By Parveen Chopra July 2001 In the fading light of a hot summer day, a group of six gathers at a film star-politician’s Delhi home to discuss a ‘mad mystic’. Four are the mystic’s followers, two journalists. There ensue moments of intense discussion interspersed with laughter, and precious nuggets of insight into the man—Osho, who was once called ‘the most dangerous man since Jesus’. In the fading light of a hot summer day, a group of six gathers at a film star-politician’s Delhi home to discuss a ‘mad mystic’. Four are the mystic’s followers, two journalists. There ensue moments of intense discussion interspersed with laughter, and precious nuggets of insight into the man—Osho, who was once called ‘the most dangerous man since Jesus’. Four people who have walked the path, carefully guiding their feet over Osho’s footprints. Four people who lived, loved and laughed by his philosophy. Four people who feel Osho’s presence vividly even 11 years after his death. As the evening wears on, his name rings out time and again, uttered at times ecstatically, at times reverentially, but always with passion. ”Osho!” One of them remarked as we emerged in the coolness of the night: ”I think he was there. I felt his presence.” The four panelists were: Swami Chaitanya Keerti who was Osho Commune’s PR person and editor of Osho Times Inter-national. He has helped form Osho World in Delhi and is the Editor of the Hindi Osho World magazine, Rekha Purie, the woman behind Art Today gallery and Vasant Valley School in Delhi, she has been visiting the Pune Commune for dynamic meditations and is growing to be an Osho lover, Vinod Khanna, Osho‘s ardent follower since 1970, who followed him all the way to Oregon, USA, this matinee idol from Bollywood is now a Member of Parliament from Gurdaspur, and Kul Bhushan, a veteran business journalist, he is also an Osho veteran. He is currently the media consultant for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, based in Delhi. Here are the more scintillating extracts from the discussion: Life Postive: How much has marketing and PR helped in Osho‘s popularity? Vinod Khanna: Osho consciously made controversial statements. I think he was the greatest newsmaker in the world for many years. He would make one outrageous statement and then retract it or say something a few days later that would totally contradict what he had said earlier. Kul Bhushan: When I first asked him for an interview, he refused outright. Seeing that I was hurt, he said: ”Write whatever you want and attribute it to me. I will justify it no matter how outlandish it is!” Swami Chaitanya Keerti: Something similar happened when I was part of a group traveling around India. I asked Osho what should I say if we are asked about him. He said: ”You answer anything and I will corroborate it.” Life Positive (to Rekha Purie): When did you become an Oshoite? Rekha Purie: I would like to know if there is something known as an ‘Oshoite’? Vinod Khanna: No, there isn’t. You became a disciple. You were initiated, which meant that you would wear the mala(garland) and the saffron robes. Once you did that, you had a guru you could talk to. You could absorb his wisdom through his discourses. Meditation was important to Osho. There were times when I was so busy shooting for my films that I was unable to meditate. Osho would take one look at me and say: ”You are not meditating these days.” He had patience with those who did not meditate. But not with those who were escapists. He let such people stay at the ashram for a couple of months and then made them leave. You had to be serious about your meditation. Come to think of it, he doesn’t have any daily regimen, only meditation. That which comes from being a meditator are his teachings Life Positive (to Rekha Purie): Did you formally take sannyas (renunciation)? Rekha Purie: No, I didn’t. Curiosity took me to the Pune commune. I used to find it difficult to meditate but the way Osho has spoken about it, it seems very easy. He has prescribed 112 methods of meditation, so one of it is bound to suit you. It suited me to do active meditation. I felt really good after doing it. Somewhat holier-than-thou? (Laughter all around) Life Positive: Was that your first encounter with meditation? Rekha Purie: No, but I have found that dynamic meditations—Sufi whirling, no-dimension, kundalini—work beautifully for me. You can actually feel something that might be called ‘energy’ when you do it in Buddha Hall, in a maroon robe, with four hundred people. I remember whirling, the music was blaring and I can’t even begin to tell you what it did to me. I think Osho has compressed the understanding into something like ‘meditation made easy in four steps’. But after a while, you don’t require those four steps anymore. Life Positive: How did Osho develop so many techniques? Vinod Khanna: He had studied these topics in great depth and, of course, he was enlightened. Most of these are age-old techniques, which he reacquainted us with. The other remarkable thing Osho did was to make combinations. For instance, one particular method has five different steps—you would begin with breathing, then jump and shout ‘hoo’, the next step was to dance and then you were to lie down. Ultimately, you became a witness. Kul Bhushan: Osho devised meditation techniques for the modern mind and to evoke a sense of catharsis. Sw. Chaitanya Keerti: Osho had experienced many of these in his past lives and was able to bring them all together. He remembered having been part of the Sufi, Tantra and Zen traditions. And of course, he was the Buddha. Life Positive: The general perception of meditation is sitting quietly… Vinod Khanna: Osho said that ultimately, meditation is not about sitting quietly. You have to go back to the world and share your insights. Life Positive (to Vinod Khanna): You are part of the rough and tumble of politics. How does meditation help you deal with it? Vinod Khanna: The outcome of meditation is that you don’t get stressed easily, you develop a silent mind and are able to look at things objectively. You cease to be a doer and became a witness. Rekha Purie: You are able to help others automatically, you become a calmer and better person. Vinod Khanna: Everything you do, you are full of love and compassion. This is what draws people to Osho. Life Positive: But politics is a dirty game. Vinod Khanna: Nothing is dirty, and nothing is good. ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ are concepts created by the mind. Once you transcend the mind, you will obviously not murder or cheat somebody. Sw. Chaitanya Keerti: And Osho used to say that good people must enter politics. Rekha Purie: One is here… (Everybody laughs) Vinod Khanna: But seriously, there are many good people in politics today. Osho’s books have even been installed in Parliament. Rekha Purie (to Life Positive): May I now ask you something? Are you an ‘Oshoite’? Parveen Chopra: I did go to the Pune Commune 20 years ago and attended Osho’s discourses and some meditation sessions. About six years ago, I went there again as a journalist. But I’ve stuck to transcendental meditation (TM). Rekha Purie: I think you cannot be an Oshoite. As Osho said: ”You can only be a Buddha, not a Buddhist.” You have to experience everything for yourself and once you do that, you have already changed. Vinod Khanna: There’s a Zen saying: ”If you meet the Buddha on the way, kill him.” Life Positive: If the disciple becomes the Buddha, is that the end? Rekha Purie: This reminds me of something my son did once. I had given him some of Osho‘s books to read. One day, he dumped them all in my room. When I asked him why, he said: ”Osho says ‘the answer is within you’. Why should I read all these books then?” Vinod Khanna: Yet, it is difficult to meditate without a guru. I have had some strange experiences while meditating. There are so many times that I have gone to Osho shaking with fear. When you are at that stage, you need a guru to egg you on. He used to give me props to hold on to, things like a hair from his beard or a nail clipping. Kul Bhushan: Meditation often brings you to the edge of an abyss, and all you see is empty space. You don’t want to jump over the edge. The experiences are so intense that you need the master. Life Positive: Osho was against organizations. Isn’t the Osho movement today trying to solidify spirituality? Sw. Chaitanya Keerti: Osho was not against organizations, only that they should not be rigid. He felt that an organization must be like an organism, it should grow constantly. The movement might seem to be becoming rigid now, but deep down, we are all rebels. Life Positive: We heard of a move to convert the Pune Commune into a sort of a spiritual spa and phase out Osho? Sw. Chaitanya Keerti: At a millenium festival in Pune last year the idea of a ‘quantum leap’ to transcend Osho was discussed. I felt that the decision to move away from the guru has to be based on individual choice. The whole commune cannot take a ‘quantum leap’ because each person’s spiritual progress happens at a different rate. Life Positive: There are Osho centers all around the world. Does any single body govern them? Sw. Chaitanya Keerti: No, Osho said that all his centers are independent. He gave suggestions but never interfered in their functioning. Vinod Khanna: We never doubted Osho. And we always had fun! Life Positive (to Vinod Khanna): How did you come to Osho? Vinod Khanna: In my mid-20s, I started with T
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