoying the North Circular and enjoyed my time in the smoke…..

        Tell me more about the Wembley set up – less commercial, right?

      • Jim says:

        Thanks for the links again, brilliant!

      • phil says:

        hi swasti,
        these `sannyasins who are typically celibate` are usually all so keen to try and get science to back up their yoga health claims etc.
        how about they try to prove their celibacy using scientific observation?
        they never volunteer do they?
        why?

        meanwhile they pontificate about `householders` and lesser mortals,who actually have sex and live
        a life,and usually pay for them to “wank”,excuse me, “work for humanity”.
        its the oldest profession in the world!
        the game is up.
        if you meet someone who claims to be celibate ask him:
        `how often do you have a wank?`
        `do you think having wet dreams is more spiritual than making friends with someone?`

        these wankers are just cowards,trying to run away from reality.
        i say good luck to them,but dont be surprised if reality(or another `celibate` sneaks up on them and bites them om the bum!

      • phil says:

        hi swasti,
        your saraswati man proves my point entirely.
        he was as you say,`at one point a very austere type` then he became a `tantric`.
        that is,he realised hecouldnt keep up the pretence.
        he was lucky enough to have enough power from his disciples to pull it off(if you will pardon the expression)

        and why were his disciples shocked and `crumbled`?
        because celbacy is taken as a badge of honour,that this man has power over his animal self,he is so spiritual.
        it is a pererted game of power.

        luckily that old old game that has haunted humanity for thousands of years , is also `crumbling` as your man saraswati is clearly admitting

        actually,assuming that celibacy is possible is the pure speculation.

        a speculation that could easily be challenged b a few simple medical enquiries.

      • Svasti says:

        Phil, what cereal box did you pull your ‘certificate of logic’ out of exactly? Nope, nothing I said proves your point.

        You assume way too much. Like – thinking your assumptions about someone’s behaviour are in fact correct, instead of your own projections onto a situation.

        Generally speaking it is wiser to hold your tongue unless you know what you are talking about. And unfortunately it appears that you insist on ranting like a mad person about topics you’re clearly unfamiliar with.

        Also – I never said ‘crumbling’. I said ‘crumpled’ and I was talking about the expression on the faces of his students when they realised that they themselves had clearly assumed too much, where in fact its not actually written anywhere that sanyassins must be celibate.

        Speculation, I’m afraid, appears to be your speciality.

  16. phil says:

    btw swasti,
    dont know any yogis interested in scientific verification?

    “in the next century science will study bhakti in the same way that in this century it explored the material world and physics”

    -swami satyanand saraswati,2 october 2008.

    i say dont wait till the next century.
    get your credentials on the table.

    NOW

    • Svasti says:

      I think you’ll find, Phil, the reason for the wait is that currently science *can’t* measure such things as bhakti (devotion).

      Science has a nasty habit of only being able to ‘prove’ what it has a methodology for ‘proving’. Everything as, as far as science is concerned… doesn’t exist.

      As I said to UP in an earlier comment – there was a time when you would have been hung for saying the world was not the center of the universe.

      Why don’t you find someone else to go and bother with your odd delusions and randomly aimed anger?

      I can’t think of anyone that likes to have demands placed on them like this.

  17. phil says:

    “in the next century scientists will sudy bhakti in the same way as they have studied the material world”

    did someone say `odd delusions?`

    you say:
    `it`s not actually written anywhere that a sannyasin must be celibate”

    you sound like a lawyer acting for one of these yogic gurus who have just been caught with their pants down!

    in fact,celibacy has been the cornerstone of `renunciation` since at least the buddha`s time.

    i suggest you go to india and proclaim it widely that its ok for sannyasins to have sex.

    see what response you will get

    actually.that is what happened to osho!

    i just hope you have a rolls royce or some another bullet proof vehicle to get away in.

    • Svasti says:

      Good lord Phil! What is your deal?

      Sorry for the delayed reply, I’ve been busy dealing with people who choose to talk straight and without malice. Its much nicer that way.

      Anyhow, you clearly still haven’t grasped the concept of projecting your own B/S out onto other people and situations that you have no conception of.

      I’m not being defensive of anything or anyone. There’s no need to be.

      The topic of celibacy? Its *common* but not written in stone. Osho is what it is, but it doesn’t have the market cornered on changing traditions – that’s widely practiced all over India.

      In any case – get this through your rather clueless brain matter. I am not one of these people you seem to be holding responsible for all your ills.

      So go throw stones elsewhere. Maybe at the mirror?

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