18 January 2017
The flight to Kulu Manali took off from Delhi at
10.00 a.m. It had already been a full morning as
Osho had given a press conference at 7.00 a.m. in
the Hyatt Regency Hotel, in which he spared no
bones while expressing what he thought of
I had snatched a couple of hours sleep, before a
hair-raising and chaotic race through Delhi on a
lorry, with the trunks that the Indian press had
described as "silver and encrusted with jewels."
These were the very same trunks that I had packed
two nights before that had been bought at a
hardware store in the middle of redneck country.
Osho's mother, Mataji, had joined us with some of
her family, and close behind was Haridas who had
been living with us in Rajneeshpuram. Ashu,
young, red-haired and with porcelain skin and a
wicked laugh, was Osho's dental nurse, and she
travelled with Haridas and Mukta. Mukta was one
of Osho's first Western disciples and hails from a
Greek shipping family. She has a mane of silver
hair and has been Osho's gardener for many
years. I was happy to see that Rafia was travelling
with us. He had been Vivek's closest friend
throughout the last two years. He emanates a
strength that is centered deep inside and yet he is
light and playful and always ready to laugh. We
filled the plane, but the trunks would not fit and so
they were to follow – we hoped!
Aah! what joy it was to finally sit in a plane that was
taking off – nothing more to do. I looked down the
aisle of the plane and saw Osho sitting next to the
window drinking a juice. Osho had spoken so much
about the himalayas and I felt thrilled that he would
see them, and I would be able to see him looking at
them. However, these were not the romantic snow
capped peaks, this was only the foothills of the
himalayas, but still....
Hasya and Anando were to stay in Delhi and work.
Osho suspected that the government would make it
difficult for Western disciples, and there were
contacts to be made and arrangements regarding
the purchasing of property.
It was only a two hour flight, and then we were driving
along winding roads,up into the hills. The local
people we saw along the way were very poor, but
had a grandeur that the poverty-stricken souls in
Bombay did not have. They had beautiful faces that
told of mixed blood, maybe Tibetan? The property,
called Span, was about fifteen kilometers away and
the road for most of the way ran parallel with a
river, then across a rickety bridge past miles of
primitive looking stone walls, and winter landscape.
The cars suddenly turned right and we drove into a
totally different world. Here was a rather nice
looking holiday resort, with about ten stone
cottages centered around a large building of stone
with two walls of window overlooking a river. One
of the small bungalows nearest the river was to be
Osho's and the big house was where we would eat,
watch movies and shout into the telephone in many
hopeless attempts to speak to Hasya.
But there was something about the place that didn't
quite click. The management in the large house
never treated us as though we were the people
who had bought the property, and I wondered!
Maybe they didn't know that we were the new
Osho was out the next morning looking over the
property and saying to Rafia that the mountain over
the river would be purchased, and a bridge built
across to it. He walked around, hand on hip and
told Rafia of his vision of the place and its
possibilities. This touching and inspiring scenario
was to be repeated whenever Osho arrived
somewhere. Immediately, he would have a vision
of it and would be pointing to buildings and pools,
and gardens, yet to be built. For Osho, wherever
he was, was The Place.
The Indian press came to interview Osho,
sometimes twice a day, either in his living room, or
on the porch overlooking the river.
The river bed was very rocky and so the water made a
tremendous noise as it rushed past. It was a small river
though, and how anyone ever imagined an island in the
middle of it was beyond me. Osho walked each day along
the river, and past the cottages to a bench where he sat
and looked at the himalayas. Each day the approaching
snow could be seen as it covered the mountains.
Many old friends and sannyasins came to visit him and
he would meet them on his walk and chat with
them. Sometimes I accompanied him on the walk
and sat with him on the bench as the river roared
past and the pale winter sun turned the tops of the
News of Rajneeshpuram filtered in and I heard how
the American government had frozen the assets of
the commune and declared it bankrupt. Hundreds
of sannyasins were leaving the commune and
going out into the world with no money. It felt to me
like a time of war, when families and friends are
separated and lost. I had always presumed that the
commune would be there for ever, and now I
thought of all the times I had been miserable
because my boyfriend had chosen to be with
another woman. I could have used those times to
enjoy myself, if I had only known how temporary it
all was. I reflected that death would come one day,
just like the American government, and I vowed
that I would not look back and regret. There is no
time to be unhappy.
A reporter asked Osho:
"Do you feel any kind of responsibility towards your
sannyasins who have lived in your commune,
invested money, sometimes their inheritance, and
their working powers into the projects of the
"Responsibility according to me is something
individual. I can be responsible only for my acts,
my thoughts. I cannot be responsible for your acts
or your thoughts.
"There are people who have given their whole
inheritance. I have also given my whole life. Who is
responsible? They are not responsible because I
have given my whole life to them, and their money
is not more valuable than my life. With my life I can
find thousands of people like them. With their
money they cannot find another me.
"But I don't think that they are responsible for it. It
was my joy, I loved each moment of it, and I will
continue to give my life to my people, to the very
last breath without making anybody feel guilty that
he is responsible..."
Sarjano came to visit during the first week in December
and to interview Osho for a magazine. He is one of Osho's
wild Italian disciples, and quite unusual in that he has always
been able to keep contact with the magazine world with his talent
for photography and his writing, and also has spent years sitting at
Osho' s feet. To follow up on the article he arranged for a television
company to come and make a documentary about Osho.
He contacted Enzo Biagi, who represented Italy's national television.
Biagi was a well-known film maker in Italy, who had
his own show, "Spotlight."
The Indian Embassy refused to grant visas, and for me this
was the first indication that India was as unable to recognize
a Buddha as any other country. The US Attorney,
Charles Turner, had made it quite clear the US government's
intention was that Osho should be isolated
in India, cut off from foreign disciples,
restricted in access to foreign press, with no freedom of speech.
Clearly Osho's work, or message to the world, was to be finished,
and obviously India was not beyond the reach of
powerful American pressure.
Meanwhile we lived one day at a time, and my
days were filled with the laundry – which was quite
different from my set up in Rajneeshpuram! I
washed clothes in a bucket in an Indian-style
bathroom, which consisted of one tap through
which came rust-filled water. The adjoining
bedroom was where I ironed on the bed, and hung
the clothes to dry with buckets and bowls to catch
the dripping water. Osho's beautiful robes soon
started losing their shape, picking up the damp
smell of Kulu, and the whites turned brown. But I
was lucky, for within a couple of weeks the snow
would be coming and then there would be no
electricity and no water at all – only snow to melt.
Osho was often speaking to the press twice a day
and we sat outside listening to him with the
background sound of the rushing river and the thin
pale sunlight on our faces. I heard him say that,
"Challenge will make you strong." His patience with
his interviewers was immense. Many of the Indian
press would interrupt him as he was speaking, to
agree or disagree. I had never heard such a thing
and sometimes these interactions were hilariously
Neelam and her daughter, Priya, arrived from
They had been with Osho for fifteen years, since
Priya was newly born, and are beautiful women
who look like sisters. They are two of the many
Indian disciples of Osho who are a perfect blend of
East and West.
Neelam gave Osho his lunch and accompanied
him on his walk, the day that all nine of us went off
to get our visa extensions from Mr. Negi, the police
superintendent in Kulu. We had a very pleasant
meeting with him as he supplied us with countless
cups of chai and seemed very pleased to have
such a lively audience to whom to tell his stories of
tourists who had been eaten by bears. He assured
us that there would be no problem, we shook
hands and drove back happily to Span.
The next day, December 10th, I was in my room
when Devaraj came to tell me that our visa
extensions had been cancelled. I felt nauseous and
sat on the bed. How was it possible? The efficiency
of the Indian immigration office was, in itself,
worrying. I thought to myself that it must be an
urgent and serious case for them – I had never
experienced Indian authorities getting anything
done quickly. It was difficult at that time to even
make a telephone call because winter was closing
in. The weather conditions were worsening and the
plane flights to Delhi were being cancelled
regularly. Trying to connect with Hasya in Delhi had
been so difficult that on one occasion she found it
quicker to take the plane and visit us than to try
and speak on the telephone.
That same day the police arrived at Span, asked
for all the foreigners and stamped in our passports,
"Ordered to leave India immediately." Vivek,
Devaraj, Rafia, Ashu, Mukta and Haridas missed
them by minutes as they had gone to Delhi to reapply
for visa extensions.
The day before Vivek left for Delhi I heard her
talking to Neelam, telling her that Osho had said
that if we were all to be deported, then he would
come too. Vivek was asking Neelam, "Please, don't
let him follow us, because at least in India he is
Hasya and Anando had been busy in Delhi
making appointments to see officials there.
Arun Nehru was the Minister for Internal Security then,
the man at the root of this problem, but their
appointments with him were continually cancelled.
When they did see an official they were to be told
"confidentially" that we should look within our group
to see from where the trouble came. It appeared that Laxmi
had written to the Home Office giving full details of
all the foreign disciples and her words were to be
repeated to us that "it was not necessary that Osho
need foreigners to see to his welfare." It was
necessary actually, because more important to
Osho than life itself was his work, and Westerners
were needed for that. Osho was to say, "My Indian
disciples meditate, but will not do anything for me.
My Western disciples will do anything for me, but
will not meditate." I didn't understand this at the
time, but was soon to learn.
That afternoon, just before Osho was to take his
walk along the river, there was a great commotion
at the main gate of Span. I went to investigate and
the staff of Span were in a desperate struggle with
a busload of drunken Sikhs who had arrived and
were shouting aggressively about Osho and
wanting to see him.
I ran across the lawns and zig-zagged through the
cottages to where Osho was already standing on
the porch waiting to go for a walk. He was visible
from the road and I said to him to please go inside,
there was a busload of drunken Sikhs who were
becoming violent. We went inside and I closed the
curtains of the sitting room. Rain started to fall
outside and the room darkened as I looked at Osho
and he said:
"Sikhs! but I have never said anything against
Sikhs. Such stupidity! What do these people want?"
And then, as he sat on the edge of the sofa with his
shoulders hunched he said, "This world is insane,
what's the point in living?"
I had never seen Osho anything other than blissful.
Throughout jail and the destruction of the
commune he had remained untouched. He was not
sad now, or angry, just tired. He looked tired as he
sat there looking at nothing and I stood a few feet
away from him unable to move. Anything I could
have said would have been superficial, any gesture
I could have made would have been meaningless.
It went through my mind that it was his freedom to
feel like this and there was nothing I must do to
interfere. We remained frozen in our stances as the
sound of the falling rain filled the room and I felt as
though I was standing on the edge of a precipice,
looking into a dark abyss.
After how long, I will never know, out of the corner
of my eye I saw a chink of sunlight coming through
the curtain. I moved across the room and opened
the curtains – the rain had stopped. I went outside
and it was silent. The Sikhs had left.
"Osho, would you like to go for your walk?" I asked.
As we walked along the river I felt such
overwhelming joy I could barely contain myself
from dancing around him like a puppy dog as he
walked. He was smiling, and waiting near the lawn
were some sannyasins to greet him. Among them,
two old friends, Kusom and Kapil who were two of
the first people to take sannyas, with their grownup
child, who Osho had not seen since he was
born. He touched the boy lovingly and chatted in
Hindi to them for a long time. I was walking on air.
This was the first day of my life, everything was so
new and fresh.
Since that day whenever I feel surrounded by
darkness and hopelessness, I stop still and wait. I
At night I would read to Osho. I read the Bible to
him, or rather The X-Rated Bible, by Ben Edward
Akerley. It was a newly published book that
consisted of three hundred pages, untampered
with, straight out of the Bible. These pages are
pure pornography and it is one of the biggest jokes
to me that probably even the Pope does not read
the Bible, otherwise he would freak out.
When we left Rajneeshpuram everyone in our
small group left their jewelry behind for sale. Osho
had given me a necklace, ring, and watch, and
looking at my naked wrist in Kulu one day he asked
me where my watch was. A few days before,
Kusom and Kapil had given Osho a gold chain
bracelet as a gift, and he told me to go and get the
bracelet from his bedroom table, it was mine. I was
touched, because he also did not have anything,
and this was the first gift he had received since he
left everything behind in America. He said that,
"Please don't let Kusom see, because it may upset
her." My eyes filled with tears when he then went
on to say that, "One day, when we settle, I will be
able to give everyone a present."
I saw the police arriving one morning, and as they
entered the manager's building, I ran to tell Osho,
and with a great flourish I announced their arrival.
"What are they here for?" he asked.
"Oh, they are just more players in the drama," I
said with a theatrical wave of my arm.
He looked at me in a way that told me he definitely
did NOT need an esoteric answer from me. He
wanted to know what was really happening, so
feeling a bit foolish I ran to Neelam to get the bad
news. We had to leave – now.
The police left and Asheesh, Nirupa and I packed
our bags. We would be in time for the plane to
Delhi. I went to say goodbye to Mataji, Osho's
mother, and Taru, and all the family. I wept so
much I was a little worried that I had overdone it
and upset Mataji. This felt like goodbye forever.
Before approaching Osho I looked at him for a few
minutes. He was sitting on the porch, with the
himalayas in the background, peaks now covered
in snow. The robe he was wearing had always
been one of my favorites; it was dark blue and one
of the few that really washed well. his eyes were
closed and he looked far, far away. I had been here
before – deja vu – the disciple leaving his master in
the mountains. It was all so familiar as I touched
his feet and rested my forehead on the ground. He
bent down and touched my head, and with tears
streaming I thanked him for everything he had
given me. I said goodbye and dragged my numb
body to the car and we drove away. As we drove
out of the gate I turned my head and looked back.
Two hours later we were at Kulu airport and with
more tearful goodbyes we approached the plane
carrying our suitcases. The pilot from the Delhi-
Kulu flight handed us a letter that Vivek had given
him in Delhi, telling us that they had not got the
extensions arranged, but as it was a weekend
(today was Friday), then stay with Osho until
Monday. Anyway we had until Tuesday officially to
be out of the country.
We drove straight back to Span and I was in
Osho's sitting room, my drama of a few hours
before light years away. He woke up from his
lunchtime nap and walked in:
"Hello Chetana," he chuckled.
The police arrived again and were furious with us.
They had seen us at the airport and wanted to
know why we did not get on the plane. Were we
trying to trick them? Neelam, with enough charm to
stop a hurricane, explained the situation. It was the
weekend; the plane was gone; the roads were full
of ice; anyway, we couldn't leave India today, etc.
They stormed off and said they would be back in a
few hours but they didn't return.
Osho spoke about going to Nepal, and Indians do
not need a visa for Nepal, so it would be easy. His
work would not grow here in the back of beyond
with only a few devotees, who would love him and
take care; but it wasn't for him to just live happily
ever after with a few disciples. His message had to
reach hundreds of thousands around the world. He
said in Crete a few months later:
"In India I told sannyasins not to come to Kulu
Manali because we wanted to purchase land and
houses in Kulu Manali; and if thousands of
sannyasins had started coming, immediately the
orthodox, the old-fashioned people would have
started freaking out. And the politicians are always
looking for an opportunity...
"Those few days that I was not with my
sannyasins, not talking to them, not looking in their
eyes, not looking at their faces, not listening to their
laughter, I felt undernourished." (Socrates poisoned
again after 25 Centuries)
Thus began a few days which I am sure Asheesh
will never forget. The message had to get to
Hasya, Anando, and Jayesh, who had now joined
them in Delhi. They were to make arrangements for
Osho to go to Nepal. The telephone wires were
down, there were no planes at the weekend, and
that meant a twelve-hour journey by taxi for
Asheesh to take the message, receive an answer
and come straight back. The roads were
hazardous with ice and snow falling so thick that
many roads were completely blocked. The distance
between Kulu and Delhi is seven hundred
The first night Asheesh took off in the car with
instructions such as, "make contact with the
cabinet ministers in Nepal." One was in fact a
sannyasin and it was said that the King read
Osho's books. But we didn't know at the time the
full situation, and that is that the King had a brother
who was wicked and in control of the army, the
industries, and the police.
Asheesh reached Delhi at 6.00 a.m., had breakfast
and was back in Kulu in the early evening. Ah Ha!
Another message. Find a house in Nepal – a
palace on the side of a lake.
Asheesh ate a quick supper and told us how the
fog had been so dense on the road that it had been
necessary for him to get out of the car and walk in
front to avoid the driver going into a ditch. He then
took another taxi to Delhi, and returned the next
day with a reply, but he was staggering a little and
bleary eyed. On this trip the car was lost in the fog,
and when Asheesh explored his surroundings, he
was in a dried up river bed. Silhouetted against the
moon, that broke through the clouds for a moment,
were three camels.
He could not sleep in the taxi, and now it was two
nights and days that he had not slept. One more
message, very important. Asheesh was delirious.
He staggered out into the cold night with his
missive and was back again just in time to catch
the plane to Delhi with Nirupa and I.
Driven by extremely demanding situations,
Asheesh blooms. When in Poona he had worked
all day and all night without a break making a new
chair for Osho, it was said by Osho that he
(Asheesh) had a psychedelic experience when the
chair was completed.
Asheesh, Nirupa and I touched Osho's feet, said
goodbye and left Span, once more.
The police escorted us to the plane and on arrival
in Delhi we met up with the rest of our group in a
small hotel. Vivek, Devaraj and Rafia were to fly to
Nepal first and look for the palace. We were to
follow the next day and stay in the commune in
Pokhara, about one hundred and eighty kilometers
A few days later Hasya's visa extension, which had
been granted without any trouble a few weeks
before, was cancelled and police called at her hotel
and took her to the airport at the point of a gun.
The Calcutta paper, the Telegraph, of December
26th, 1985, reported that: "The government has
imposed a blanket ban on the entry of Bhagwan
Rajneesh's foreign followers into the country." It
went on to say that the decision had been taken by
Arun Nehru of the Union Home and External Affairs
Ministries. In addition, Indian embassies and
foreign regional registration offices had been
instructed not to grant visa extensions to any
foreigner "if he or she was identified as a follower
of Bhagwan Rajneesh. Such a person would not
get any visa, even as a tourist." To justify the
government's action, it was suggested that
Bhagwan was a CIA spy!
A very tired Asheesh, Nirupa, Haridas, Ashu,
Mukta and I were at Delhi airport about to board
the plane for Nepal, when one of the officials saw
that I was missing one of the many papers that had
been issued us by the authorities. He said that I
couldn't leave the country! I pointed to the page in
my passport that read: "Ordered to leave India
immediately," and asked him what the hell was he
talking about, and if he didn't stop messing around
I would miss my plane. He then called everyone
back from the exit lounge, wrote our names down,
let everyone go again, but kept me. He had by now
called in three other officers and I was reeling with
the insanity of the situation.
I was carrying a rose that I intended to place on
Nepalese soil as some kind of symbolic offering. I
gave him the rose, he took it, and with great
embarrassment, laid it down quickly on his desk
and told me to go.