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SWAMI PREM SARITO

Corpulent Greed

November, 2011

Watching “Occupy Wall Street” last night I noticed that quite a few of the protestors are fat…. Heh, wait a minute…you’re supposed to be starving. All things are relative and I suppose this is all about excessive greed…where the rich are robbing the poor. The average CEO makes 750 times as much as his average employee, I read the other day. Well, that’s excessive in anybody’s book. It’s about time we put a stop to that, so tighten your belts and storm the barricades! Courage men, follow me!!! “Up the Revolution!!!!!!!”

So where do we go from here?…How to scare the wealthy into sharing their largesse?…How to make the corrupt politicians work for their constituents instead of filling their pockets?…How to force the fraudulent bankers to give back the money they stole?…How to get the economy back on its feet?…

The current world-wide protests seem to be stuck in a mass declaration of dissatisfaction with current conditions. Peaceful for the most part except those Italian drama queens, but shots of New York police beating up peaceful protestors exercising their Constitutional Rights are certainly going to stain America’s proud boast of being the Land of the Free. Potential violence is right around the corner. What we are seeing now is only a rehearsal. Winter is closing in and many protestors will go home to stay warm and plot next year’s protests. Revolutions generally pick up speed with the oncoming of summer. Tempers flair. Pent-up fury explodes. We all become Italians.

Most rebellions start this way. Witness France in 1789 and Russia in 1917. The rich in America and most of the Western world should be shaking in their shoes. It may take a few years but 2012 is likely to change the world in ways we may not expect. Mobocracy rules and the rumbling of the tumbrels may well be the next thing you see on TV. Right now there are many signs condemning the Corporate crooks but no cohesive plan to change things. There is no charismatic warrior to lead the charge. Michael Moore (bless him) is not going to cut it. But this winter will see organizations springing up to put things in place. A mighty Robin Hood with the compassion and wisdom of Buddha and the balls of Bolivar may appear. Change on a massive scale is inevitable.

But are we ready for the change? “Greed is good,” declared Gordon Gekko in the Movie “Wall Street” and all the suits nodded and worked on their Hedge Funds, jacking up their fees to make outrageous profits. Now greed is everywhere. Medical students choose to go into specialist areas like surgery because they will make more money and the US is short of poorly paid doctors to treat everyday health problems. Students in general prefer studying to be lawyers, accountants or stockbrokers rather than engineers or artists. The leaching professions that bleed the people are way more popular than the creative jobs that make the world more efficient and more beautiful. Japan has only one lawyer serving a given area to America’s 20. Their code of ethics reduces crime as ours, of course, should. Advertising agencies persuade people to buy stuff they don’t need and the manufacturers to sell more in order to make more money they can’t possibly use. And, even more threatening, Hollywood sells violence and the prisons are full.
The “Occupy Wall Street” movement and its world-wide ramifications are exactly what the planet needs right now. The Muslim nations showed us the way. Like Voltaire and Rousseau, harbingers of the French Revolution, and Marx and Lenin in Russia, almost every protest by the victims of avaricious aristocracies, once organised into a viable threat, has exerted a profound change in the nature of civilisation. The danger is that the Robespierres and the Stalins will take over. These guys are waiting in the wings and I don’t have much faith in the current mob of voters, in their ignorance, making wise decisions. Watch out World.
“Greed is the unintelligent man's effort to make his life meaningful. But remember my emphasis: unintelligent man's effort. No quantitative change can really transform your life. You can have millions of dollars or trillions of dollars; it is not going to change. It is only looking in the direction of quantity.
What you really need is a qualitative transformation of your being. You need your life to become full of light. You need some inner richness; outer richness is not going to help. In fact, it will make you more aware of your inner poverty by contrast. And if you have one million dollars and nothing has happened, how can you hope that by having two million dollars it is going to happen? If one million dollars have not given you anything, two million dollars are not going to give you anything. If one million dollars have given you something of inner joy, of inner splendor, then of course two million dollars will make it twice; it will become more. But people never think about it. They go on rushing almost unconsciously, asking the same again and again, more and more.
Greed means a desire for more without seeing the total futility of it. If less is not giving you anything. then it is not going to happen by having more of the same.”
OSHO
Zen: The Special Transmission, Ch 10, Q 2

On a personal level, I spent half my 84 years working to succeed in the corporate world, pay for my middle class life-style, two cars, sailboat, ski lodge and all and ended up miserable. I dropped out and the happiest and most valuable time of my life I spent living in a bamboo hut by the river in Poona One. I had very little money, the hut cost me 300 Rupees to build and I worked 12 hours a day in the Ashram for nothing. I still live in one room for which I pay $250 a month rent, have no car, no TV and am totally content. Oh… I am getting fat.

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Down The Rabbit Hole…Bleep

October, 2011

In the last 30 years Quantum Physics has raised questions regarding the world we live in…
What is Reality?
What is Consciousness?
Is everything really One?
Is there a God? Does it matter?
Can the Brain get out of it’s own way?
Does Science have any idea what’s going on?
Einstein was in the middle of studying the String Theory and Quantum Physics when he died. On one level he hated it because he thought it heralded the end of Science. It was certainly the end of Classical Physics as set out by Descartes and his followers. They declared that Man was a machine resembling a clock and if we understood the workings of the parts we would know what’s going on with the whole.
The root expression of the Mechanistic world was that everything that happened to human beings had a firm physical cause. Everyone was soaked in this concept laid down during the 18th century Age of Enlightenment. Quantum Physics stands in rigorous opposition to that concept. It is the first hint that there is something outside the universe that is not just the mechanical system, supported by Newton and all the established physicists that had lasted 300 years.
30 years ago Einstein’s work was taken up by many young science graduates and a major paradigm shift occurred questioning whether the accepted physical universe was all that there is. Quantum Physics addresses Society’s hunger to go beyond what we know, and provides the possibility of breaking away from laws that inhibit us. They no longer work.
Classical Physics tended to examine human beings and the product of human endeavor on a smaller and more minute scale under the 18th century newly-discovered microscope – atoms, molecules, protons, neutrons, quarks, etc. But humans are not reductivist beings and Quantum Physics declared a limit to the minute experiments that were getting us nowhere. Contrary to previous ideas it appeared as a wave function, all particles being ripples, everything being in vibration. The deeper you go the more alive, conscious and pure the intelligence. A fountain of nature that Einstein called an ocean of existence.
The old idea of measuring something more and more accurately and delicately got results but proved to be a passive approach. The Quantum scientists drew the line at a finite minimum and moved into nebulous areas like Consciousness and Intuition. Philosophy, Religion, Mysticism are all affected and the shock to the establishment is akin to Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo pushing the Vatican’s buttons.

Religion and Spirituality are still with us but how does the brain know what is real? What is the underlying cause of Life? Philosophers have discussed these questions for 2500 years and Mystics have explored pure being, pure awareness and pure consciousness for longer, but how real do these experiences feel? What is the relationship between consciousness and reality? Dreams feel real until you wake up. Near-death experiences change one’s perspective on life and frequently end the fear of death.
How important in all this is a belief in the existence of God? What about all the Mystics who say “All is One”? To some that is an analogy. We don’t really know whether there is a connection and Quantum Physics says “The world is a mystery that no one understands”. Perhaps a cynical view, while it violates Materialism, Determinism and all the efforts of the Scientific Establishment.
Quantum Physics can certainly cast a light on the Mind/Body relationship. We still do not know what the basic cause of illness is. Freud saw that mental life affects the body. Psychosomatics, Pavlov’s conditioning, stress and guilt all play a part in health and longevity. Newton and Descartes thought that we were in equilibrium but we are never in equilibrium. The body’s structure and patterns, like the river, are always changing.
So, is there a Fundamental Unified Field? The Superstring Theory (only 30 years to the Super category) says Yes. Quantum Physics and Molecular Biology fit together in the way the world treats us. The observer and the observed, the knower and the known are combined in the Atma – the Self. Unity is Truth. Separateness is also Truth. Like a symphony, different waves come together in a unified field of all the laws of nature.
Movies like “The Elegant Universe “What the Bleep do we Know?” and its sequel “Down the Rabbit Hole”, from which most of this material comes, open up Society’s urge to know more. We need a new direction, a new spirituality, a new human potential. Quantum Physics points to the possibility of breaking away from accepted systems that limit us. It is the Physics of Possibilities.
Scientists are working on various types of Bio-feedback machines that enable us to see the flow of Chi and measure Intent, Awareness and Consciousness. With these tools they hope to take us all deeper and deeper through physical, mental and emotional levels to moral and spiritual experiences that produce the Avatar. But estimates vary from a generation to 200 years before we are all able to reach.
Well, this for sure got me fired up and I’m certain Osho would have a lot to say. I’m not a scientist but I do know the difference between a Physicist and a Mechanic. However none of these academic scientists drop a hint as to what separates a Quantum Physicist from a Quantum Mechanist. Same-same?

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The Night Osho Shocked Me

August, 2011

Poona One 1978…I had just made it back from a stressful trip to California and was signed up for Darshan. I was expecting to be sent back to work in the Ashram but instead Osho decided to give me three groups. That took me aback and I said “I’ve done fifteen already.” He grinned and answered, ”Well, you do some more,” and 200 sannyasins burst out laughing.

I went back to my seat shaking my head. He had given me Arica which I had already done with Oscar Ichazo’s 40 Day original Arica Group in Los Angeles before I became a sannyasin. Then something called Relaxation, and a Massage Group along with three sessions in the Samadhi Tank.

So, it was a wonderful shock as most of Osho’s off the wall suggestions were. The Arica group turned out to be very different from the original and worked on my jangled nerves as pure therapy. The Relaxation trip was just that. We were encouraged to do exactly what we wanted in the moment and many fell asleep. The Massage Group was bliss and the Samadhi Tank experience was three quarters of an hour floating in this enclosed warm womb-like water that finished me off. I was back in the place when I had left Poona…calm, centered, relaxed in my Being and ready to go back to work 12 hour shifts immersed in the unique atmosphere that characterized Poona One. The happiest and most personally productive time in my life.

So many times he would come up with proposals for my future growth that would surprise me. Often it would take me two or three days in whatever situation he placed me to realize that it was perfect for me in the space that I was in. Sometimes I would resent the move and grumble that it didn’t suit my egoistical desires. Then all of a sudden my resistance would drop and I would surrender – Ah! Bliss…Ah! Rapture...

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This And That

June, 2011

How do I deal with news about catastrophic events happening globally?...Compassion for the suffering in the knowledge that I can do nothing to help except sign Avaaz petitions, and generally try to avoid the moaners who seem to get off on the misfortunes of others.

How do I deal with local catastrophic events?...We have a few of those here like hurricanes, tropical storms, the lake rising 4 meters in 3 months, cyanobacteria blooming on the surface creating an unsightly green carpet, occasional robberies and uncaring attitudes among the three or four villains in our otherwise friendly community....
Each event demands a different response so I deal with it as my energy sees fit. Fortunately 90% of the time we live in Paradise, life is mellow and I have few qualms that keep me awake at night.

What do I answer when someone asks me if a I meditate every day?...No. I am not a creature of habit which is why I quit on Buddhism. I meditate when I feel like it and when I think it might help as a tool to guide me in specific situations, like the I Ching. I have to say I am not so good at it.

What do I have to say about multi-tasking?...Tasks are generally not on my radar screen so I have little to say about it...I guess I try to do one thing at a time and, at my age, I tend to get confused anyway!

What meaning do dreams have for me?...I used to be heavy into Jungian interpretations and spent some time in a group playing out our dreams but that was long ago and I have found that I am aware of my dreams so rarely nowadays that there is no cohesion, significance or understanding left in the morning.

What can I share about the spirit world around me?...I live in the Land of the Maya, a profound spirit world, but it has never attracted me. I respect their belief system but have little interest in their interpretations. Over the years I have dabbled in such activities as Past Lives, Automatic Writing, Seances etc.;  drunk Hayawasca many times and still have doubts about the Transmigration of Souls. Like Tom Robbins I don't know what is going to happen to me when I die and I don't think anyone else does either.

Well, that's pretty banal, but I'm an ordinary kind of chap, and that's basically how it is with me. My aim in life is to enjoy it on whatever level comes my way.
By the way...if you want a comprehensive gallery of photographs of Poona One and the Ranch check out my friend Megalove Anand's contribution on Facebook recently...it has caused quite a stir among the old-time sannyasins and a sauce of inspiration to the younger folks...many beautiful shots of Osho in different situations and you will recognize many friends.

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Goa - A State Of Mind...

May, 2011

Victim of centuries of Brahmin
And Catholic crusades against
Happiness, after twenty-five years
On the brink of Paradise,
Tourism, the Police and the
Politicians have retaken the
Beach-heads in the name of
Decency, Power and the
Mighty Rupee.

The front-line rebel troops -
The Shiva Freaks, the Hippies,
The flower of European and
American youth smoking chillums
Are rare now. Replaced by dogged
Yuppies high on booze and Techno.
Materialism 10, Spirituality 0.

Only Anjuna, Chapora, Vagator and
The lake survive as glorious, tattered
Icons. A few middle-aged remnants of
The old-timers remain, holed up in
"Joe Banana's" talking about their
Out-of-body, past life and everyday
Samadhi experiences.

Dark-tanned they are, graying, surf-blond
With subtle tattoos and hard, bare feet.
The sole change in their uniform
Is the addition of a G-string.

Goa - a fading State of Mind.
The three-day parties at the Fort,
The Bamboo huts, chai shops and
Easy-going locals are still there
Alongside Condominiums. Shopping
Malls, Hotels and hordes of motor-cycles,
Scooters and Tour-buses parked
Alongside the spitting image of Jesus

Having a pee......

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Absorbing the Master

February, 2011

Well, I guess this would have to go back to the first time I decided to take a look at my life on a deeper level at the age of 42. It was 1968. I had gone as far as I could go in my profession and my domestic life was disappointing. My students were into Marshall MacLuhan and asking awkward questions. I began to realize that in sync with the accepted standards of success, I was living a normal hypocritical, shallow life. My physical, mental and emotional needs were being met in the usual half-assed way but my spirit was nowhere to be seen. I needed guidance.

Fast Forward…I now live in a popular backpacker hotel but many of the young well-educated vacationers with plenty of opportunities to lead a spiritual life, like me back in those days, have little or no interest. Granted, the few who do yoga and meditate are a delight to have around, but I guess things have not improved that much.

Back to 68…it was a very good year to drop out. The first existential inklings for me that there may be something beyond my seemingly successful but morally and spiritually bland middle class way of life occurred in Malaysia where I watched three hundred people of all ages and from all walks of life dressed in black, engaged in Tai Chi at the Chinese Swimming Club in Penang. Various life-changing experiences travelling as a hippie ‘Road Freak’ through Asia drew me to California and the budding Human Potential movement. Ram Dass, who lived nearby, started me on the path towards finding the Being, cunningly hidden below my personality. I became a Seeker.

Wending my way through Esalen, Kyros, Topanga Center and many weekend encounter groups, acid, weed and mushrooms; hot tubs and casual sex at Sandstone Ranch and Elysium Fields, both around the corner, mixed with Guru-shopping – Satchitananda, Yogi Bhajan, Mukthananda and a bunch of Holy Men passed by, each with some impact. Then one day CC (Christ Chaitanya) and ‘Stupid’ Sagar came to Elysium to run a one-day group of Osho’s meditations and, listening to a tape, the name of which I cannot recall, I fell in love.

“The disciple will be able to find the Master. The relationship between a student and a teacher is that of the head, and a relationship between a disciple and a Master is that of the heart – it is a love relationship. Mad in the eyes of the world, utterly mad. In fact, no love is so total as the love that happens between the Master and the disciple.”
OSHO
The Book of the Books Vol. 3

Next day, an old friend came to visit and I gave him a Tantra tape and a Rajneesh Times to read while I went shopping for an hour or so. On my return, he looked up and said “Heh, this guy agrees with us!” He left for Poona with his girlfriend within a couple of weeks. I would have gone with them but had responsibilities I could not duck in California. He came back two or three months later as Anando, the great sculptor and, while we were sitting naked on the lawn at Elysium, told me about his mala. “You have to go sit at Osho’s feet, man.” he said. “Touch His robe. Your life will never be the same.” So, I went to Poona on a two-month round-trip air ticket and stayed four years.

I took Sannyas in May of 1977 (The Further Shore), became a disciple and fought my way through around fifteen groups…no gain without pain…to a state of blissful meditation leaving much of the darker side of my nature behind. I lived in a bamboo hut down by the river and worked in the Mariam kitchen under Deeksha and as a Boutique Handyman making meditation stools, hair sticks and lamps. This was the happiest time of my life. I had nothing – a guitar, a book (A Cup of Tea), a few clothes and the simplest of cooking gear. Two buckets of water a day carried from a tap by the Burning Ghat kept me clean and made my tea. Relationships and my need for sex fell by the wayside. Here I grew, dropped my attachment to my achievements, my acquired attitudes and tactics for getting through life. Staying cool, hiding in the past and worrying about the future were no longer important. My entire defensive armor collapsed and I disappeared into meditation. My life has never been the same.

“The disciple starts melting into the Master. The disciple destroys all distance between himself and the Master, the disciple yields, the disciple surrenders, the disciple effaces himself. He becomes a non-entity, he becomes a nothingness. And in that nothingness, his heart opens. In that absence his ego has disappeared and the Master can penetrate into his being.”
OSHO
The Book of the Books Vol. 3

When Osho left Poona and went to the US I spent a short time in Australia at the famous Oxford Street pub which was the Sydney Center and from there, was summoned to the Ranch. Hallelujah! I was called! Another four years working as an architect, farmer and restaurant maitre d’ along with the most diverse, intelligent people I had ever met, creating a spiritual oasis in the high desert – a working example to the world of a self-sufficient community living in peace and harmony and a dire threat to the God-fearing Democracy of America in the 80s. So they closed us down and that was the last time I saw my Master. He was hounded to an early death by the forces of avarice and ignorance.

Back in the world with a ‘got nothing to lose’ attitude I ended up in Guatemala where I have lived for 24 years. Here, among old friends who came to keep me company on one of the most beautiful lakes on Earth, I have found my place, my peace and my home.
Still a disciple? Certainly. The intensity of being with Osho for so long while he was with us has died down to a glowing ember. As he suggested I checked out other Masters – Papaji and Tyohar have touched me – but my attachment to Osho has never wavered. I read Osho almost every day. His profound wisdom couched in such poetic terms thrills me. He comes up in meditation and my thoughts frequently and I stay in touch through Viha Connection, Osho World and even Facebook where many sannyasin friends have emerged from the distant past. I feel him with me in moments of contentment and lovely memories…a comforting presence like a wise and valued old friend.

“A disciple is something totally different from a follower because he is not head-oriented, a disciple is heart-oriented. He loves the Master, absorbs him and then goes on his own way.”
OSHO
The Diamond Sutra

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Power

December, 2010

There are two ways to use Power. With Love or with Hate, and in our society it is generally used with Hate – from greed, fear, envy, ego and the desire to win. In the Win/Lose game there is little care for those who lose and only remorse for oneself if we miss out.

To use one’s power with love, compassion, wisdom and patience is a rare quality. Even the so-called do-gooders usually have some agenda that feeds the ego. There always seem to be strings attached. From Mother Teresa who only treated the poor if they became Catholics down to the gift check to support some starving child in Africa, the subconscious desire to score points is somewhere in there.

Power as used by Hitler, Napoleon and the Barbarians has brought the world to its knees and, as used by most politicians, priests and potentates throughout history has undermined the well-being of humanity and the planet. Financial and corporate bosses, lawyers, accountants, advertising and insurance agents use Power for their own ends. There is no love, there only the desire to profit or gain control. Doctors, backed by the Pharmaceutical companies, exert power over their patients, discouraging them from using natural cures with full agreement from their Medical Associations in favor of profit making medicines that create addictions. Half a million scientists use their power and knowledge to design rockets and other diabolical munitions to kill fellow members of the human race. Armies, uniformed assassins hopped up on power, murder whole peoples who don’t agree with their own national policies, and Police create criminals by setting up their own local wars.

Power – one of the four major motivators of human behavior – Sex, Money, Power and Time – continues to pressure humanity into unproductive habits that threaten our peaceful progress towards a universal harmony with nature and existence. History tells us over and over again that Power, practiced for their own ends by all the Kings – the Tudors in Britain, the Bourbons in France, the Hapsburgs in Spain and Austria, the Hohenzollerns in Germany, the Romanovs in Russia…all virtually dictators who abused their own peoples and generally came to a sticky end. Not to mention the Popes, the Puritans and now the Evangelicals - all those religious fanatics who browbeat their simple flocks into belief systems that sabotage their ability to think for themselves.

The Power of the Witch…the hypnotic power that hexes the victims into believing that they are helpless is really a massive con. Without the victims the Witch is powerless. Without Christ there could be no Crucifixion. Voltaire and Rousseau brought the suppressed citizens of France out of their suffering by pointing out the injustices of the monarchy. John Locke raised the awareness of the English people to set up Parliamentary rule, trial by jury and the recognition of natural rights inspiring many democratic revolutions and the US Declaration of Independence. During Europe’s so-called Age of Enlightenment the populace began to realize that they too possessed the power to control their own lives independent of the church and kings. An insight that changed the world.

This was 200 years ago. So, how about now?… Democracy, Capitalism, Socialism and Religion, far from ensuring that Power belongs to the people has reverted to a corrupt potpourri of political greed, religious fanaticism and legal procrastination as represented by Congress, Parliament, Churches and all the institutions that are supposed to lead us into a Golden Age of Harmony, Trust and Wellbeing. Now, we have added to this unfortunate blend Hollywood, the Media, TV, the News, Facebook and more distractions to keep us from experiencing the Power of being who we are.

So…how to use power with love, compassion and wisdom?…Drop all desire to win, possess, succeed while others lose…?
“When power is gentle it has a beauty; then it is nothing but the power of love. In other words it is no more power, it is simply gentleness. It is in this context that Jesus’ statement can be rightly understood. Blessed are the meek for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
OSHO
“Going All the Way”
Osho, like Jesus gathered thousands of disciples through his frequent expressions of love. His power was based on a love relationship which went way deeper than the fear needed for tyrants to get their own way. His power was more like the power expressed by parents for their children or lovers for their partners and was thoroughly imbued with the practice of meditation………..
“Once meditation becomes the foundation then power is creative, then it brings great poetry and great music and great dance in your life. And not just in your life; it starts overflowing in you, it starts reaching others. When the poetry is born in you, you have to share it. When the flower opens, the fragrance is bound to be released.”
OSHO
“The Old Pond – Plop”
So, drop the desires, the cunning, manipulative strategies to get ahead. Drop your wish to dominate others, your conversations, your relationships. Drop your power if it is not practiced with total love. Whatever you gain you may well lose and you can’t take it with you anyway.

“When you try to possess, your power becomes invested in meaningless things. When you desire, your power becomes desire and desires are infinite. Each desire becomes a leakage of your power. When all possessiveness and all desires have been understood as futile, and dropped, you become a reservoir of power.”
OSHO
“The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha” Vol. 12

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Prayer

November, 2010

Prayer. During my early life prayer was a dirty word. I hated praying. For the most part it took place in a dingy Christian school chapel in a gloomy atmosphere along with a bunch of other kids who probably hated it as much as I did. The only thing I ever prayed for was to be spared the caning I was scheduled to suffer for the accrued crimes I had committed during the week. And it never seemed to work. The Headmaster of Bishop Cotton School, Simla, was an imposing gentleman called The Reverend Canon Sinker who was probably the biggest hypocrite I ever met and of course  we called him Canon Stinker. He wore a black cloak, rode a black horse, had fearsome bushy eyebrows and was a dynamic preacher who always amped up the sycophantic drama whenever the Bishop showed up. He was responsible for the loss of at least one Christian soul. Prayer time became a dreamtime for me.

Later I began to appreciate the sound of mass prayers sung by choirs in Florence Cathedral or the Blue Mosque in Isfahan but could never enter into the spirit of communing with a God I did not believe in. Prayer to me was begging for rewards I seriously doubted that I deserved. There was always a disturbing feeling of guilt attached and I always felt like Hari Dass Baba who said, “Everywhere I look I see only my own desires”.

Religious groups like Nisheren Shoshu who chant for success in business or New Age Gurus who push the Power of Intent were not for me. They seemed to work for many of my friends but perhaps my lack of faith got in the way and for me they were a waste of time.

Then I met Osho and my whole concept of Prayer changed. Possibly the first indication of the true meaning of prayer for me was Osho’s flat statement that Silence is the only prayer. Meditation became the alternative to prayer. Asking nothing and accepting what is.

            “Prayer has nothing to say…it is more of silence.
            Prayer is to ask nothing of God…rather it is to give.
            Prayer is an offering of your being.
            Prayer is losing yourself in the Divine.”
            From Osho’s “Blessed are the Ignorant”

Through Poona and the Ranch my perception changed and prayer became a trust in surrender and ultimately a deep expression of gratitude, two valuable tools on Life’s path. And, of course, love. So many religious zealots pray for the destruction of their enemies. This is Holy? A heavy Christian ex-dictator of Guatemala used to say “The only thing I fear is God.” Wait a minute…you’re supposed to love God.

Iranians pray for the liquidation of Israel and the Chosen Few pray that they be spared and their Arabic cousins (they are all descended from Abraham) be smitten… Where’s the love? “Love is the very essence of prayer,” says Osho; “Those who pray without love, no transformation is going to happen through their prayer.” So they’re still at it, down on their knees and getting nowhere.

And finally...

Michael Angelo is painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. He is getting tired of lying on his back, so he rolls over and sits on the edge of the scaffold. Looking down he notices a little old lady praying in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary. Wanting to have some fun, he shouts down in a deep voice “I am Jesus Christ. Listen to me and I will answer your prayers.” The old lady looks up, clasps her rosary and shouts back, “You shut up-a your mouth! I am-a talking to your Mama!”...

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Sannyas

September, 2010

Sannyas is the most significant event that has ever happened to me. The first step was to drop out from the material world of career, marriage and middle class comfort at the age of 42, half a lifetime ago. There followed eight years of seeking and process until I was ready to sit in front of Osho. A miraculous transformation occurred and over the next four years in Poona One I became a Swami, Master of own Being. The beginning of a divine dimension where all is peace as Osho put it.

Since then the path has been turbulent but in comparison with the chaos of my previous life there has been a substance, a grounding which has totally supported me and my aspirations. Not a belief system, not a faith because there has been much doubt, but through letting go and my own experience most of my questions have been answered and a tangible peace has entered my soul.

What sannyas means to me invites comparison with my earlier life and the lives of non-sannyasins around me. This can be a trap leading to the kind of superiority complex we sometimes had on the Ranch so I need to proceed in all humility.

Prior to sannyas I was motivated by ambition, getting ahead, keeping up in a kind of race to maintain or improve my chances of reaching the top. Working long hours, playing all the competitive games and putting down everyone who didn’t agree with me, my life was a pretense chained to my past, superficial and easily exposed to anyone who would ask me who I was, what I was doing, my hopes and fears etc.

I was full of knowledge, acquired attitudes, strategies, patterns and tactics for getting through life, like avoiding risk, staying cool, hiding in the past and worrying about the future, hanging on to the Romantic Dream, being reasonable, logical, judgemental, feeling trapped, punished, not good enough and so fucking serious.

 To take sannyas is to take a risk, to jump into a world of integrity denied by Society and deep fears have to be overcome. Trust, Awareness and Compassion are rarely practiced in the world today. Peace and Freedom are off the radar screen of most World Governments and Law Agencies. Corruption, cheating, secrets and all the cunning needed to survive are the norm and the media glorify violence and condemn sex. Only a tiny fraction of the world’s population has ever considered the kind of dedication needed to take sannyas or attain Enlightenment.

Sannyas for me was dropping into another world of living without structure, with no dependence on the past or my personality, a morality that came from within and an openness to experience which I had never dared to face. Poona was a Buddhafield of the kind of energy that was palpable, filled with the most attractive and intelligent people I had ever met, learning to trust themselves and staying centered in their Beings. I experienced a profound sense of freedom that came from surrender.

As a sannyasin, I find I can deal with most of the negativity, pessimism and cynicism expressed around me and stay relatively cool. Rarely do I go down in these situations and the sannyas sense of humor keeps me afloat. Being in the world but not of it is a concept I had never heard of way back before Osho. I can be compassionate in my dealings with friends and neighbors who have not had the good fortune to explore the world of sannyas. Even handling the crises of sannyasins who have somehow missed the boat and seem unable to go through life with grace, I seem to be able to help without getting bent out of shape. It doesn’t always work  One guy got pissed off and called me a preacher. So here’s a preacher joke...

“I never slept with my wife before we got married” said one priest to another. “Did you?” “I don’t know” said the other, “What was her maidan name?”

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Boredom

July, 2010

Most of my life I have been a very active person and never really get bored. There’s so much to do and even when there isn’t I find something so interesting that I have to do it. Probably the busiest time in my life was working on the Ranch and maybe the least industrious was in Poona One. Both were inspiring times and the latter was perhaps the happiest. Even before I started working in Poona, when I was sitting gazing at the river from my bamboo hut, I was never bored. There was so much to contemplate  Osho’s morning dicourse occupied much of the day, Groups, meditation and sex the rest of the time. Bored? The thought never occurred to me.

 According to Osho boredom is a sign of intelligence so I guess I have been pretty stupid up to now.

“It needs intelligence to feel boredom” he said “so very few, the most intelligent people in the world, feel boredom. Buddha felt it, Mahavira felt it. The rarest people feel boredom because it needs tremendous intelligence to experience it. So in a way it is not a curse , it is a blessing”.
OSHO

So, maybe all that activity got in the way. Elsewhere he says that boredom simply means that the way we are living is wrong. Heh…, I like that. Apathy, the doldrums, “ennui” are not part of my personality. Sure, the older I get the more time I spend on my back, sleeping, day-dreaming and talking to my cats. But there’s no boredom there…just laziness.

Victor Baranco, one of my teachers before I met Osho used to say that the way out of boredom was to put energy into anything but yourself. Most of the people I observe as being bored are totally wrapped up in their own importance. Consequently they are usually the most boring people that I know and I avoid them. In the same vein I discard books, DVDs, magazines etc that bore me and I’ll quit on a painting that looks like it will turn out boring. Just as I don’t want to bore myself I don’t want to bore others. Actually, I’m getting a tad bored writing this.

I have a couple of friends who see themselves as the World’s Leading Authority on just about every subject that comes up for discussion. One of them frequently blocks my path, arms akimbo and I have to go into some mantra to wait for him to run out of breath. He lives alone with very few friends, watches TV and lots of videos to avoid boredom and uses the words “I”, “Me” and “Mine” all the time….boring. Another used to be an alcoholic, frequently pestering people for attention, finally quitting the booze and now hangs out with nothing to do but grumble about being bored.

Right now Lake Atitlan, Guatemala where I live is suffering from Tropical Storm Agatha with a bunch of hurricanes forcast for the rest of the rainy season. We are in real trouble. Huge deluges and the consequent landslides have destroyed whole villages, homes, roads, bridges, docks and killed hundreds. Obviously, continuing to live here is precarious. The steep hillsides are saturated and many of my friends have just given up and left for North America and Europe, leaving their dream homes to the vicissitudes of a terrifying nature. Better than waking up every night it rains and worrying that they may have to evacuate.

Two old time sannyasins you may remember, Swami Yoga Anando, the sculptor from New Orleans and Big Sur, and Swami Naresh, the little Italian/American from Mill Valley, California have beautiful houses, a studio and a Buddha Hall nearby. Their properties are threatened by a river that will surely overflow in the next storm and almost certainly by the end of this year both of them will be destroyed. I talked to Anando yesterday and he’s in a great space. He flies to California tomorrow, quitting his gorgeous little house with a fantastic view and exquisite art works and starting a new adventure at the age of 77….and he’s excited. Similarly Naresh, 68. will abandon his $250,000 property to its fate and return to Thailand. The Sannyas way. We got kind of used to moving on with Osho. My place? So far so good. Boredom? No way ! In any case, there’s the World Cup !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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We Are Not Guilty

June, 2010

Guilt – The very word terrorizes us – Blame, Conscience, Culpability, Disgrace, Dishonor, Failure, Liability, Misbehavior, Offense, Penitence, Regret, Remorse, Shame, Sin, Stigma…..Everything we do seems to go wrong and we’re stuck with Guilt.
           
Coming from the blissful space of total innocense new-born babies hear the word “No” for the first time and Guilt follows right behind. The concepts of Right and Wrong fan the flames and before long the massive yoke of Guilt weighs heavily on the shoulders of our very Beings. Once set in we become sitting ducks under the control of the sadistic, sex-starved clergy who have had centuries of practice in the art of undermining the Love, Freedom and Happiness of Humanity by torturing us with the myth that extra-marital sex and just about everything else that smacks of fun is evil. Just as Gratitude is one of the major tools for living the Good Life so Guilt is one of the tools used by all the major religions to create the misery that only repentance through their intervention with God can alleviate.

“Guilt is the trade secret of all the so-called established religions” said Osho. “Create guilt in people, make them feel bad about themselves, don’t let them be respectful of their own lives, let them feel condemned, let them feel deep down that they are ugly, that they are not of any worth, that they are dust and they will be ready to become dependant. These are the people who have been exploiting you for ages”.

My own life-long tussle with Guilt probably started with my parents not wanting me and being too scared to have an abortion. My mother frequently told me I was a difficult birth and my father left when I was two weeks old. So it must have been hard to feel worthwhile….What had I done to piss them off?…. My crime was being born…Guilt, guilt, guilt...

It was downhill from there on. At age Four I was shipped off to a Christian Home for Delinquents and Orphans where the Guilt trips took on a more sophisticated form by setting up rules, unnatural rules, we were constantly tempted to break. Punishment consisted of caning with our pants down leaving welts which lasted all week until the next thrashing and/or Solitary Confinement accompanied by threats of everlasting Damnation. Boarding school and the Army drilled into me a perpetual fear that I was in constant danger of screwing up on some level and that I would never be good enough.

Jewish and Catholic friends describe similar ordeals well into adulthood. My friend Bhavana was disowned by her parents for taking Sannyas and recent news of Catholic scandals threaten the clergy, even the Pope, with exposure. Do they feel guilty? Probably not – those little creeps think they’re infallible and above the law. So they feel free to abuse children and condemn us all as sinners, safe in the knowledge that they will be protected by their superiors.

 My mother took six weeks to die of cancer and spent the time cleaning up all the karma she had on Sex, Money, Power and Time, assuaging her Guilt for having abandoned me, deceived my father, manipulating just about everybody and wasting her life. When she finally expired her eyes were as innocent as a new-born baby and I wept to realize she had punished herself with Guilt, Regret and Remorse for 77 years.

“Do what you do and don’t feel bad” Osho told me at my first Darshan. “Someone’s going to think you’re guilty anyway”…

These words, along with the various therapy sessions I had undergone in California and Poona literally changed my attitude towards life. Especially in Santosh’s three month long DeHypno Group I realized that much of my misery during those years was self-inflicted. Spurred on by the Church and Society I bought into the whole trip that I was guilty from Birth…Christ had died on the Cross to deliver me from my sins. What sins? What had I done wrong? I was a Baby… and who was judging me? These sanctimonious preachers who were quoting from this big old collection of Horror Stories they called the Bible….How ridiculous….For me the War was over,

Most of us do the right thing in each and every moment based on the information we have at the time. Unless we are guided by the Fear or Greed fed us by those same authority figures - the Priests, the Politicians, our Parents, our Teachers, our Lawyers, our Media, our Bankers and everyone else who are lined up to keep us under wraps, we generally do not harm either ourselves or others, we create new and exciting adventures in the progress of Humanity and lead worthwhile lives. For the most part we are Innocent. WE ARE NOT GUILTY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! With this insight, when I stopped working against myself everything started to work.

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Laughter

May, 2010

Hi folks…up for a giggle? It’s April Fool’s Day – Life is a joke. Take the piss out of all your self-aggrandizing neighbors.

I moved into my property here in Guatemala twenty years ago today. There were four Germans living here and they all hated each other. At first I was turned off. They would all come and tell me what assholes the others were. But the local Kakchikel Indians were so charming and the whole place so extravagantly beautiful I couldn’t resist and decided to invite all my sannyasin friends and treat the whole situation as a joke. One day my neighbor, seeing the balcony I was building 10 feet above the ground with just a bench around it instead of the 3 foot high child-proof railing according to standard building codes which we don’t have here, said “Someone’s going to get drunk and fall off”. I  said “When they’re lying here dying I’m going to say ‘Shit, Fritz told me to build the rail higher’”. He didn’t crack a smile. Twenty years later no-one has fallen to their deaths and he is still here - one of the most miserable people I know.

Ten reasons why Chocolate is better than sex...

  1. Good chocolate is easy to find.
  2. Chocolate satisfies even when it’s gone soft.
  3. You can safely have chocolate even while you’re driving.
  4. The word “commitment” doesn’t scare off chocolate.
  5. With chocolate there’s no reason to fake it.
  6. You can have chocolate any time of the month.
  7. When you have chocolate it doesn’t keep the neighbors awake.
  8. You can have chocolate in front of your mother.
  9. You can make chocolate last as long as you want to.
  10. With chocolate size doesn’t matter.

Laughter, according to Osho is the nearest space most people reach to Nirvana apart from orgasm and sneezing. Gratitude and Laughter are the most valuable tools for living the good life we have.

Charlie Chaplin made more people laugh around the world than anyone else and he never bothered to philosophise about the unexamined life or follow a Master. The natural belly laugh comes from letting go and loving the moment. Nature’s great movie of Grizzly Bears scratching their backs against trees in total ecstacy reduces us to tears of uncontrollable laughter – it goes on and on until you pray for it to stop. Osho’s famous “Fuck” Discourse had us rolling in Buddha Hall’s aisles. We laughed for days.

We always think our dogs are the smartest. Larry is boasting to Walter about his dog, Butch. “Butch” says Larry “I’m hungry”. Butch races away down the road until he sees a chicken shed. He digs a hole under the fence, lifts a hen off its nest and picks up an egg from underneath it. Then he races back to the kitchen, boils the egg, delivers it to Larry and stands on his head with his tail in the air. “That’s incredible!” says Walter, “but why is he standing on his head like that with his ass in the air?” “Well, he’s a smart dog” replies Larry “He knows I don’t have an egg-cup”.

The local Indians here laugh all day long. They are among the poorest people in the world and have been treated atrociously by the Conquistadors and their Ladino descendants for three centuries. They still are treated like cattle and paid a pittance for their labor but they laugh. I live behind a restaurant kitchen staffed by five or six Kakchikel Indian girls from the village…I wake up to their laughter and it goes on all day. Such music. Such a tonic. Their jokes are crude, childish, often accompanied by tickling and teasing but they spend hours washing up, sweeping floors and cleaning toilets in total bliss.

In contrast, we Gringos are a serious lot. Raised on the cynical humor of Hollywood we seem to need such sophisticated scripts that everyday life situations no longer suffice to raise a giggle.

Three of Japan’s greatest swordsmen are competing before an enormous crowd. The Emperor nods his head and an attendant releases a fly from a small container. Whoosh! Quicker than the human eye, the first samurai’s sword splits the fly in two and the crowd roars. Another nod from the Emperor and a second fly is released. Whoosh! Whoosh!. The second samurai has hardly moved  but before him lies the fly cut cleanly into four pieces. The crowd gasps in disbelief. Once more the Emperor nods and another fly is released. The third samurai makes an impressive flourish with his sword but the fly can still be heard buzzing around. Laughter and giggling ripple through the crowd and the Emperor is furious. “You’re fired!” he yells, “That fly got away!” “I know” smiles the samurai, wiping his sword, “but he will never make love again”.

Sex is one of the funniest pastimes in life but we take it so seriously that it can get boring. We had an awful lot in Poona and on the Ranch before AIDS hit and the passion got kind of diluted. In the early days we were advised to wear condoms and plastic gloves against the transference of dangerous juices. So we played games, blowing them up into Mickey Mouse ears and having balloon fights…anything for a laugh.

The Texas Chili Cook-off… These are notes from an inexperienced chili taster named Frank...

Recently I was lucky enough to be the 10,000th attendee at the State Fair in Texas and was asked to fill in to be a judge at a chili cook-off. Apparently the original judge #3 called in sick at the last moment. I was assured by the other two judges that it would be a fun event and the chili would not be all that spicy. Besides I could have free beer during the tasting so I accepted, Here are the scorecards for the event...

Chili #1; Mike’s Maniac Monster Chili…
Judge #1 “A little too heavy on tomato. Amusing kick”.
Judge #2 “Nice smooth tomato flavor. Very mild”.
Frank “Holy shit. What the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway with it. Took me two beers to put the flames out. Hope that’s the worst one”.
Chili #2; Arthur’s Afterburner Chili…
Judge #1 “Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight Jalapeno tang”
Judge #2 “Exciting BBQ flavor. Needs more peppers to be taken seriously”.
Frank “Keep this out of reach of children! I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich Manoever. They had to bring 3 extra beers when they saw the look on my face”.
Chili #3; Fred’s Famous Burn down the Barn Chili…..
Judge #1 “Excellent firehouse chili! Great kick. Needs more beans”.
Judge #2 “A beanless chili, a bit salty, good use of red peppers”.
Frank “Call the EPA. I’ve located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have snorted Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Sally, the barmaid pounded me on the back; now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I’m getting shit-faced”.
Chili #4; Linda’s Legal Lip Remover….
Judge #1 “Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive”.
Judge #2 “Chili using shredded beef; could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement”.
Frank “My ears are ringing and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted and four people behind me burst into flames. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. It really pissed me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming”.
Chili #5; Vera’s Vegetarian Variety…
Judge #1 “Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spice and peppers”.
Judge #2 “The best yet. Aggressive use of peppers, onion and garlic. Superb!”
Frank “My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulphuric flames. I need to wipe my ass with a Snow Cone!”
Chili #6; Susan’s Screaming Sensation Chili…
Judge #1 “A mediochre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers”.
Judge #2 “Ho Hum, tastes as if the chef threw in a can of peppers at the last moment. I should add that I am worried about Judge #3. He appears to be in a bit of distress”.
Frank “You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin and I wouldn’t feel a thing. I’ve lost the sight in one eye and the world sounds like rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili which slid unnoticed out of my mouth and my pants are full of lava-like shit. At least during the autopsy they’ll know what killed me. I’ve decided to stop breathing. It’s too painful.
Chili #7; Helen’s Scorching Piquant Chili…
Judge #1 “A perfect ending…this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare it’s existence”.
Judge #2 “This final entry is a good, balanced chili, neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 passed out and pulled the chili pot on top of himself. Not sure whether he’ll make it”.
Frank “Aaaaaaaaaaaaah……aaaaaaaaaagh”.

There now…Don’t you feel better?…Osho salted all his discourses with jokes. He was the original sit-down comedian. He loved to make us laugh.

“Total laughter is a rare phenomenon. When each cell of your body laughs, when each fiber of your being pulsates with joy, then it brings great relaxation. There are a few activities which are immensely valuable; laughter, singing, dancing but laughter is the quickest. Dancing you may have to learn, it may take years. Singing is a talent and it may not be possible for you. Laughter is the most ample, one of the most natural and spontaneous phenomena. You don’t have to learn; it is a natural gift. Everyone can laugh”
OSHO
Come, Come, Yet Again Come

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All Those Lonely People. Where Do They All Come From?

March, 2010

I had a miserable childhood. Loneliness dogged me. An only child brought up in India during the Raj by an autocratic polo-playing father and an aloof mother who spent most of her time playing bridge at the club. At home the only person who gave me any attention was my “ayah” for I was not allowed to play with any of the Indian children of my family’s seventeen servants and the nearest English kid was twenty miles away. At boarding school in the hills I belonged to a minority lorded over by Indian and Anglo-Indian boys intent on proving their superiority and I spent years virtually alone with no support from my family and no idea how to handle my loneliness. This destructive form of self-perception, feeling left out, forgotten, unneeded and ignored ruled my life through childhood and youth.

My first contact with boys of my own ilk, and the brand new concept for me of friendship, was in the Army. Girls were way too scary. Eighteen years of loneliness scarred me for the rest of my life and fear of people was a constant burden. Through college and a professional career I acquired some social graces and the anxiety waned but still, with the possibility of a lonely weekend ahead, I would hurry down to the local bar or call up friends with the express purpose of avoiding being alone. I was forever comparing myself unfavourably with jocks who scored the best-looking women or wilting under my ever-present inferiority complex. Rejection floored me.

Marriage helped, as did adopting a couple of little girls but the cost in terms of freedom was too high and I still feared being alone. I found myself taking on projects that would keep me in touch with people. Teaching a couple of days a week, attending Art Shows as a magazine critic, sailing all summer and skiing all winter along with my job as an architect kept loneliness at bay. Yet loneliness was at the heart of my dissatisfaction with my shallow middle class life. There was always something missing. My students, high on Marshall McCluhan, would ask me what I was doing with my life, who I was, and left me struggling for answers. Spirituality had been a total stranger since I quit church in disgust at the hypocrisy displayed by both priests and congregation and atheism was a self-discipline requiring aloneness. Dropping out, searching my soul, following a spiritual path and seeking answers to basic questions began to take precedence in the second half of my life and at last I connected with Osho and went to Poona.

Osho was not the first of the many gurus I had spent time with to show me the way to drop loneliness. However, he was the first to connect on a heart level (where it really hurt) and I count learning the art of being alone and totally content, as being one of the most beneficial rewards of my time in the Ashram. Santosh’s Dehypno Group took me to a level of acceptance of the fact that aloneness and meditation were gifts I needed to explore. Experiencing my childhood again and realizing on a deep level that the past is irrelevant to the present moment and that there was no need for my four-year-old to hang on to the memory of my loneliness, I finally got clear that as an adult the situation was different. I had a strong capable body and an alert mind that felt totally comfortable with some of the most intelligent people I had ever met. Meditation released a longing to spend time with myself. A powerful awareness convinced me that aloneness was my natural state and a past life experience showed me an image of myself as a monk.

Sudha’s first Transformation Group in Poona Two, for which I was an assistant, confirmed my trust in being alone. Four therapists took around 40 participants, all in mid-life crisis, through a week-long group that changed their lives. Tragically they were immersed in a quagmire of self-pity finding themselves no longer attractive to younger members of the opposite sex and finding no way out of a labyrinth of low self-esteem that had reached rock bottom. Many were still mourning the loss of their loved ones through death or divorce, finding no reason to keep on living. I had never realized the depth to which loneliness could assert itself and, in the middle of taking notes I found myself crying.

Sudha, Garimo, Deva Geet and Shunyo took them through experiences highlighting the damage they were inflicting on themselves and drew them out from the shadows of their delusions into the sunlight of reality. There was nothing wrong with them. All they had to do was change their programs. The mind is mechanical – storing all that conditioned information. They needed to drop their past nightmares and their stale Romantic Dreams. Hard to do but with practice, the torment drops away.

“Remember, loneliness and aloneness are not synonymous, not withstanding what the dictionaries go on saying. It is not a question of language; it is something existential. Loneliness is negative – you are missing something; aloneness is positive – you have found something”
OSHO
Guida Spirituale

So, after a few days shoveling shit, delving into their misery,  Sudha handed them the key to end their suffering...CREATIVITY!!! Sounds so simple, so obvious, but to those wretched, lonely people, so out of reach. Somehow they could not see themselves as artists or musicians or performers. Their inferiority complexes were so ingrained. So we went through more of Osho….”No man is lonely while eating spaghetti – it requires so much attention.”...and Almaas’s “Theory of Holes.” Gradually it dawned on them that one step begins the journey of a thousand miles. They did not have to be expert painters or great musicians. They just had to start putting all the energy they had put into filling up the holes, the deficiencies they had been living with, into a fresh beginning. Being alone and happy about it.

“And to be alone is so beautiful. All fetters have been dropped, all relationships have disappeared, nothing pollutes your consciousness. You are like a cedar of Lebanon standing alone, high in the sky; the higher you go, the more and more alone you will become.”
OSHO
The Rebellious Spirit

I ran into many of those rejuvenated participants after the group. Some got into writing, some into sketching, singing, dancing and a deeper meditation. Their faces revealed the joy of their creative, imaginative, adventurous new lives. And I went back to my own space of inner contentment…alone and grateful for the peace Osho gave me.

Now, nearly twenty years later I still live alone. Surrounded by friends, active in the community with hotels, restaurants and bars full of creative, interesting people within walking distance, I am over any possibility of loneliness and am so grateful for the ability to excuse myself, go back to my home and be with myself. Here, in my studio I can paint, write on my computer and play my guitar – all just for me. I sell my work and play in public sharing the creativity I never had time for when I was wasting my life making money and being lonely. I haven’t been lonely since those invaluable years with Osho.

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Osho Rules

January, 2010

Osho, Master of Masters, was way ahead of his field. His followers came from all over the world and he accepted them all with an awe-inspiring love and completely without judgement. “Don’t believe me,” he said, “come from your own authority.” Some of the world’s brightest people came to Poona to surrender to his wisdom. The rich and famous, the intelligentsia, renowned authors, thinkers, therapists, great artists, musicians, leading scientists, architects, doctors, movie stars, even a few wise politicians and religious acolytes came to sit at his feet. Alcoholics, drug addicts, seekers from every race and creed checked him out, found solace, and upgraded their lives in his presence.

Osho was vast. His discourses on virtually every great spiritual mystic, religion and human potential topic were published in over 500 books and translated into all the principal languages. He created the largest Growth Center in the world, ashrams, communes and meditation centers in every major country incorporating his unique therapy techniques to help seekers find the essence of who they are and why they are here. Many of his followers became enlightened and his influence for the good of humanity and the growth of consciousness in Man was huge.

Wow! That’s quite an accolade but stop and think for a moment… Who else in the Twentieth Century approached his profundity, his totality, his poetry, his humanity? Come on – name a few. Let’s start with the great gurus of India… Vivekananda? Yogananda? Ramana Maharshi? Sri Aurobindo? Meher Baba? the Krishnamurtis? Sai Baba? the Maharishi? Satchidananda? Yogi Bhajan? Muktananda? Papaji? Deepak Chopra?…I’ve probably missed a few but go on… Ask yourself, did any of these great sages or your current teacher (the Dalai Lama perhaps) reach the heights of Osho’s vision or the breadth of his contribution to the growth of human consciousness? I don’t think so, but am open to suggestions.

OK…that covers the East. What about the West?…We haven’t made the same dent in spiritual wisdom as India. The Pope? The Archbishop of Canterbury? Well, no. Our contribution has been more in the line of the Psyche…Freud? Jung? Adler? Teilhardt de Chardin? Martin Heidegger? Wiiliam James? Wilhelm Reich? Abraham Maslow? Fritz Perls? Carl Rogers? Fritjov Capra? Alan Watts? Aldous Huxley? Werner Erhardt?  Eckhart Tolle?…Wise as these great thinkers were/are, who among them exhibited the depth of Osho’s love for Humanity or the wealth of understanding he had for the contemporary need for an immense change in Man’s approach to living harmoniously with nature and the vital energy we call Life?   
    
His ideas on Education, Ecology, Politics, Religion, Science, the Arts, Birth Control and Euthanasia were profound.  Sex?…most of the others never dared to mention that one. Another thing – he never asked anyone to have faith and follow him to attain salvation. Like all visionaries he attracted bitter resistance from vested interests and all the powers of darkness right up to Reagan. They and their collaborators, the Fundamentalists, the Lawyers and the Media hounded him into an early grave and denied the world the benefit of the basic ideas he propounded for dealing with our current headlong flight into Global Suicide.

Just one thing more…those other guys never told jokes…Osho told us some beauties...”Hymie is sitting in a public toilet when he notices that the toilet paper has run out. Seeing a pair of shoes in the next booth, he calls out ‘Excuse me, but do you have any toilet paper in there?’ ‘No,’ comes the reply, ‘I’m afraid there isn’t any in here either.’ Hymie pauses for a moment. ‘Listen,’ he says, ‘do you have a newspaper with you?’ ‘Sorry,’ comes the reply, I don’t.’ Hymie pauses again. ‘Well,’ he says, ‘How about two fives for a ten?’”

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Approaching Death

December, 2009

I am probably closer to death than most of you and I would guess that I think about it more too. A Chinese Phrenologist, reading my head-bumps in Malacca 40 years ago told me I would die in my mid-eighties and I’m not far off. Most of his other prophesies have proved correct and this feels about right for me. Am I hypnotizing myself? Maybe, but since a near-death experience 15 years ago, I have come to be grateful for every additional year and hope to accept the final curtain whenever it decides to descend.

My environment is dying rapidly too. Living on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, once described as the most beautiful lake in the world has, in the last month produced a toxic cyano-bacterial algae that has covered it from shore to shore scaring away tourists and spreading panic amongst resident Gringos and Mayans alike. At least we can up and leave like we did with Poona One and the Ranch but the Mayans are stuck with it.

 I am fairly healthy but my bank account is looking pretty sick. I have no insurance and some of my income comes from the tourist hotel where I live. Usually at this time of year we have 30-40 guests and up to 80 at weekends. Right now we have maybe ten brave souls hanging out and things look bleak. I probably have enough money to last a couple more years.

Relative to these three approaching deaths, many of my contemporaries are leaving their bodies. Five good friends have gone to the Further Shore in the last couple of months and all way younger than me. “Viha Connection” obituaries are always a little scary as they often feature the departure of some sannyasin with whom I have had connections in the past. These farewells, the demise of my environment heralding the approaching suicide of Planet Earth and my financial condition echoing the current state of world banks make a clear statement. My life is close to an end.

Whoa!…that all looks pretty depressing but I and most of my friends here are still having a great time. We threw a big “Cheer Up” party Saturday night to chase the blues away and danced our buns off. It was kind of a message to all the prophets of doom, the negative pessimists who have been bringing us down. Heh…we pooped in the lake and Nature is getting it’s own back. Now we have to put all our energy into cleaning it up. As a matter of fact the lake looks much cleaner today, The flowers are out all over the hillsides, the sunsets are exquisitely beautiful and the New Moon and Evening Star are close together and shining bright. Cheer up – we’re not dead yet.

Fear of death is possibly the most heartbreaking stress we have to endure in life. Fostered by religions, pharmaceutical and insurance companies, advertising, the movie industry and everyone who stands to gain from putting the specter of death in front of gullible people, there is little chance of avoiding constant fear. Postponement seems to be the tool we use to avoid confrontation – a wait and see attitude.

Tilopa said…            
“The fool in his ignorance, disdaining the Mahamudra,
Knows nothing but struggle in the flood of Samsara.
Have compassion for those who suffer constant anxiety.”

Most people, myself included, who have had near-death experiences , report a grateful acceptance of an extraordinarily beautiful passing into another space. As Osho says. “The problem is not the Body. It’s the Mind.”

Ancient belief systems have Death as a scary skeleton coming to take us to an unknown, possibly spooky future depending on how we have behaved ourselves during this life. Awaiting the Day of Judgment is riddled with guilt. It took my mother six weeks to clean up her Karma and confess all her imaginary sins before she finally expired in innocence.

Osho spoke out for the Right to Die. In “The Heart Sutra” he suggests that every city has a Death Center, A Temple where people who’s death is imminent could go into deep meditation with their loved ones around them helping them to leave gracefully. Two books I have read recently put forth a wise, practical case for the decision to end our lives when they have become unbearable.  “Final Exit” by Derek Humphry and “Last Rights” by Marya Mannes make eloquent pleas for the dying and their right to a dignified death.
Isaac Azimov wrote,

“No decent human being would allow an animal to suffer without putting it out of it’s misery. It is only in human beings that we are so cruel as to allow them to live in pain, in hopelessness, in living death, without moving a muscle to help them.”

Religions, Laws and Tradition have no right to interfere with an individual’s choice to live or die. Some people want to eke out every second of life, no matter how grim, and that is their right. But others do not and that should be their right too. 

As Sannyasins we celebrate death as the very crescendo of life, the ultimate orgasm. Tonight while eating dinner on my own I read five descriptions of the experiences of Enlightenment by the Mother, Da Free John, U.G. and J. Krfishnamurti, and Osho in Yatri’s marvelous book “The Unknown Man”. Maybe I was reading it for the tenth time because it is such an inspiration. Each story is different and each appears to me to be a passionate, charismatic description of Death. A passage from the mundane to a state of bliss. To me Death of the Ego somehow relates to Death of the Being, What was common to all five was that there was no fear. All of these Realised Beings went into the process with total trust.

Maneesha, Veetman, Steven Levine and virtually all the therapists dealing with the phenomenon of Death agree that Trust is the key to passing through to the Further Shore in peace and dignity. So for me, while I can smile at Woody Allen’s comment “I’m not afraid of Death. I just don’t want to be there when it happens,” I do want to be there. I want to die laughing and experience what Osho calls the ultimate blossoming of Life.
           
“In death the whole life is summed up, in death you arrive. Life is a pilgrimage towards death. From the very beginning death is coming. From the moment of birth death has started moving towards you, you have started to move towards death.”

We might as well dig it….and savor the waiting.

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Health – Exercise, Diet and Sleep...

November, 2009

Oh Lordy! Osho, you really got me this time!

Meditation – “Living life from the center of the navel” you said. Since 1968 I have been working on this one, but I think I’m more of a lover than a meditator and end up preferring to play. Well, at 82 I’m not much good at that any more either.

Osho talked about three main requirements one must realize before even thinking about meditation – good, healthy exercise; good, healthy food; and good, sound sleep…. Right on, but my life story has shown an inconsistent approach to all three, with results ranging from tepid to rapture.

With regard to exercise, as a youth in Bishop Cotton School, Simla, they made us exercise. I came in 47th out of around 50 in the 1943 marathon. I desperately hung on to my place as an erratic spin bowler in the 4th Eleven. And in Hockey – heh, I was a little English boy competing with INDIANS!

As an adult I skied all winter, sailed all summer and had sex all year around. Later, in spiritual middle age I took up yoga but abandoned it when I went to Pune. Iyengar was just down the block and anyone who wanted to continue their practice went there. So no skiing, no sailing, no yoga – down to sex. On the Ranch I walked to all the building sites I was supervising, rain or shine, for the first couple of years until the buses came along. Later, in California I hopped into my car to go shopping in the corner drugstore. Here, retired in Guatemala over the last twenty years I swam, did a little yoga, cycled around town and walked the mountain trails.

Now, after all that I can’t really say my meditation got much deeper so when I reached 80 I kind of slacked off, quit yoga again, began to take rickshaws, catch boats to the next village instead of hiking, and have acquired a pot-belly of noble proportions. Meditation? Like sex, kind of sketchy.

Diet? I was always skinny and for the first half of my life I ate anything that was offered. When I got spiritual I became a vegetarian, tried Macrobiotics and Raw Food and spent three weeks detoxing at the local Wheatgrass Institute. I came away with clear eyes and lean as a whippet but that didn’t sustain me through cold winter nights and I went back to cooking. Later, in Lucknow (pigs everywhere around Papaji’s house) I got typhoid and, as a consequence, anemia and had to get back into chicken and fish. Meditation? Yes, in a lazy kind of way. Did I mention my belly?

With sleep I was a normal 8-hour a night guy but when I hit the Ranch things changed. Twelve hour shifts and being on call as an architect during the Hotel crunch gave me a maximum of 6 hours with occasional hikes through the snow at 3 in the morning to sort out a problem with a staircase. Meditation?…that was it…the work.

Since then I have found sleep time extending back to 8 or 9 hours including afternoon siestas. After midnight here it’s totally silent and, if I wake up to pee, there are times when I don’t fall asleep again. Osho said you can’t try to meditate just as you can’t try to fall asleep. So I lie in my comfortable bed and let the thoughts run rampant. Both dozing and meditating, sitting up in bed before I get up are periods of warm, cozy delight.

Swami Prem SaritoOsho used to tell us to put on our plates only 75% of the food we chose, think carefully about our choices and chew it thoroughly. Buddha’s disciple Anando with whom he shared a room would watch him sleep and wonder at the aliveness of his Master even asleep; this story reminds me of a well-known picture of Osho lying on his side, fast asleep and blissed out.

Here’s a potent quote from the founder of T’ai Chi Ch’uan, the Taoist Chang San Feng:
Sleeping on a pillow of stone
Forgetting the calendar, the seasons.
When the ch’I sinks to the abdomen
The spiritual nature will be perfect and complete.

Looking around I notice old people getting cranky, never exercising, over-eating and sleeping fitfully. Many of our visiting tourists are obese and obviously in pain and I don’t want to end my life like that, so Osho, you’re absolutely right. For me it’s a nudge in time. I have to shake my lazy ass, get back into exercising my body and lose this ponderous pot. Drop the pasta, bread, Cabernet Sauvignon and the Chota Pegs. Crash at ten and wake up at dawn. Squeeze a little more juice out of my old age. Meditate and realize.

Maybe I’ve been letting go too much…should I get a grip?…that’s like asking should I be attached to surrender or surrender to attachment?

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Investment...Misery vs Celebration

October, 2009

“Jesus saves, Moses invests and Bhagwan spends,” went the headlines on the Ranch. Investment, misery, ambition etc. have not featured much in my life since I met Osho. Before I dropped out in the Sixties they were very much part of my life. Hard work, trying to keep ahead, getting to the top coupled with a marriage that was going downhill fast and all that entailed drove me to let go of everything I had invested up to then. My misery was exacerbated by the realization that I was stuck in a spiraling whirlwind of anxiety that I seemed always to be trying to relieve by going to pathetic “celebrations” like Friday Night bar-hopping.

Celebration took on a whole new meaning with Osho. A poem by Hafiz…

You have been invited to meet the Friend.

No-one can resist a Divine Invitation.

That narrows down all our choices to just two.

We can come to God dressed for Dancing,

Or be carried on a stretcher to God’s Ward.

…Over the years celebration has taken on a quieter tone. “Yes, Bhagwan, Yes!” sung at the top of my voice with tears of joy streaming down my face has changed to a serene acceptance of life as it is every morning with sunrise through a tranquil day painting, writing, playing music and hanging out with my friends and my cats. I celebrate contentment and want to die laughing.

“Misery is the only sin,” I seem to remember Osho saying early on and I kind of cut it out of my life. Even in the darkest moments of Encounter Group with Teertha or some of the other standup/knock down adventures we had in those underground, mattress-lined Therapy Chambers we all went through in Poona One, I banished misery. Plenty of fear and oodles of love but misery never came up…it was so exciting. Life on the edge.

But it was not to last…slowly the euphoria of living so close to Osho drifted away and brief encounters with misery crept back into my life. I never could get it into my head that any suffering I was going through stemmed directly from my own preferences, expectations and interpretations.

A year or so after we all left the Ranch I decided to take Santosh’s DeHypnotherapy Group in Laguna Beach, California. Three months of dealing with the child within me – source of most of my unhappiness – taught me that my desires were for the most part head-trips, programs traced back to birth and childhood. We tend to believe in these outmoded but deep-seated unconscious memories that lock us into Misery. The trick is to celebrate the Now. Right Now there is no problem.

Existence is benevolent. The real nourishment is experiencing the moment but we continually get caught up in these dreams and fantasies like Past Conditioning and Fear of the Positive. Why do we do this?

Mainly because we may lose our identities. We may have to change our games. We may not have something to worry about. So we invest in Misery. These days my identity is of little concern in that I don’t think about it very much. I used to spend a tremendous amount of time looking for the ideal partner. My lovers always fell short. It wasn’t my mother. Certainly not my father. None of my friends or teachers. It was ME !…. Nobody knows me better than me. No-one else stood a chance. I just had to love, accept and understand me. My games are pretty light hearted…I don’t need to manipulate people into doing what they don’t want to do so that I can have my own way. I have my own way by accepting what I have.

Sex - a major cause of my misery - is no longer important. As long as I don’t worry about Money it keeps rolling in. Sex, Money, Power and Time are the areas in which Misery plays a powerful role. Whatever Power I have seems to be harmless and sufficient for my needs. Time maybe should be a concern as I don’t have much left. However when I think about it I have really no idea what’s going to happen when I die. Its all guesswork and maybe better than life so why worry? Be happy. Invest in Celebration.

“And it depends on you; if you enjoy, rejoice, if you are deep in love with life, if you can celebrate you are in paradise. If you cannot enjoy, if your sources of celebration have been poisoned, if you have such heavy chains on your feet and hands and you cannot dance with life, then you are in hell.”
OSHO
“The Secret” Chapter 3

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Jealousy and Possessiveness

August, 2009

I dropped out in 68 and traveled around Asia as a “Hippie Road Freak” with the most beautiful girl in the world…Well, she later became a famous super model… Anyway, she dumped me a year later and I was devastated, suicidal. She was mine. I loved her, dammit. I’d do anything for her-blah-blah-sob-blah. But luck came my way. One night, when I was drunk, I met a guy in a bar who offered me a job in Hollywood, California…. Hollywood!… City of Broken Dreams! The Sexual Revolution! The Human Potential Movement!

My first Encounter Group in Hollywood was entitled ‘Saying Goodbye’, appropriate for my case. Being a bit intimidated, I was the last to work. The rest of the Group were saying goodbye to Mother…mostly Jewish Mothers… so when I got on the Hot Seat to say goodbye to my girlfriend things perked up. In fact they really got on my case and yelled at me “You don’t own her,” “She’s not a piece of furniture,” and the like, but one compassionate soul gave me the advice that changed my life: “Be grateful, she gave you your freedom.”

FREEDOM! The Miracle Medication for Chronic Possessiveness! I immediately embarked on a 40-year voyage of discovery of my own potential and in the process learnt a lot about Jealousy and Possessiveness. I even taught a course for Victor Baranco’s Morehouse called ‘Jealousy, Money and Possessions’.

Over an intense weekend, the Group would come to see that Jealousy is usually a fear of future loss. Unlike Grief over a past event or Envy of a situation that’s happening right now, with Jealousy the worst has not usually occurred yet, like she has not left. Maybe we are at the wire, but there’s often something we can do about it.

The only relationship worth having is one lived in total honesty, hiding nothing. Otherwise it’s got nothing to do with love. Conceptually we are all unfaithful, checking out beautiful women and handsome men on the street, and fantasizing movie stars while making love to our partners. It’s totally natural so why hide it? It’s totally natural to be attracted by our neighbor’s wife, so why not talk about it ? Because we are afraid our possessive partners will be jealous and leave us. Jealousy will probably arise and that’s natural too but, handled intelligently the pain can be largely avoided and often, an enjoyable situation can arise.

The trick is to take responsibility for your lover’s happiness as well as your own. The ultimate test of True Love is to give your beloved the freedom to follow their bliss wherever that may take them. You can give them everything on a silver plate except novelty. If you can give them the OK to share their love and move with others, that’s a hard act to follow and they will probably never leave you. So we encouraged participants who were attracted by others to find out who turned their partners on and arrange for time out for them too.

Sometimes threesomes or group sex would emerge. The pill had given women the same freedom to explore their sexuality as men and Free Sex Growth Centers like Sandstone and Elysium Fields sprang up. Both were in Topanga Canyon, back of Malibu, Los Angeles where I lived. John Richardson ran Sandstone with the idea of attracting politicians and captains of industry to experience massage, nudity and intelligent sex and, hopefully open them up to softer decisions in their public lives. That really didn’t work…well, they were politicians.  Morehouse taught courses on Sex and Sensuality according to Masters and Johnson, creating ways of giving multiple orgasms to women who had never experienced one. That worked for sure.

Jealousy, of course arises out of Possessiveness so we tackled that at its root – Greed. We sent the group out on the street to give away money, leave a tip with a supermarket cashier and present a stranger with a favorite Hawaiian silk shirt. They acknowledged that a hundred dollar bill was useless in the Sahara desert except to light a fire or wipe your ass; that you can’t take your possessions with you when you die. If you worry about money it never seems to come to you and if you don’t, it starts falling out of trees. Too little and you worry about where the next meal is coming from and too much sets up fears of losing it. The closed, possessive people who arrived Friday night would leave Sunday night open and eager to ask for what they wanted, accept what they got and share their love and possessions.

The Sexual Revolution in California at that time was at its peak and my partner, Ma Deva Shavda and I jumped right in. Having sex seemed to be just a step beyond shaking hands. Jealousy and possessiveness were tried and tested almost on a daily basis and, despite the tools we had for dealing with it often created alarming situations. One time I tore the telephone out of the wall because I heard her talking to a lover. Exciting times, but we survived and grew with each experience.

That was in the early 70s so by the time we got to Poona in 77 the much vaunted sex trip was not too daunting. In Darshan Osho talked to us about our seven year old relationship and totally validated our libidinous trip. “Don’t eat the same vegetable every night,” he said but jealousy still happened. Another time she hit me over the head with a mug full of beer in the Oasis Restaurant, M.G. Road. We had just got married.

An intelligent way of handling jealousy is to use that powerful energy in a positive way. Writing, painting, composing, anything creative can dissipate the pain and may produce a flash of genius. Even simple chores done with awareness help. One sannyas friend at Geetam was so intensely jealous that he decided to chop wood for the winter and went at it so enthusiastically that we had fuel for two winters.

After fifteen groups and four years working in Vrindavan kitchen and the Boutique’s Handyman workshop I had settled down to a blissful life in my bamboo hut down by the river. Shavda stayed in her flat across the river in Shattal Baba and we would occasionally date. Somehow jealousy didn’t seem to arise as I had very few casual affairs (I was busy disappearing, being very spiritual) and my possessions were down to a few clothes, one book and a guitar. I do remember being pissed off when I found a shirt missing from the dhobi’s as I only had three or four.

Then came the Ranch and a true test of possessiveness, living in a double wide trailer housing fourteen, or a townhouse with nineteen other people and sharing a room with a woman who wasn’t my lover and entertained several good looking young Swamis. And you know what? It didn’t matter. Maybe I was so busy working 12 hour shifts to worry about it but the whole trip was one of the most inspiring journeys of my life. Who cared about jealousy or possessions? We all had the same...no money, virtually no possessions but plenty of lovers and all for free.

Here in Guatemala I have had the experience of starting a community from scratch. Not an intentional community like an Osho center but a bunch of gringos coming from all over to live a creative life in a beautiful environment with a perfect climate and an affordable economy. All escapists from the real world and very interesting to watch. Most arrivals are really good people with love in their hearts but as soon as they buy property they become possessive, coveting a few inches along their property lines, refusing neighbors access for water and electricity, building over public paths and abusing anyone who disagrees with them.  For 20 years many of them have come to me as the oldest inhabitant demanding that I support them in petty battles with their neighbors. I tell them that all their neighbors are but shadows of themselves, to try a win-win solution and let go. None of them take my advice.

I am currently trying to deal with a sannyasin who has pissed off half his neighbors over the past 15 years, mostly over money and possessions and has decided to leave and settle in Thailand with a kind of “Fuck You!” attitude towards the community. We would like him to leave graciously with love, forgiveness and gratitude. If he takes his attitude with him he may make the same mistakes again and the Karma builds. It’s still in process and meanwhile we are looking for sannyasins to buy his amazing property with its Buddha Hall, a house and guest rooms set in beautiful gardens overlooking Lake Atitlan and three volcanoes in the Land of Eternal Spring. Two hundred K US Dollars would probably close the deal.

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Lake Atitlan, Guatemala... Threatened Lake of The Year 2009

June, 2009



A couple of months ago the World Water Forum, meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, declared Guatemala’s famous beauty spot, Lake Atitlan “Threatened Lake of the Year”.

Oh my God! I live there! For 22 years I have enjoyed what Aldous Huxley decribed as “arguably, the most beautiful lake in the world”. A few old-time sannyasins gathered here over the years in what we fondly called “Bhagwan Bay” on the lake shore, enjoying the wonderful climate of the “Land of Eternal Spring”, the mellow Mayan people and the free and easy ambience of our own company and laid back bunch of creative Gringos. Suddenly, our gorgeous environment is condemned by an unimpeachable scientific authority. We are in shock!

Sure, we were aware that the green algae gradually encroaching the shore was to be avoided when swimming. It is healthier to eat Mahi Mahi from the ocean than the Black Bass introduced by Pan American and the tourist hotels thirty years ago to stimulate Sports Fishing tourism. They ate up all the bream, trout and most of the Pato Poc, a unique species of duck, and stlll the sports fishermen haven’t shown up. Some fifteen years ago an investigating team told us our lake was less polluted than Lake Tahoe in California. Nevertheless, local environmental groups working with government agencies struggled to contain untreated water from oozing into the lake. A big water treatment plant was built in Panajachel, the largest town and sewage treatment plants were built in some villages.

Hurricane Stan, right after Katrina hit New Orleans, in one disastrous night wrecked the eastern half of Guatemala. Roads were cut. Huge ravines slashed across main highways. Massive landslides obliterated villages burying nearly 800 people around the lake alone and houses fell into rivers that suddenly became five or six times wider. Bridges were demolished and Panajachel’s new water treatment plant and all the attempts at sewage treatment around the lake were utterly destroyed.

The response from government and private rescue teams was amazing and put the New Orleans debacle to shame. Helicopters flew food and supplies to hard hit areas. Since there was no way out from the lake to the main highway, boats transported travellers to another location where they were taken by pickups to roads beyond the damage, loaded onto buses which carried them as far as possible. Cell phones linked them with other buses on the far side of landslides or ravines, passengers carried their luggage across and continued their journey. Within two or three days everyone got to wherever they wanted to go, water was supplied to villages and the immense task of repairing the damage was begun.

We were all evacuated from Bhagwan Bay where the gentle mountain creek had turned overnight into a raging torrent 100 yards across. Naresh’s property was deluged, his bodega gone and mud and rocks three feet deep were deposited alongside Buddha Hall. Anando’s studio and some of his sculptures were washed away. A large house next door to Shavda had the river running through it up to the ceiling and the terraced garden looked like a miniature Niagara. Her own house was saved, miraculously, by a garden wall which diverted the cascade into the lake. Many homes were buried, gardens demolished and I could not reach my house by land for ten days. “Live dangerously” said the Master.

Over the past few years private property owners have spent a lot of time, money and energy on building rock and chain link retaining walls to deter future catastrophes and the government has repaired roads, communications and the infrastructure. But there was a problem. The previous president and his government had taken all the money…standard procedure in Central America. So we still have ruined docks and bridges and the matter of the pollution of the lake has taken a back seat.

The World Water Forum has galvanized us into action. The government and local organizations have been alerted. Lake Atitlan is one of Guatemala’s prime tourist locations and tourism is the country’s third largest source of income. Shavda and her friend Duende have set up a project to save the lake, sending out requests for ideas and practical aid to Government, Business, Religious and local Indigenous leaders, Foundations, Educators, Health Care Workers, Engineers, Scientists, Artists, Non-profit and Legal Advisors, Translators in Spanish, English and the three local languages, and appeals to local Farmers to stop using harmful pesticides. Their intention is to use the enormous commercial aspect of the upcoming end of the Mayan calendar in 2012 to promote the cleaning up of Lake Atitlan. Contact…www.2012.LakeAtitlanLives.org

The lake is in the highlands about three hours drive from Guatemala City. It is a volcanic caldera filled with water created by three massive eruptions between one and fourteen million years ago. About 12 miles long by 7 miles wide and 1,200 feet deep its surface is 5,000 feet above the level of the Pacific Ocean which can be seen from the southern ridge. The surrounding hills rise dramatically culminating in three extinct volcanoes up to nearly 12,000 feet high. Fed by several rivers and waterfalls the lake rises and falls up to 30 feet over a 60 year cycle and volcanic hot springs abound. Colourful birds like the brilliant Baltimore Oriole and many types of Hummingbird are everywhere. Banks of yellow, purple and white daisies 20 feet high cover the hillsides, while coffee grows in the shade of avocado trees. Nature, despite the ravages of Man is still abundant here.

Estimates of the money and energy needed to save the lake from further damage vary enormously but would certainly not exceed a few days’ expenses in Iraq or Afghanistan. The trick is to raise the necessary funds without signing up to iniquitous loans and curb the inevitable pocketing of the cash by acquisitive authorities before it reaches its intended destination.

We need to clean up the lake as soon as possible using sustainable technology along with the restoration of all sanitation plants and the building of more efficient septic tanks. Water supplies need to be potable. Additional protection against future hurricane damage has to be undertaken. Solar and wind power need to be installed. Poisonous spraying of crops which filters down to the lake and is a prime cause of pollution has to be replaced by organic and bio-intensive farming techniques, permaculture etc. The rapidly increasing fleet of water taxis, ferries and private pleasure boats have to be converted to hybrid power, gasoline and oil spills reduced to a minimum. The use of bio-degradable detergents by Mayan women washing their laundry has to be encouraged and the further destruction of forests for firewood phased out. We must eliminate all schemes that profit a few at great expense to the many in the destruction of the ecosystem. A concerted effort by Mayans (Indian), Gringos (Whites) and Ladinos (Spanish descendants of the conquistadores who run the country) is needed to integrate a logical, practical and heartfelt contribution to the betterment of Nature, the Environment and Humanity in this one small but exquisite corner of the world.

Osho said, “Somewhere deep down in man there is a fear of nature. That fear of nature has created many problems. It has created an ugly civilization, a rotten culture, an anti-natural technology, a science against ecology and a religion which is not in tune with your innermost being. It is time for man to revolt against all this that has happened to humanity in the past.”

Just so as we don’t get too heavy about this…. “What did the hurricane say to the palm tree?” “Hang on to your nuts. This is no ordinary blow job!”

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Osho...The New Man

May, 2009

As I recall, Osho’s concept of the New Man was very similar to his description of how he wanted his sannyasins to be – the kind of human beings needed to show the world an alternative to early extinction. All my sannyas life I connected the two ideas in an amalgam of who I, and everyone else in the Ashram and on the Ranch strove to be. We would try to exhibit the qualities set out in answer to a question about sannyas in “The Heart Sutra”. Osho encouraged us to develop along these lines as an example to our peers and a pointer towards the nature of the New Man.

  1. Openness to experience. A willingness to experiment.

This immediately draws my attention to the difference between my being a sannyasin and who I was before I dropped out. Back then I was really stuck, like the millions of educated, sophisticated and successful people who work their butts off all day, wasting their lives making money, and sit exhausted in front of the TV nights totally sucked in by media propaganda. I liked to think of myself as a man of character – the English Gentleman. I acted the part, totally steeped in prejudice – “Why do the English think they’re so superior?” “Because they ARE superior!” went the mantra. Sheer stupidity says Osho. Belief is always closed, impenetrable. Experience is open, growing, changing, responding to the moment. All the training we had in the Ashram and on the Ranch was geared to this approach to life and Osho had this as the first quality of a sannyasin and the New Man – not Freedom or Love but a willingness to experiment.

  1. Existential living, flowing totally with the stream.

My name, Sarito, means River and, at my first Darshan he told me to stay in the middle of the stream – keep flowing, don’t drift off into the eddies by the shore. That’s where the old folk get stuck. Don’t swim upstream either. Don’t even swim. Float. In my former business life I swam like crazy and got to where I wanted to be – successful. But I had no time to enjoy my life and the repetitious hypocrisy, manipulation and juggling all the balls were driving me nuts. Existential living? Being spontaneous? Taking a jump? Not on your life! Like all my contemporaries I wallowed in my misery, complaining all the way. Flowing with the stream? No. We were all thrashing our way against the tide, scrambling over one another to get to the top. If this Earth is to survive these old stagnant attitudes have to go. The New Man has to respond to each moment afresh with no preconceived ideas or formulas.

  1. Trust in his/her own being. An insight into our unique identities.

Trust brings an acceptance of oneself and others, centering one’s being, creating certainty, confidence and positivity. Surrendering to my Master and trusting myself made complete sense when I was called to the Ranch. My years as an architect, farmer, and maitre d’ or whatever was one of the great learning experiences of my life. Working 12 hours or more a day, 7 days a week without pay or vacations, under a female boss, I had more sheer joy than in all the years I spent being out in the world. I felt totally loved, trusted and cared for, learned much, made many mistakes for which I was never blamed, and it cost me nothing that I really cared about. I sometimes hear sannyasins complain about Osho, their stay on the Ranch or the Ashram (Oh, they gave away some money?…me too… too bad!) You can’t take it with you and in my case I lived well for four years on the $19,000 I gave to the Commune. I ask them what did you learn?… what did you gain?… or more importantly what else did you lose? I ask them to think about who they were before they met Osho and who they are now. I ask them how they fit in with Osho’s idea of the New Man or what they think ought to be done to give this Earth a new lease of life. And I suggest they be grateful for perhaps the most important and exciting times of their lives.

  1. A sense of Freedom and a deep respect for the liberty of others.

We can no longer afford to be shackled by our nationalities and religions. This faith fosters competition, envy and war. The New Man has to live free. For half my life I was crippled by adherence to rules of behavior established by my parents, teachers, marriage, business associates etc. Throwing off those chains gave me the ability to do what I want to achieve my potential in this life without feeling guilty. The New Man needs to drop the old patterns, be rebellious and recognize the right of all others to realize their own visions

  1. Creativity, making for a more beautiful world.

Significant creativity in this world is provided by a fraction of the 6 or 7 billion people who take up space. Certainly not the priests or the sadhus who contribute nothing but continue to chant the same old hymns and mantras. Most of the great artists, writers, composers and scientists who Illuminate civilization led personally unhappy lives consumed by egotistical pride. Many, even now are not so much concerned with creating for the pleasure of the people. Rather, they dedicate their work to the Universities and the Galleries who have commandeered Culture hoping to impress their peers, win prizes and a place in history. For others the magnet of making a pile of money catering to the mediocre tastes of the mass audience watching TV, horror movies or porn, consumes all the talent and creativity they can muster. Creativity in the New Man would be the tool everyone would use to express themselves. Experimenting, experiencing through song, dance, poetry, painting, whatever…no need to be good. It’s the process that matters...no standards, no expectations, no criticism, no financial rewards…just having fun like children. Starting from this point amazing things tend to happen. The New Man would be inspired by a desire to make the world a more beautiful place than when he arrived and, who knows, from a place of freedom and unimpeded imagination he could come up with some unique insights into today’s impending disasters.

  1. Laughter – playfulness, joy and a non-serious sincerity.

This cycle of Fear and Greed to which our Ideologies, Democracy, Fascism, Christianity and all have brought us has drawn a cloak of tragedy over our natural ability to enjoy our lives. Creating our own pain and eternal suffering is all part of the great Cosmic Joke. To Osho laughter has a religious quality. A sense of humor is essential if we hope to save the world. Work, a four letter word becomes Play. Joy replaces the tedious nature of the traps like Duty, Pride and Ambition we set ourselves and the way towards becoming the New Man opens up. So here’s a joke to light the path:

Luigi takes his pregnamt wife to the hospital where she gives birth to twins. During the delivery Luigi faints, so according to family tradition his brother, Alfredo is called to name the children. “My brother named the kids?” cried Luigi when he recovers. “But my brother is such an idiot! What did he call the girl?” “He named the girl Denise” replies the nurse.“Denise, eh!” says Luigi, surprised. “Well, that’s not such a bad name. In fact I quite like it. So what did he call the boy?” “The boy” says the nurse “he called Da’nephew.”

  1. Meditation – the ability to be alone and totally content.

Possibly the most valuable asset I came away from Poona One with was the joy of being alone. Previously if I was facing the possibility of spending the weekend by myself minor panic would set in. Phone calls to friends and fantasy girlfriends would follow along with trips to a bar in the hope of chatting up someone interesting. Now, I live alone directly behind a really nice bar, full of intelligent, pretty tourists and I hardly ever go in.
Osho showed me the extraordinary value of spending time alone. Loneliness vanished. Meditation came in unimpeded. The New Man in order to be effective in a recovering world needs to be totally fulfilled within himself with no reliance on others. Meditation, said Osho, does not require any application of the mind or use of effort. It descends on you as effortlessly as sleep. You cannot try to sleep nor can you try to meditate. The New Man knows this instinctively.

  1. Love – divine, universal, cosmic love.

Romantic love is the goal Hollywood, songwriters and face cream vendors ram down our throats. We are hypnotized to believe we cannot do without a significant or even insignificant other. Osho talks about romantic love in terms of relating – only two individuals who have learnt to be alone can relate successfully, otherwise it’s a trick to avoid loneliness. Coming from need they hang in for lifetimes with someone who is using them in the same way. I spent twelve years of marriage on this path and my parents some 40 years. The path of Buddha is the path of the introvert, of meditation, of aloneness. The path of Christ is of the extravert, the path of love, togetherness. The sannyasin, the New Man embraces both. Only then can we use the energy stored in possessiveness, jealousy, marriage and divorce towards the betterment of Humanity as a whole.

  1. Transcendence. No ego, no mind, in tune with the whole.

The last and highest quality of a sannyasin and New Man.  I was 42 before I asked myself “Who am I? What am I doing with my life? Why am I here?” Most people never get to ask. It never occurs to them. A prime example of an entire nation losing their consciousness is Iceland. Ten years or so ago half a dozen bright young men went to the US to study finance and returned to turn their country into a massive Hedge Fund promising high dividends to eager investors. Iceland became one of the wealthiest nations on earth, holding international conferences promoting World Peace. Nearly everyone was in on the game and many quit fishing to play the market and earn three times as much as usual. When the bubble burst all their major banks closed down, their currency was useless and there was no way they could pay their way. Over the last few weeks one third of the citizens have opted to leave. I guess they were no more stupid than anyone else but I’m sure Osho would drop his Polish jokes for a dig at Iceland:

Arnason is returning home from a morning’s fishing with his rod in one hand and his fishing bag slung over his shoulder. His friend, Torfason sees him across the road and calls out “Hi Arnason! Been fishing?” “That’s right.” replies Arnason. “Far out!”says Torfason,“How many did you get?” “Well,” replies Arnason “if you can guess how many fish I have in my bag I’ll give you them both!” ”Ah!” says Torfason, scratching his head “Three?”
We are so gullible, naïve and foolishly ambitious. Having more doesn’t cut it. It always ends up being a substitute for being more. Harmony with the universe is way more rewarding than conquering nature. The Information Revolution will give you information – loads of it. Much of it useless. It will not give you Wisdom, Insight, Awareness or even Happiness. These are the attributes the New Man must acquire to make any sort of dent in the looming threat of Humanity’s self-destruction. And we sannyasins are the best trained people to take on the role of the New Man.

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Guru or Pseudo Guru ? – You decide

April, 2009

A seeker traveled all over India asking Sadhus, Acharyas, Gurus, Masters and Professors of Philosophy the question “What is Truth?” To every answer he replied “Bullshit! That isn’t Truth!” Finally he decided to climb a mountain on top of which sat the Master of Masters. Puffing and panting he prostrated himself in front of the great Master and asked him “What is Truth?” The Master pondered for a moment and then expounded at some length on the nature of Truth. “Bullshit!” said the seeker. “That isn’t Truth!”

“It isn’t?” asked the Master…

Guru or Pseudo Guru ? – You decide.

The power of the Witch is not in the Witch but in the Bewitched, believing that the Witch is powerful…same thing with Gurus. One man’s Master is another’s Anti Christ. Millions believe in the infallibility of the Pope, while others scoff. India has a plethora of self-styled Gurus all with their followers who believe that their man is the real thing and their rivals a bunch of bogus pretenders. As Mark Twain said in ‘The Lowest Animal’, “Man is the Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion – several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight. The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to be left out, in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems questionable taste.”

How do we know an authentic Guru?... Conviction. Certainty.

Why did I surrender to the wisdom of a self-proclaimed ordinary man and acknowledge Him as my Master? Simply, I fell in love. I looked into His eyes and saw nobody there. He was on a different level. He spoke the Truth as I saw it. A few times in discourse I would get bored or tranquillized and spend a while checking out auras. His was huge, reaching into my peripheral vision. He guided me on a wild adventurous path which, without Him I would never had had the courage to take. By pressing His thumb on my Third Eye he induced me to collapse in an ecstatic state on the floor in Energy Darshan. Not once but half a dozen times followed by a couple of weeks of euphoric bliss. I am a cynical man given to doubt but I watched this happen to hundreds of sannyasins who were convinced, as I still am that Osho was their Master.

Sure, black followers of preachers in the U.S. South exhibit the same behavior. Maybe we think these guys are phony, pseudo, but their congregations in their ecstasy are convinced that they are authentic Servants of God. It’s all in the experience. In the heart for some, the mind for others and the gut for the rest. When we see it clean we are all pseudo something – playing whatever role we feel is appropriate in whatever situation we find ourselves. We play one role with the kids in the car headed for the beach and another with the cop who pulls us up for speeding. But then we have not realized our own perfection.

So who are these Pseudo Gurus? What do they want out of life? Most of them have to be Number Eights on the Sufi personality guide, the Enneagram…the Leader, the Protector, the Provider, the Entrepreneur, the Maverick, the Rock…powerful, dominating types, decisive, willful and confrontational. Charismatic with the physical and psychological capacities to persuade others to follow them into all sorts of endeavors…their basic fear is of being controlled by others and their basic desire to determine their own course in life.

Another possibility is Number One…the Reformer, Teacher, Activist, moralistic  Crusaders…rational, idealistic, principled, purposeful perfectionists. Their basic fear is to be defective or bad and their basic desire to be good, virtuous and in balance. They have a sense of mission that leads them to want to improve the world using whatever influence they have. Oddly enough Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are Number Ones and would have made good Pseudo Gurus.

 I would look for an authentic Guru among the Number Nines…the Peacemaker, Healer, Optimist, comforting Utopian….self-effacing, receptive, reassuring and agreeable, going with the flow. They are devoted to the quest for internal and external peace for all. They work to maintain harmony in the world and the issues encountered in the Nine are fundamental to all inner work – being awake versus falling asleep to our true natures, presence versus entrancement, union versus separation. I know Osho was not always like this but He was hard to spot on the Enneagram.
                    
 And who are the people who buy their trips?...Well, 50% of American voters twice bought the Bush Administration’s disastrous propaganda, Italy bought Fascism and Germany bought Nazism in the Thirties. Russia and China bought Lenin, Stalin, and Mao’s version of Communism. These all appeared to be righteous political solutions given the situations at the time and all failed in the long run….these under-educated, overworked and dissatisfied voters opted for dreams that could never be fulfilled.

How can we make sure that events never repeat themselves….Education…..a massive revision of the outdated, dangerous, learn by rote system used universally today and Meditation

where we can follow our feelings without fear of prejudice and decide for ourselves a genuine Guru in whom to place our faith and leaders whom we can confidently vote into government.

Meher Baba, in silence would prophesy major events by writing on his little blackboard something like “There will be a massive earthquake in Bihar in May of 1935”. May would come and no earthquake so when his disciples came and said “Baba, there was no earthquake in Bihar” he would write on his blackboard “There will be a huge flood in Bengal in February of 1936”. And they would all bow and worry about the new prophecy. Guru or Pseudo Guru?

...You decide.

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Enlightenment

Mach, 2009

Ken Wilbur reckons there may have been around 1000 Enlightened Beings in the whole of history. Sounds about right. In my own lifetime I have encountered less than ten who have laid claim to Enlightenment, half of whom I have harbored doubts. Nevertheless all of them have devoted their lives to encouraging thousands of their devotees to discover who they are and for that I salute them.

We all have our images of Enlightened Masters and how they should behave but who are we to judge and does it really matter as long as they are spreading the good word? Krishnamurti was a petulant little man, Mukhtananda had a reputation for seducing the teenage daughters of his disciples, Papaji used to lose his temper and treated his wife like shit. But, as Osho says in "Tantra, the Supreme Understanding"..."When Gurdjieff gets angry it is beautiful. When you get angry it is ugly."

My own simple definition of Enlightenment was knowing that you have it all here and now, permanently. Like all the time. You never lose it. I only ever saw Osho get angry once, in Darshan. I did not speak enough Hindi to know what was going on but His youngest brother, the recipient of His monumental wrath cringed into the marble and Laxmi raised her eyes to the ceiling. My image of this serene Master floating around with a beatific smile was momentarily shattered. Right after the tirade He stood up, Namaste'd us and floated off with His usual {beatific} smile out of Chuang Tzu.

Right now I am hanging out with Tyohar in Costa Rica. Doubts have been expressed as to his Enlightenment. To me, whether he is enlightened or not is irrelevant. What is important is that with a few followers he has created a beautiful place in which as many seekers as possible can wake up. A courageous young man, he does not behave like the classic image of the guru sitting in meditation. He walks around this spiritual/ecological village like one of the boys, plays on the Commune Soccer team and DJs at parties.

Whether he is enlightened or not is a matter of personal choice and should not deny the fact that his creation, Pacha Mama is Central America's foremost expounder of Osho's wisdom. Osho would love this place. It reminds me of the simplicity and dedication of Poona One. The meditations, Dynamic, Kundalini, No Dimensions, the library of Osho books in so many languages, the Osho recorded discourses, Osho's picture everywhere, the flavor, the aroma of Osho permeates the village from the 400 seat Osho Hall down to the simple casitas scattered in the forest are witnesses to the homage Tyohar pays to his Master. Tyohar is the Host and we are his Guests. And still there are purists, hiding behind Osho's robes who call him a pretender. They are the present day equivalent of the Pharisees who condemned Jesus.

Last night in Satsang he answered a question by a pretty young Russian sannyasin "What do you mean by spiritual masturbation?". After the laughter died down his reply was pure Osho - a succinct, wise and poetic treatise on what is happening here in Pacha Mama - an opening to Truth beyond the pretensions of personality and a depth of understanding that brought tears to my eyes. The question of his Enlightenment is not my business. He speaks the Truth.

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Disciplehood

February, 2009

A disciple: “A follower, one who adheres to a particular school of philosophy, religious thought or art” says Webster. Osho disagrees. He saw a disciple as a totally different phenomenon. “A disciple is not interested in knowing about God,” He said, “he is interested in becoming God…the disciple is receptive, vulnerable, unguarded, he drops all armor…the Master is his soul, his very being, his devotion is unconditional and absolute. And to know absolute devotion is to know God.

Oh-oh. I guess in those terms I’m not a very good disciple. Well, the quality of my disciplehood has sure gone up and down over time from total surrender in Poona One and at the Ranch to a stint with Papaji in Lucknow, but my love has never diminished to the level where I have doubted my allegiance. Osho has been my Master for more than thirty years. While it took some years of Guru Shopping before we connected, I also took His advice and checked out a couple more when He left His body. No-one came up to scratch…I simply was not in love with them to the same degree. High beings. Great teachers but unable to take His place in my evolution. Simple as that.

A disciple is one who is ready to learn, ready to absorb, one who is open, receptive,” said Osho in “The Diamond Sutra”. OK, that’s more my level. If I stop growing I may as well check out. Disciplehood implies discipline and I’m not very good at that either. I quit Buddhism because I couldn’t handle the discipline required in meditation.  Loyalty comes in somewhere and I remember Osho talking about the mass suicides in Jonestown as we sat in Buddha Hall shaken by the news. We knew that Osho would never ask us to demonstrate that kind of extremism, but I can recall thinking about what I would do if tested…No way, man…Life is too good. That kind of blind faith in disciplehood is palpable in fundamental religions and even Bush’s call to arms “You’re either for us or against us” smacked of insanity.

There’s an arrogance about phony disciplehood where it becomes a fashion. You could see it in the fringe sannyasins who used to hang out on the Bidi Wall outside the Ashram dressed as Shiva Freaks, or at the German Bakery basking in Osho’s reflected glory. They balked at the idea of working 12 hour shifts in the kitchen without a day off. We divided everyone up into Ashramites, Termites and Vegemites. The Ashramites were the Heavies – the true disciples who lived 24/7 behind the Gateless Gate. They had the courage to take the jump into total trust. It was risky, a gamble, because there was no security in surrender. The Termites were, of course, the workers – the Trendies, slogging away in Vrindavan, riding bicycles in long robes looking like Jesus. Their declared ambition was to give up their comfortable flats and move into a small shared room in the Ashram. The Vegemites were the Flakes, the camp followers, the wankers from Goa. And Osho took them all in. No exceptions. All potential disciples. And for me the ultimate disciple was Laxmi. This tiny elegant lady inspired my deepest respect. I have still never again encountered such profound devotion. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAXMI !!!!!!!!!

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Terrorism

January, 2009

Since World War II in which I had moments of profound fear I have not experienced any situation more frightening than being in"terror"gated three times by U.S. Immigration. These trained sociopaths are masters of creating fear in their victims. I had no need to lie. Wearing orange and a long beard are not against the law. But these scary people, men and women, black and white, seem to be high on TV dramas like "Law and Order" and "The Wire". One shaven-headed old Sadist modeled himself on "Kojak" and spent three hours snarling at me.

The power of terrorism is not in the terrorist but in the belief system of the people being terrorised. That is Osama bin Laden's greatest triumph. The 3000 Americans killed in the World Trade Center was a paltry revenge for the massacre of millions of Iraqis, Afghanis, Vietnamese, Koreans and Central Americans by U.S. troops and the C.I.A. His ongoing success in the War against Terror is the fear instilled in the U.S. by it's own government. Fear and Greed have brought America, until recently the most powerful nation on Earth, to its knees. Like the War against Drugs there is no winning the War against Terrorism. The 75 year old losing Drug War is relatively new but Terrorism is as old as Civilization reaching peaks during the Spanish Inquisition and the Holocaust.

One would think that the way to avoid being terrorised is to have nothing to lose nor an ideology that disagrees with the terrorists but Rwanda or being Jewish knocks that theory on the head. The bigots and the power brokers always need to feed their insatiable appetites. The most sophisticated terrorists in the world today, the Pentagon and the Arms Dealers need war to survive. Political hawks, Fundamentalists, Lawyers, Insurance and Advertising Agents, Hollywood and every single person spreading fear contributes to terrorism at some level.

H.G.Wells in his History of the World, an anthology of terror on a grand scale, concluded that Man has not advanced emotionally since the Stone Age. Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Ching says there is no greater misfortune than having an enemy and preparing for war. No decent man possesses weapons he says. Violence, Terrorism, Security always rebounds upon itself and even all the efforts of U.S. Immigration failed to stop the 9/11 terrorists from entering the country, living and training there for months prior to the attack.

Death and Terrorism are intimately related and both are unavoidable aspects of life...What to do?...Tell another joke perhaps?

Henry has been on a hunting trip and is telling his pal Morris all about it. "Well," he says, "I'm out there in the woods and then I'm lost. Suddenly I'm face to face with the biggest goddam bear you've ever seen. I turn and run as fast as I can but the bear is running faster. Just when I feel his hot breath on my neck he slips and falls. I keep running but the bear is catching up again. He is almost on top of me when he slips and falls again. Then I run into a clearing with the bear close behind, and I see the other hunters and shout for help. Just then the bear slips and falls again and the hunters are able to shoot him." "Wow!" says Morris "That's an amazing story. If that had been me I would have shit my pants!". "Well," Henry replie, "What do you think the bear was slipping on?"

Happy Xmas, Hanukah, New Year and whatever you feel like celebrating...love and all...Sarito

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Bliss in Death

January, 2009

Monty Python's "Meaning of Life" treats Death with characteristic British Upper Class levity - "Darling, do give Mr Death a drink". My own feelings about Death are crystallising as, at 82 the Reaper's arrival is just around the corner. I have now lived way longer than any of my ancestors and attribute this to my fervent pursuit of Osho's Path of Love, Life and Laughter. I guess I don't think about Death very much except as an inevitable climax to a beautiful Life and am only reminded of it when I note the demise of old sannyas friends in the Obituaries. Most of them move on in such a peaceful way that there seems to be nothing to fear.

I nearly died of typhoid in Lucknow some years ago and remember with gratitude the generosity shown me by friends whom I had only just met who visited, got medical help and took care of me with so much love. A near death experience convinced me that staying grounded and accepting is the graceful way to go. I seem to be extremely healthy for my age, which brings me to the question of who will die first - me or my bank balance. So I am reading a book on Euthanasia citing various methods of leaving the body in a clean, scientific, painless and legal manner. It's obviously such a sensible way of dealing with incurable disease, bankruptcy and relieving others of the burden of caring for me in my dotage.

My mother's death was a major experience in which I took care of her along with round-the-clock nurses through six weeks of terminal cancer. She seemed to be on the point of departure every three days but wisely, decided to clean up her Karma - Sex, Money, Power and Time - before she left. After three days of confessing to sleeping with quite a lot of men, betraying my father, abandoning me, a few minor thefts and sundry stuff of which most of us are guilty, she would remember something else she needed to off-load. She finally expired in innocence with the clear, lucid and vacant eyes of a new-born baby. In the end there was nobody there.

I don't know what's going to happen to me when I die and so far, no-one has convinced me that they know either, although there seem to be as many projections as there are religions. All that seems certain is that "Death is the culmination of life, the ultimate blossoming. In death the whole of life is summed up, in death you arrive" says Osho. And who knows? Perhaps that fresh journey, if there is one, will bring more joy, more bliss than the life we have just left behind.

OK...a joke to relieve the tension...A nun dies and goes to heaven. St. Peter says to her "I'm sure you have led a virtuous life Sister, but before I can let you in you must answer one question. The question is what were Eve's first words to Adam? "Boy!" says the nun "that's a hard one" "That's right!" says St. Peter.

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Zorba The Buddha

December, 2008

I am Zorba the Buddha and Zorba the Buddha is me. At least since I first heard about him over thirty years ago. I was 50 when I gave myself a birthday present - a trip to India to see someone I considered the wisest man on earth. A guide to light my way. Dropping into another world that this Master, Osho, described as living without structure, with no dependence on the past or my personality, a morality that comes from within and an openess to experience. WOW!

Poona One was a Buddhafield of the kind of energy that's tangible, filled with the most intelligent people I’d ever met learning to trust themselves, stay centered and relaxed in their beings, to be Zorba the Buddhas. There, living in a bamboo hut by the river, fighting through a dozen groups, working 12 hours a day in the kitchen, playing with the handymen in the Boutique and melting into Osho at every morning discourse I dropped much of my acquired attitudes, patterns and tactics for getting through life. All that stuff about staying cool, avoiding risk, living in the past, worrying about the future, being reasonable, logical, feeling trapped, punished, not good enough and so fucking serious.

Then I began to grow, to experience a profound sense of freedom that came from surrendering to Osho´s presence and great therapists like Teertha, Somendra and Santosh. They opened me to the realization that enlightenment for me was knowing that I have it all here and now. Like all my crazy, beautiful friends in the Ashram I became my own version of Zorba the Buddha.

Then one day, while I was disappearing,  my Master disappeared too and there was no point in hanging around any longer. So back into the world with my long hair, long beard and long orange robe in cynical Sydney, the scene of my middle class success. On the first day, while sweeping the sidewalk outside the pub which served as our Osho Center, I remembered the times when I would drive right by in my British Racing Green MG en route to the Cruising Yacht Club. Well, that was before I became Zorba the Buddha...back them my hero was James Bond.

Meanwhile Osho was busy setting up his great experiment - an International, Interracial, Intersexual Commune on a huge, desolate, broken-down sheep ranch in the high desert country, Oregon, USA... "Land of Freedom ensuring Justice and Domestic Tranquility providing a Common Defense and General Welfare and serving the Blessings of Liberty" for ever and ever, Amen. And I was called! Hallelujah! What a trip! Rajneeshpuram! Adventure of a Lifetime! Thousands of Zorba the Buddhas gathered around one Ordinary Man creating a city out of 100 square miles of scrub in the teeth of militant opposition from redneck neighbors, Fundamentalist Christians, Immigration, the Media and all the Forces of Darkness right up to Reagan.

A working example to the world of a self-sufficient community living in peace and harmony. A dynamic lifestyle treating all work as a meditation and all meditation as a legal high. A dire threat to all god-fearing democracies. As dangerous as Martin Luther King's Dream. Well, we struggled together and very nearly went to jail together. They deported Osho and sent us on our way. Saving America for the Bush Administration.

 The total collapse of the Dream tossed me back into the world with a "Got nothing to lose" attitude, living with a bunch of highly trained Zorba the Buddhas in a succession of communal houses - fun times in California. Then down through Mexico to Guatemala and the rare beauty of Lake Atitlan.

Another adventure. Another taste of the unknown. A couple of years marking time, finding my place in this unique community of escapists - a few Zorbas, a few Buddhas and all ex-patriots. I like the term ex-patriots since patriotism with 5000 wars in 3000 years is probably responsible for more deaths than disease. Anyway, I had this idea to build myself a house before I got too old. There was nothing and nobody here on this part of the lake shore except a small Mayan village up the hill. No roads and the only way to get to town still is by boat.

I had spent some fifteen years in Communes and it would be nice to live in my own place. It didn't work out that way. So many Zorba the Buddhas showed up, I ended up with a little Community. Some extraordinary people came to keep me company, enjoy the lake, dance, meditate, run a business or just hang out and I could even go back to Poona knowing that there was someone there to take care of things. A perfect setup, almost too good. So I went broke, never charged enough. Well, what the fuck! Drop it and move on. The Way of Tao.

 So I sold the whole place to a young couple running a Dive School - another kind of meditation. Twelve years later, they are still paying me off. They turned it into a backpacker hotel and I still live on the premises, order a beer and they take it off the mortgage.

Being a Zorba, I love living with a lot of young people in a hotel. They are on vacation, having a wonderful time in one of the most beautiful places they have ever seen and totally into the moment...no worries about what's happening tomorrow in the office. Being a Buddha it is pretty noisy in a hotel, but here most of it is the Mayan kitchen girls giggling, or the guests playing music and having a good time. Many of my old friends came to visit, stayed on, bought land and built houses, a couple more hotels and three temples including a Buddha Hall...at one stage the area was called Bhagwan Bay.

In twenty years the Gringo Community has grown leading a healthy, creative life which, during the season that starts around now, turns into a vibrant social round spiced with meditations, dancing, Yoga, Watsu, visiting Shamans from Brazil, Peru and around the lake, Jai Uttal and his Kirtan Group, some members of Israel's Sheva Band, all sorts of groups from spiritual centers in the US and Europe along with contributions from the many writers, painters and musicians who live here now. The Mayan villagers have profited enormously working in construction and tourism and now have schools, a doctor, nurses and a clinic, a library, sports facilities, shops etc., and are living well compare with most of Guatemala.

I am so content here that I never return to the US, Europe or even India where I lived some 20 years. The only place I go for a month or two every year is Tyohar's Spiritual/Ecological Commune, Pacha Mama just down the way in Costa Rica. Full of Zorba the Buddhas, many of whom have been in Poona, there the spirit of Osho reigns...it reminds me very much of Poona One...Osho's picture everywhere, all the meditations, tapes, groups happening...beautiful houses built by residents, cabins for visitors, a whole village (sometimes in total silence) on a huge property only a couple of miles from fabulous beaches on the Guanacaste Coast...

check out www.pachamama.com

   I like to think that President Obama and his family are the first occupants of the White House who begin to approach Osho's concept of Zorba the Buddha. The celebration of his election all over the world reminded me of the end of World War Two - such relief and such gratitude - even in Austria (the losing side) where I was stationed...Jai Bhagwan, Viva Obama...I hope they get to dance.

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The Golden Future

November, 2008: Special Issue

The recent US election highlights Osho's proposal in "The Golden Future", written twenty five years ago, to have strict standards of competence for both candidates and voters.

Barack Obama is a man with the highest credentials for elected office, an inspiring orator with a platform designed to enhance the lives of all peoples of the world. John McCain, on the other hand, comes across as a kind of used car salesman, a cheer leader appealing to the bias, bigotry, blind faith and "Us versus Them" patriotism of the mob.

Roughly 50 percent of American voters, like Germany in the Thirties, have twice voted for an administration that has brought their country to its knees and destroyed the trust of the rest of the world.

Who are these people?

Their ignorance stems from an authoritarian education and fundamental religion that deprive them of the ability to think. They work hard at physical jobs, come home exhausted and settle in front of the TV with a six-pack ready to absorb the opinions of conservative commentators who feed their need for re-assurance that they are the luckiest people in the world. They sure don't want to think, but they get to vote - and they ain't going to vote for a Nigger.

Osho's concept of Meritocracy - preparing people for power and the vote - should be a prime aspect of all future elections in all Democratic countries. Voting age does not matter. All potential voters need to take courses in government, know precisely for whom they are voting, fully understand the issues and pass tests of their competence to vote before going to the polls.

Every candidate for office, from Local Government to President should be highly trained with degrees and experience in the areas and at the levels they would be serving. Failure to achieve their promises and proof of corruption would automatically disqualify them from future participation in politics.

Democracy cannot succeed if a government for the people, by the people and of the people is voted into power by the same uneducated, misinformed and unaware citizens.

 


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