MA ANAND GAYAN (Song of Bliss)
Born in 1947 in Hamburg, Germany. Gayan took sannyas in 1976 and is presently living near Munich, Germany.

It was during the ‘swinging sixties’ with the Beatles, Elvis, the hippies, the miniskirt and the hula hoop; I was living in Munich together with my boyfriend, studying ballet at the ‘Musikhochschule’, a branch of the university. We were moving around in the esoteric scene, which was in reality not much of a scene.

It consisted of a small group of people meeting at times at the small scene restaurant, which smelled of incense interspersed with sporadic whiffs of marihuana, serving healthy and exotic foods. Or one met in the English Garden Park to play Frisbee, buy a ‘piece’ and smoke it, or hang out with the kids, and friends, and dogs. The bookstalls carried only a few esoteric books, and if at all they did, mainly the ‘old’ stuff: Leadbeater, Blavatsky and so on. Indian Gurus were visiting the city and gave talks; LSD was experimented with and thought to be the power horse to enlightenment, even though nobody had an idea what this enlightenment was all about.

I was also trying out some LSD, and on the ‘trip’ I remember thinking to myself, what to do now? I decided to do a head stand and then I saw the face that I would never forget: I saw the bearded face of an Indian-looking man in a dark frame; it looked like the locket of the mala, the necklace of the sannyasins which I would see only much later. The image of this face stayed with me and I started looking for it. Once, Satchitananda, an Indian Hatha yoga teacher from New York, visited Munich and stayed with my friend. He was a beautiful, simple man and looked like the ‘face’ I had seen, but somehow I knew it was not him.

So the years went by, I finished my studies and got pregnant. Together with some friends, we bought a farmhouse an hour away from Munich and organized together the ‘Theatron’, a Sunday afternoon festival for young people in the arena at the lake of the Olympic Park in Munich. It was fun work, and we invited all the well-liked rock bands from Germany to play for the kids on the stage situated at the lake’s edge.

At that time, I was having a vivid dream: my boyfriend and I, led by another friend, were walking through the dark until our friend opened a door into a well-lit room and we entered. Inside the room sat a bearded, white-robed man (there was the ‘face’ again!) and around him many young women and men were sitting on the floor. They were asking him questions, and he was answering them while they were listening silently. I was sitting beside a beautiful young woman, and after a while I also went forward to ask a question, received an answer and woke up, only I couldn’t remember what the question or the answer had been. Later, when I came to Poona, I met the woman from my dream; it was Mukta’s daughter, Neeta, who must have been a small child when I had the dream.

My boyfriend Juergen and I split up, but we continued living in our ‘Einberg’ farmhouse. I found a weekly job in Munich, to which I could also bring my daughter, and on the weekends we hitchhiked home to the farm. One snowy winter evening, we were sitting in our cozy kitchen when we heard a car approaching. I went to the door, and there stood some people with snow all over them, asking if they could stay the night. They had run into trouble with their car and then heavy snow on their way back home from a concert. I asked them to step inside, and they followed me to the kitchen when I turned to one of them and saw his necklace with a locket showing the picture of a face. I stepped towards him and touched the picture and asked, “Who is that man in the picture?” I had found the face I had seen and was searching for! And then I found out about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and that he lived in his ashram in the city of Poona in India. I felt happy and excited, not on the outside, but inside it felt like a floodlight had been switched on and everything had an intensity and clarity; I still remember it like it was yesterday. I felt something new had entered my life and I wanted to take everything in with my eyes wide open.

Siddhartha and his friends were from a farmhouse close to Munich, which was the first Rajneesh Meditation Centre in Germany, called Purvodaya. The next morning, Siddhartha left me a little leaflet with a few words by Bhagwan. They touched me like arrows that went deep inside of me and left a warm and delicious feeling.

In 1975, Juergen purchased a large bus and loaded it up with half of the Einberger people, and off they went overland to India, which was a very trendy thing to do and still possible at the time because all the borders were open. The rest of us had a very quiet winter in our wood-heated farm house.

Springtime came and the bus returned with our now orange-clad friends and lots of stories about Iran, Afghanistan, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Poona, meditations, therapy groups, and sannyas. And all the new names! Right away started the dying of the clothes; whatever could be dyed red, orange, purple, and pink was pulled out of closets and dipped in dye! And all the different meditations: the only heated room was the kitchen, so that was where they were happening, right next to the cooking of the food. It was a very lively situation, and we all enjoyed it. Then I saw a beautiful picture of Bhagwan and I wanted to have it. I had fallen in love with that radiant man in the picture. So I snatched the picture from my ex-boyfriend, who was now called Anurakta, and put it in my room. I had bargained with Anurakta about it and he was happily resistant, seeing my obvious interest in it. So I dared to just take it.

The first book by Bhagwan I read was about the 108 meditation techniques of Lord Shiva. I thought I should check out these techniques and decided on the “let-go” one, as I felt that the relationship between Anurakta and I was still a bit tense and my little daughter Rahna was suffering because of this situation. So I did it and got into such a high space by letting go of that ‘luggage’ that I ran outside and danced in the garden. Since then, there has been a lovely friendship between Anurakta and me.

In the autumn of 1976, I had an operation which took a long time to recover from, while Anurakta filled up his bus again to go to India. I still needed more time to rest, so he gave me money to buy plane tickets for me and Rahna in case I felt l wanted to go to Poona with Pjotr, who was an Einberg friend and wanted to fly there; that was a great surprise and, in the end, also worked out really well.

And one cold October morning, we all piled our luggage into the small car of a friend and drove to Frankfurt Airport, where we met two more sannyasins who were on the same route with Egypt Air via Cairo and Dubai to Bombay.

Unforgettable are the air and the smells we encountered when we got off the plane in the middle of the night in Bombay! After endless waiting at the passport controls and changing money, we went with a taxi to the Bombay-Poona Taxi stand and bargained for a seat. Finally, we took off, squeezed in with some businessmen for the 5 hour journey over the Ghats, and finally arrived in Poona, where Pjotr knew the Shalimar Hotel near the railway station. After getting settled in the rooms and putting Rahna to sleep, we went for a stroll along the busy streets. It was still dark, but the town was already awake. I will never forget the traffic noise, the bustling people, the smell of toasted peanuts, the very atmosphere of India which I came to love.

The next day, we bundled up in a rickshaw, a little taxi with two seats and open on the sides, and drove out to the ashram. There we arrived at the beautiful, large wooden gate and walked in… It was a lovely feeling to walk into the premises, which had a large fountain to the right, surrounded by flower gardens, and the path took us to a large English-colonial villa from the times of the Raj, which was called Krishna House. There was a small office on the left side, and as I found out later, the remaining area was living space for the more or less 50 ashramites.

Krishna House had underground chambers where various therapy groups were happening, and during the breaks, many sweetly apprehensive looking participants wearing ‘in silence’ badges on their orange gowns and hugging stuffed animals of all sizes were hanging around. The meditations were being held in the big Radha Hall at the back of Krishna House. Taking a right turn in front of Krishna House, we came to Vrindavan, the kitchen and restaurant that catered for the visitors, a place where Rahna and I would later hang out a lot, and where we made our first contacts with future friends.

On the path ahead, passing Krishna House, we reached the gate of Lao Tzu House; this was the house where Bhagwan lived and also where his daily discourses took place in the mornings, and the evening meetings, called darshan. More living spaces and group rooms were in an old villa to the left of Lao Tzu House, called Jesus House, and opposite there were the transformed servants’ quarters called Eckhart House and Francis House. The gardens didn’t yet have the abundant, overflowing plant life they later showed; they looked more like a cropped English garden. It was the liveliest, welcoming, and friendliest place I have ever experienced, and underlying it all was a spaciousness and silence as deep and wide as the universe.

My daughter was 4 years old then, and we spent all the time together discovering the ashram and the streets around. Pjotr was busy going to discourse and darshan and meeting his friends, and the bus with our Einberger people had still not arrived in Poona. Therefore, I hadn’t had a chance to go to discourse and be in Bhagwan’s presence, but after a week or so, Pjotr offered to look after Rahna if I wanted to go to darshan in the evening. I was very happy and went right away to the small office in Krishna House to ask for an appointment. Laxmi, who was administrating the ashram then, was right there and also had an opening for the same night. She asked me if I wanted to take sannyas. I hesitated a bit and said I hadn’t seen Bhagwan yet. She only said, “Come tonight,” while moving her head in that particular Indian fashion that I find so endearing.

I happily went back to Pjotr and then returned to the hotel to get prepared for darshan, which meant showering and ironing the clothes and trying to get back to the ashram without getting dirty and smelly; quite a challenge while travelling in a rickshaw through the streets of Poona! I felt happy and excited to finally meet Bhagwan in person. I enjoyed so much being in the ashram and meeting all the beautiful people, what about meeting him! I loved everything I had seen and experienced so far, but how to meet the unknown? I wanted to be right there and present so as not to miss a beat!

Surprisingly, that same afternoon, Anurakta and the whole bus full of our farm family members arrived. That was great timing, and Rahna was thrilled to have her daddy and everybody else around her again.

I went to darshan happily and made it through the sniffing ladies – that meant I had no smells that would provoke Bhagwan’s allergies – and walked into the dimly lit auditorium, behind people who were rushing ahead and sitting down on the floor in front of an empty chair. We were about 20 people there, waiting, sitting silently. And then Bhagwan came gliding in with his hands held in the Indian welcome called namaste. He sat down, and before I could think or take in anything, my name was called. I didn’t know what to do now, but somebody made signs for me to come in front of Bhagwan. So I went, sat down, and disappeared into ‘His’ eyes. I heard Him say, “Close your eyes.” And when He asked me to open them again, He was holding a mala, the necklace of rosewood beads with a locket that showed His picture. He placed the mala around my neck, holding on to the locket while He gently touched my third eye. He then showed me a sheet of paper where He had written my new name, my sannyas name. I looked into His eyes and disappeared again, and I hardly heard a word He said to me. I just remember something about being too serious and that my way is to sing and dance. Nothing more is needed.

I felt many things in those moments – from being at home finally, to looking at something so incredibly beautiful that I must have looked totally dumb-founded. Never in my life have I seen or been with such a luminous being. I have never felt such love and acceptance. And at the same time, it felt familiar, like “Yes, this is it!” Remembering, my being happily relaxed into it and drowned in these deep and endless eyes of Bhagwan. Nothing else existed. My vision became incredibly lucid and colourful and my ears and my being heard the voice of Bhagwan surrounded by the whole universe.

I stumbled back to my place and my nose started running and running and I, not prepared for the phenomenon ‘Bhagwan’, had no hanky handy, only the hem of my shirt. Too quickly, the darshan ended and Bhagwan had gone. I felt so incredible, so at one and at ease with myself. There was only love: inside, outside, and all around. Tangible in the air, the plants and trees, the people, the lights and colours, and all the sounds… I would have been happy to just stay where I was, but the last people were already leaving the hall, and so I went slowly along the path to the gate. And there waited the whole farm family to hug me and show them my new name, and then they took me out to the Blue Nile restaurant for a proper celebration! And that is how my sannyas life started.

“When I look at you there is a message, because there are many things which cannot be said by words. And I have to say with my hands, and I have to say with my eyes, and I have to say with my silence, and I have to say with my presence. Words are inadequate; they only go so far – beyond that they cannot go. But the eyes can convey, eye contact can become a great communion.

So when you see me looking at you into your eyes, don’t miss that moment. In that moment don’t start thinking, in that moment just look into me, in that moment be lost. In that moment don’t think ‘What is the message?’ because if you start thinking about the message, you have missed. The eye contact itself is the message. You just be there, present, looking into my eyes and something is going to happen, something will transpire between me and you. Here I am not. If you can look into my eyes for a single second, totally, you will also disappear. And when the Master and the disciple both are not, there is the meeting.”

Osho, Tao: The Pathless Path Vol. 1, Ch 4, Q 6

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

Past The Point Of No Return

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