MA PREMDAYA (Love and Compassion)
Born in 1953 in Sydney, Australia. Premdaya took sannyas in 1980 and presently lives in Perth, Western Australia

21 Ma Premdaya

It was only after I had spent an hour or so in his ashram and had an experience that changed me forever that I even heard the name Bhagwan.

I had been living and working in Israel for three years, and as money was tight in those days, I flew from there to Greece because I thought that way I’d be able to get a cheaper ticket to fly back to Australia. However, there were no cheap direct flights to be had, but there was one cut-price ticket that would take me via Egypt to Delhi, Bombay and then Perth. I hadn’t intended to visit India at all, but because of this ticket, I had spent a week in Delhi with the opportunity for some sightseeing, and also visited the Taj Mahal in Agra.

So I landed in Bombay in October 1979 on route to Australia, with a few days to hang around before my next flight. At the airport, I met an Australian couple who said they were going to Poona to see a friend. Poona, they said, was cheaper and cooler than Bombay; this sounded like a better place to kill time, so I accepted their invitation to join them.

We arrived at the Poona train station and dropped our bags at a hotel nearby; then the three of us hopped in a rickshaw to find a friend of the Australian couple who allegedly was staying at an ashram. The rickshaw dropped us at the ashram’s front gate and my new friends went inside. I stood at the entrance, wondering what this place was.

The word ashram had no real meaning for me, but I could see immediately that this place was completely different from anywhere else I’d been during the week I’d so far spent in India. For a start, it was clean; people looked noticeably happier than they did anywhere else I’d seen in this country; and even the trees inside, waving their branches above the wall, looked more alive than those outside.

I stepped through the main gate and walked a few metres into the ashram along a paved road that was obviously a main thoroughfare. I stopped and stood still. People passed me going in both directions; others also stood on the walkway, but they were in twos and even threes, hugging. This place was definitely different! I closed my eyes to be able to feel it better, and in that very moment I saw lightning in the shape of an arrow flying towards me from a direction deep in the ashram. In an instant, it entered my heart, yet it moved slowly enough for me to easily read the clear message written across it: “You have come home.”

As this arrow entered me, time and thought stopped. I was encased in a field of pure light. I don’t know how long I stood there, whether my eyes were open or closed, but suddenly I felt myself completely divided down the length of my body. One half quietly but clearly said “I never want to leave this place,” while the other screamed, “You’ve gotta go, you’ve been saving for years to go home, you’ve got a non-refundable ticket!” and in addition, every other logical reason why I should leave.

I wandered around the ashram for a short while, feeling somewhat dazed, yet calm and very happy after this experience. Unexpectedly, I bumped into a woman I knew from Perth, and over a cup of chai at the small teashop in the grounds, she told me about the ashram and her love for Bhagwan; that was probably the first time I heard his name.

I was completely blown away by the energy of the place; something transformative had started happening to me as soon as I stepped into the ashram, which continued for months afterwards. Even so, I didn’t bother to even come back the next day to hear Bhagwan talk. I assumed it was something like a university lecture, with someone in a grey suit standing at a lectern, and it didn’t interest me. So I bought a book by Bhagwan, And the Flowers Showered, and took a train back to Bombay to catch my plane.

Although I did feel a very strong urge to stay in the ashram, I didn’t relate that in any way to Bhagwan, just to the place itself. I’d had an experience of myself there, of being absolutely in the present, which was extremely powerful; I knew I’d come back.

A year later, I was back in Pune at the ashram, and that was the first time I saw Bhagwan. I remember it very clearly: I was sitting at the very back of Buddha Hall, as newcomers were asked to do, waiting for him to enter the hall and sit down on his chair for discourse. I turned to the side for a moment, gazing at the rich green foliage surrounding the hall, looked back, and suddenly there he was, gliding across the podium, his hands folded in the traditional namaste greeting. Even though there wasn’t a sound in Buddha Hall to begin with, he’d come in so quietly I hadn’t heard him enter or walk up the steps to the podium.

I saw clarity around him – an aura of crystal clearness that surrounded him. I don’t usually see auras, but I saw this without doubt, and I recognised it as the same clear space that had surrounded me as the arrow had gone into my body when I had stepped into the ashram a year before. Only then did I realise that the arrow had come from him. Later, I discovered that the spot where I had sensed the arrow had come from was his home, Lao Tzu House.

“Science tries to demystify things. What does knowing everything about existence mean? In other words, it is demystifying existence.

I do just the opposite: I mystify the rose, I mystify the cloud. I mystify the sky, the stars. I mystify you. And remember, it is no mystification – that is bogus. I simply reveal your reality to you. And it is such a mystery.

I can afford contradictions, because I am not aiming at your head. My aim is somewhere else. You can ask, then why do I talk? I talk to keep your head engaged; meanwhile, my arrow goes directly to your heart. Continuously I am throwing arrows to your heart; but the head knows nothing about it, cannot know anything about it. They are not on talking terms either.

And I have to contradict; otherwise my arrows will be futile. Your head will find rationality, consistency, a better philosophy, better argument, more contemporary, and you will be satisfied with your head. And your head is just a computer, it is not you. Anything can be fed into the head. It can contain almost all the books of all the libraries of the world; a single head can contain that much information. And the more information you have, the more your head starts swelling up, becoming bigger and bigger. And in the noise and the clamour, who is going to listen to the still, small voice of the heart? Hence, you need not believe my contradictions; you should not believe what I say.

When I am here, why not have a heart-to-heart meeting? That is trust. Behead yourself completely!”

Osho, From Death to Deathlessness, Ch 3, Q 1

From the book, Past the Point of No Return by Ma Anand Bhagawati

Past The Point Of No Return

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