Monday, August 29, 2011

Swami Anand Ashubodha


We are sharing with you the special edition of Rama Prem’s newsletter, August 2011.

Swami Anand Ashubodha
December 31, 1950 – August 23, 2011 6:05 PM


How is it that I know the time of Ashubodha’s death?
Well, there’s a story there.

Many years ago, Ashu asked my opinion about something. He wanted to move into one of two new areas: fast cars or fast women. Since–at the time–the only car that I had ever owned was a Volkswagen Beetle, I wasn’t terribly helpful in the car department. But fast women? I had been into them for many years, and I could highly recommend them.

Ashu, however–as was his wont–chose the path less-traveled. On the night of September 20, 2000, he and his fast car had an accident on an autobahn (no speed limit) outside Munich–where he had been living and working for some years. There were no other cars involved; Ashu’s car spun out on a slick portion of road, and crashed. The speed was great enough to crumple his car; he had to be cut out by the fire brigade.

He spent days in surgery, and in a coma. He spent nine months in the hospital. He came out paralyzed from the chest down, and confined to a wheelchair. It was how he was to live for his remaining years. And he made the most and best of them. He was able to maintain a very pleasant apartment on the outskirts of Munich. He required 24-hour-a-day care, and it was his job–and his alone–to manage/schedule that care. It was very difficult to do this; he needed someone with him at all times–not being able to do anything for himself. He had to find someone for every hour of every day; he had to manage days off, vacations (every care-giver wanted a summer vacation), illness… And this he did for ten years.

When Sneh and I visited with him two years ago, he told us that he would never go into a “home” or other institution. His experience of them, after the accident, left no doubt in his mind about what he wanted–and what he didn’t want. He recounted to us, in detail, the way people were treated in such institutions. If only some of what he told us was true, it was a horror story. He made it clear that–should the time come when he could no longer schedule full-time care-givers–he would choose suicide.

We got a telephone call from Ashu a couple of months ago. It began with, “I’ve made a decision.” He was doing the enormous amount of paperwork needed to be a client of an “assisted-suicide” facility in Switzerland. It is legal there, but its very legality makes jumping hurdles and through hoops necessary. On top of that, he was an American, living in Germany.

For almost all of the time since that conversation, this has been a closely guarded secret; Germany, to say the least, frowns upon suicide–assisted or otherwise. It was very important that people in the health professions not know of this. Had they found out, he would have been confined to an institution, drugged, and lived out his life under those conditions. That represented all that he wished to avoid–no matter what.

And his condition had worsened. He now had “bed-sores”, and was in constant pain. It was time “to be freed of this ailing body. It’s time to hang up my coat and return it to the physical world.” With his inability to schedule care-givers for the entire month of August, the date of his suicide was set for August 23rd. Sneh and I traveled to Munich ten days earlier, and spent two days with him. We had a wonderful time. He was really alive (again). If he had had a step, there would have been a spring back in it. We laughed, joked, spoke of “serious” and important matters; none of it mattered. He had made a decision–the right decision–and was enjoying it and his last days.

His BIG passion was pottery. In Pune Two, he started the pottery studio; he was its Mom. He loved it; he did beautiful work. Graceful pieces that put a smile on a bookshelf or dining room table. Two-piece works that had a lid that fit perfectly on the base.
A few days before our visit (yes, only days before his departure!), he had arranged that the last of his work from before his accident get glazed (his own unique glazes) and fired. They arrived while we were with him.

He was fully alive, present; living in the moment. He had his care-giver make lunch for us, which included noodles without any sauce–which I left on my plate, uneaten. He apologized profusely, and I, of course, said, “Hey man, not to worry.” (In my mind, I’m going, “Jesus, Ashu, you’ll be dead in a few days; don’t sweat the small stuff . It’s only noodles, for Christ’s sake. In the grand/cosmic scheme of things, it won’t amount to a hill of beans.”)

But he was fully alive, present; living in the moment. And noodles were happening in the moment. I suspect that being Jewish had something to do with it, but–hey–what do I know? It was a bit difficult to leave, and we all knew it. We stood at the door, trying to leave, while Ashu told jokes in order to keep us there.
We knew that the next time that we would see him would be the last: August 23rd, outside Zurich, Switzerland.

On the Ranch, Ashu had the job of garbage-truck driver. Being Jewish, his parents never felt that this was the chosen profession for their boy. A doctor, a lawyer? Yes. But a garbage-truck driver?

Ashu:
My mother visited me once and asked while I was picking up some trash if there was anything that I was learning that was preparing me to make a living outside the commune, as I guess mothers will. I answered that I’d become able to enjoy any work I was doing, no matter what it was, and that’s the truth.

From a message sent not long ago to high school friends:
Through meditation, I’ve found a space within myself where my happiness, for lack of a better word, or “feeling of well-being” doesn’t depend on what happens on the outside… (The hospitalization) was the most difficult time of my life, and I easily could’ve gone insane–lost in completely–if I hadn’t been able to relax, breathe and stay centered and enjoy the moment.

A message sent to friends on August 19th:
beloveds, this is going to be much shorter than i had planned it to be, because time is running short. as you must know I had a car accident almost eleven years ago that left me paralyzed from the chest down and in a wheelchair. I’ve been keeping things going here successfully all these years at great effort, and now my health has taken a turn for the worse. there is so much pain and I’ve become so weak, that I’ve decided to be freed of this ailing body on tuesday, august 23rd. I’ll make the transition at the dignitas apartment in switzerland at 4 pm local time. it’s time to hang up my coat and return it to the physical world. i’ve been dancing so close to the edge these past months, risking being placed in a hospital, where I’d probably end up drugged and on life support until I expire. living wills (patientenverf├╝gungen) are not respected here. I’d rather go in a relaxed and joyous way, as osho says.

from the moment I got everything arranged with the loving, beautiful people at dignitas, so much light has entered my life. I’ve found a way out, and as my lovers around me know, my humor and lovingness have broken through the surface again as nothing stands in the way from me jumping out of the frying pan and into the holy fire. what a relief. the lightness has returned, and I can enjoy life again.

carina, my partner, sneh and ramaprem, miten, garimo and swiss ma viramano will all be there to give me a good send-off . (the lengths I have to go to to get my friends all together in one place!) I don’t feel as though i’m really going anywhere, that nothing dies, and I feel we’ll continue to be together, you and i. I’ve been so blessed to have spent so many years in osho’s physical presence, and to have learned to still be feeling his presence.

this will not change. you too, remain in my heart and that will continue to be. I go in love and gratefulness.

i’m joyfully jumping into the holy fire, and choosing to do so among some who have a healthy attitude towards death and dying.

nothing more to say.

love

swami anand ashubodha

August 23rd:
It was very much an A-list group that was present: Carina (his partner); Garimo; Viramano; Miten; Sneh and I. Ashu wanted it small, intimate.

We arrived hours “in advance”, in order to spend some quality time with Ashu.
Well, there wasn’t much that we didn’t do: we took care of some last-minute business (he distributed Osho marble to each of us; I got his computer’s hard disk that I was lusting after…); we laughed a lot; we cried; we sang a lot of songs; we played children’s games; we played adult games; we had rehearsals for the Big Moment; we had Big Moments for rehearsals.

And, we impressed the hell out of the people at the facility. They told us that they never had a departure like ours. Tell me about it!

Ashu finally tired, and it was…time.
We took him from his wheelchair, and placed him in bed. We made him comfortable, and exchanged some last words. With us sitting around him, we listened to a question-and-answer from The Razor’s Edge.

At the conclusion of the discourse, Ashubodha called for the medicine that would quickly put him to sleep and eventually stop his heart. He looked joyful, years younger, and at peace. With total trust, in serenity, with dignity, with bravery that made me weep – he took the drug.

As he lay there, watching his breath, we sang softly songs that have carried us high and higher for many years. Perhaps “Fly High” was the last he heard.
His being took on a lightness; he was finally free.

And the seasons, they go ’round and ’round,
And the painted ponies go up and down.
We’re captive on the carousel of time.
We can’t return, we can only look behind from where we came,
And go ‘round and ‘round and ‘round in the circle game.

Perhaps Ashubodha is no longer a captive of the circle game.
I hope so.

Where you have come from and where you are going is the same place. – Osho

(There are, perhaps, events in my account that did not actually happen. No matter.
They should have.)

You can contact Rama Prem at ramaprem.rp (at) gmail.com and visit him at: http://picasaweb.google.com/ramaprem.rp

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Osho Meditation Camp with Swami Arun in Amsterdam




Paripurn wrote from Amsterdam:

Beloved Friends,

I feel a strong urge to share my experiences and my feelings, my joy and my emotion about the meditation camp we just had, here in Holland, with Swami Arun from Nepal. Last year I could join Arun’s group for just one evening and when I heard he would come back to Holland this year, I was determined to try and attend the complete three days camp this time. And YES, this happened! And it happened in the most beautiful surroundings possible, ancient woods and lush gardens...

I feel like the luckiest person in the world. The group was so beautiful. Arun is a very sweet and funny man – he is so totally devoted to Osho (since he met Him 42 years ago!). He emphasizes that the only thing he wants to do is share Osho’s love with us. I am just Osho’s postman, he said, delivering Osho’s love-letters. And he talks about the importance of meditation, as Osho has told us thousands of times. So...yes, we did a lot of different meditations, and we danced a lot, and we shared a lot, and we laughed a lot, and we cried a lot, and we hugged a lot, and oh yes, sometimes we were just silent. And we saw and heard many fragments of Osho’s lectures.

Each day Arun shared stories of his own life with Osho, how he met Osho, about Osho’s guidance for him, Osho’s request to him to start a center in Nepal and how this center came to be realized and grew enormously after Osho left His body. Arun is a gifted storyteller, I assure you! Also Arun answers questions, and his answers are so kind and fascinating and always based on his own experiences and his love for Osho. I had to cry often, when Arun was telling his stories. And sometimes we all roared with laughter about his original observations.

He told about the many, many Sannyasins in Nepal (almost 60.000), a number that keeps growing fast! About the many Osho centers (some 80!) and the big communes, of which Osho Tapoban is the most important one. We saw a film about Tapoban – it’s so beautiful, I hope I can go there next year, perhaps together with some sannyasins of our group!
Arun has been travelling around the world for six months per year (for some five years), and in every country where he gives meditation camps, lots of sannyasins appear and celebrate, and many new sannyasins are being initiated in each camp. I realized that I have been longing to experience a happening like this for years, I have been yearning for it. I have been yearning for a man who could re-assure my trust in myself, someone who has the authority to do so, because of his unconditional love for Osho and his long life with our Master. Someone who could make me feel that yes! – my feelings toward my Master Osho and my attitude toward the world around me and toward other sannyasins also, have been okay all the time. Arun dedicated a special talk to that: about the uncertainty and doubts and questions among many sannyasins since the end of Rasjneeshpuram and Osho’s leaving His body. About the many strange things that have been happening with sannyasins, about the choices many sannyasins made, choices that I often could not understand at all. But which often made me feel so sad. Now I know, again, that my sadness and my not-understanding some people’s decisions, have been genuine. That it was okay to continue doing things in my own way, that my continuing love for Osho has been the only possible way for me to go on living.

Arun was guided by Osho until the very end of Osho’s life. Osho has also very specifically guided him in how to give sannyas to people. And Arun is still receiving Osho’s guidance each day.

I have been in a warm bath of Osho’s love, these three days. My heart has been touched again and again – I cried a lot. I have been amidst beautiful people, who all opened their heart.

I am extremely grateful to Arun, that he is doing this “work!” That he is sharing Osho’s love with so many people. That he is making things clear for us. That he is giving us a renewed trust in ourselves.
I am extremely grateful to Osho, for His never-ending love and wisdom.

Beloved friends, if you have the chance, don’t miss the opportunity when Arun is in your country, to plunge in Osho’s bath of love, which Arun is making available to you, or, in Arun’s words, to accept Osho’s love-letter.

More photos are available at http://www.tapoban.com/
Swami Antar Paripurn, Holland

Sourced from the Viha Connection Osho magazine.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is There a Scrap of Enlightenment?


Swami Prem Oscar sent an interesting note and we invite our readers to join the discussion:

I have been struck by a question and, in my usual fashion, just cough it out, despite its maybe being sinful or whatever!
We/I say we are/I am unenlightened, but how would we/I know? How? Will there be a very obvious change, a knowing, a happening – trumpets from the sky and all that.

I am “merged” with my natural surroundings here, spend most of my time happily alone, often following my breath, and constantly very aware of all the astounding beauty around me...and also of how very lucky I am.
But how would I know if there's even a scrap of enlightenment present here?

Thanks, Oscar – Nairobi, Kenya

Sourced from the Viha Connection Osho magazine

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Osho’s World Tour 1985 – 1986



After leaving his commune in Oregon in November 1985 Osho returns to India, but in December of 1985 
Osho's new secretary, his companion, his doctor, and other western disciples accompanying him are ordered out of India, their visas canceled. No reason is given by the Indian government for this unprecedented action except, "You are not wanted here." Osho leaves to join them in Kathmandu, Nepal, where he resumed his daily discourses. The discourses Osho gives during his time were published under the titles Light on the Path and The Sword and the Lotus.

However, the Nepalese government soon refuses visas for his visitors and closest attendance, so 
Osho leaves and embarks on his world tour. His first stop is Greece where he is granted a 30-days tourist visa. He lives in the villa of a Greek film producer in Crete and starts to speak twice daily. Disciples arrive from around the world to hear him. The Greek Orthodox clergy threatens the Greek government that blood will flow unless Osho is thrown out of the country. Osho titles the series of discourses he gives while in Crete Socrates Poisoned Again After 25 Centuries.

On March 5, 1986 
police breaks into the villa and arrests Osho without warrant, staking him to Athens where only a 25-thousand dollar bribery moves the authorities not to put him on the boat to India.
In the next two weeks numerous countries refuse to let Osho enter: Switzerland, Sweden, England, Ireland, Canada, Antigua, Holland, Germany, and Italy.

On March 19, 1986 Uruguay extends an invitation, and so Osho and his attendants fly to Montevideo.
Uruguay even mentions the possibility of permanent residence. However, in Uruguay it is discovered why Osho has been denied access to every country he tried to enter: Telexes with "diplomatic secret information" (all from NATO government sources) mentioning Interpol rumors of "smuggling charges, drug dealing and prostitution" concerning Osho's circle preceded them to their prospective host countries. The source of these stories is found to be the USA. Soon Uruguay comes under the same pressure, but on May 14 the government decides to announce at a press conference that Osho has been granted permanent residence in Uruguay.

That night Sanguinetti, the President of Uruguay, receives a call from Washington, DC, saying that if Osho stays in Uruguay, current US loans of six billion dollars will be called in, and no future loans given. Osho is requested to leave Uruguay by June 18. A day after Osho leaves Uruguay, Sanguinetti and Reagan announce from Washington a new US loan to Uruguay of 150 million dollars.

The talks Osho gives during his two months in Uruguay are among Osho’s most esoteric discourses. They were published under the following titles: Beyond Psychology, The Path of the Mystic, and The Transmission of the Lamp.

On June 19, 1986 
Jamaica grants Osho a 10-day visa. Moments after he lands there, a US navy jet lands next to Osho's private jet, and two civilians descend. The next morning, the visas of Osho and his group are canceled, "for reasons of national security."

Osho flies on to Lisbon via Madrid, and remains "undiscovered" for some time. A few weeks later policemen are placed around the villa where he is resting. Osho decides to return back to India the next day, on July 28.
Altogether 21 countries either deported him or denied him entry.

July 29, 1986 
Osho arrives in Mumbai, India, where he settles for six months as a personal guest of an Indian friend. In the privacy of his host's home, he starts giving daily discourses and disciples from around the world arrive. These discourses were published as The Osho Upanishad, Beyond Enlightenment, and Sermons in Stone.

On January 4, 1987 
Osho moves into the house at the ashram in Pune where he lived for the major part of the seventies. He stays there until his death on January 19, 1990.

Several of the printed discourse series covering his World Tour are no longer available. Osho Viha is happy to be able to offer all the series on MP3 CDs.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Our March/April Viha Connection


Our March/April Viha Connection has only just hit the streets (or cyberspace) but is already getting rave reviews. Not only is the cover stunning, but folks are also loving the contents.

The Special Section, titled More Lives in Orange, focuses on folks who grew up in Osho's communes. In 2004 Tim Guest, aka Yogesh, published his memoir, My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru. The book received a lot of attention, almost all of it negative about Osho and the sannyas community. There were talks of movie deals, until Yogesh died suddenly in 2009 at the age of 34. Critics claimed that Yogesh blamed his mother’s parenting behavior on Osho and the community, when, if fact, he lived most of his childhood with her outside of the community. In an article about her son’s death, his mother also seemed to blame her behavior on the community.

For our two-part series we asked Yogesh’s contemporaries for an honest look at their own experiences growing up in the sannyas community as children. It’s possible that only people who enjoyed their experiences were motivated to respond, but our contributors have both honest criticism and deep-felt gratitude to share about their unusual upbringings. Many of them are now parents themselves, and they share how growing up in the community has influenced their own parenting experiences.

Writers are Arvind, now a visual journalism instructor at the University of the West of England; Melania, a mother, social worker, and doula in Bodrum, Turkey; Madhav, an electrical engineer working in DVR technology in Los Angeles; Viyogini, a singer and event coordinator in France; and Urja, a devoted mother on the path toward freedom who lives in a satsang monastery in Germany.

Other feature articles include a report by Nirdosha about his recent enlightenment, and a piece by Aneesha titled "The Alchemy of Celebration."

There is also a review of Madhuri's book Love at Dancing Leaves by Prartho, obituaries for Navyo, Melissa and Rupesh, Bhagawati's very popular gossip column from Bali, Deepak's famous astrology column – and of course lots of wonderful Osho quotes.

Does this sound tempting? You can subscribe for the printed or the online version on our website.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Osho Talks on Zen


On no other topic has Osho talked more than on Zen, from early discourse series like Roots and Wings (1974) to his final talks in The Zen Manifesto in early 1989.

Even though throughout his 30 years of talking Osho commented on just about any religion or teaching, he would always return to Zen.

In the beloved series, The Goose Is Out, Osho says, “Zen is not a religion, not a dogma, not a creed, Zen is not even a quest, an inquiry; it is non-philosophical. The fundamental of the Zen approach is that all is as it should be, nothing is missing. This very moment everything is perfect. The goal is not somewhere else, it is here, it is now. Tomorrows don't exist. This very moment is the only reality. Hence in Zen there is no distinction between methods and goals, means and goals.”

Unfortunately many of the books are out of print although they are very much in demand. Here at Viha we keep getting requests for them. So it is with great joy that we can announce that we now have all 20 Poona-One Zen discourse series available in MP3 format.

We continue to expand our MP3 selection and are now working on the Poona-Two Zen series. Stay tuned!

Sourced from Viha Connection Osho magazine.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Jayapal on His Father's Passing


HAROLD SHERMAN (1910—2011)

“Jay (his tongue had an easier time with jay than jayapal), I have to do things my way.” And this was his mantra until the very end. He renewed his automobile insurance the day before the fatal heart attack at age 100. Yes, he was still driving. “His way” meant no cane, no walker, no wheelchair and just maybe an occasional aspirin. He lived alone in his small apartment-cum-artist studio until the very end and antagonized every doctor in Kalamazoo where he resided for over 35 years. He thought they were all charlatans “out to make a buck.”

When he came to Pune in 1978, hauling an electric typewriter across the ghats as requested by the ashram, I took him to M.G. Road to have an orange outfit made with which he could come to discourse. When he picked it up from the tailor he wore it proudly. Unfortunately, when he took the orange “pajamas” off at the end of the day his entire body had become orange with the bleeding dye. He did not take this as a mystical sign that he was meant to take sannyas. Rather it unleashed his considerable wrath on the unlucky tailor.

In 1984 Sheela had the idea of inviting parents of sannyasins to come live and work at the Ranch. I believe Harold was the first to take up this invitation, and, at age 74, was given half a trailer for accommodations and was put to work at Dadu as a gentleman farmer. He thrived as a target for many flirtatious lovelies and enjoyed his unique status in the commune. When he was about to be transferred to the publications department to use his artistic talents (his lifelong profession was as an artist and illustrator) Sheela and her posse left the Ranch, threw things into turmoil, sending Harold scurrying back to Kalamazoo.

He was proud of the fact that, in May of 2001, he created the first non-photographic cover for the Viha Connection with his painting of Osho. He also illustrated a hilarious series of ads for Viha, promoting my investment advisory business. Any chance he got to connect in some way with the world of sannyas he jumped at.

Few people who had contact with Harold could forget him. He could be cantankerous, stubborn, loyal and loving. As his kid I dealt with all of these moods and then some. At his core was a very fragile, delicate being who had grown up in horrendous conditions of poverty and lived a life of solitude among his paints and canvasses. I write this a few days after his passing and already I miss this bittersweet, bigger-than-life character.

May he fly weightless above the clouds.