In my teens, I begin reading one of your Darshan diaries: intimate conversations with sincere, seeking hippy types in the seventies. You coax and love and provoke, and they respond anywhere within the spectrum from woodenness to liquid gold. Life stories emerge fragmentarily and tenderly.
Then, listening to the beat-up old audio tapes that Nick lent, I heard some of the reality of your speaking. As if caressing, and yet so spacious, centred, listening, waiting, unhurried. A group of admittedly besotted seekers made their listening a meditation in itself, a heart practice, allowing the words to arrive and be felt, suspending judgement and assuming love, goodness. Likewise, your words were in no rush.
In the long pauses, the sounds of the city – rickshaws passing with buzzing engines and bip-bip horns, that beautiful bird with the ascending series of boo-oop, boo-oop, boo-oop, boo-oop to its call. And the wind or rain arriving. As I listened myself, at home in my seventeen year old, barely-formed body and soul, I was entranced.
I stop, and you speak softly, your voice with that dove-like, cooing quality of some from India – perhaps from a more constricted internal shaping of the mouth than I’m used to.
“I am having trouble with my eyes.” you say, pointing at the now-evident milky signs of cataract. “I need to go to hospital for an operation, but it is very expensive. Can you help me?”
“How much do you need?”
“Ten thousand rupees.”
I hesitate. This is a reasonable chunk of my travel budget.
A passing rickshaw driver stops and intercedes. “He is a good man. You should give him 20 rupees.”
You gesture him away discreetly.
I reach into my money belt and begin counting out the crisp brown notes.
B was on guard duty outside the side gate, sat with another under the huge, blue umbrella. The monsoon rains downpoured deliciously, with force, washing away everything. I soaked up her presence, delighting in being wanted, included.
Strong winds stirred the huge, tree-like bamboos surrounding the meditation hall. The tethered canvas roof blustered as they creaked.
The smell of spices and rickshaw fumes and open sewers mingled with the spray.
How it felt to be with another, watchfully, in silence but in togetherness. Seeing the locals pass, watching other watchers quietly taking care, protecting, as fellow-seekers flailed and gibbered and fell into silence. Then, the highly amplified voice as Osho began to talk: “Deeper! Deeper! Like an arrow, right to the very centre of your being! In this very moment, you are the Buddha!” Eyes closed, I follow.
Thoughts drift to B in the shower, making love, her waist-long hair plastering against wet skin, the water draining away in the centre of the polished concrete floor. We climb out onto the roof terrace and watch the moon.
I was a flasher, at the age of what – five, maybe? On the chunky, ash wood, varnished stairs. My kilt must have been the coolest, funniest thing, clothing item, ever, and B. a student guest of Dad’s, was going to know about it. Laughter, childish giggles, that kind of heady, somewhat forced hilarity a child can happily sustain way beyond what adults can enjoy. B. did pretty well, though – to his credit.
There’s something unique about “going commando” in a skirt. Just the freeness of feeling air and no constriction, and the sensuality of cloth brushing against skin.
In Poona, too, there was a habit of wearing no underwear under the mandated orange/maroon robes. Not everyone, but a valid choice. Of course, incredibly sexy, and a strong provocation both within and without the ashram.
The Poona ashram, hearing the night-time monsoon storms. The tree-sized bamboos creak in the wind, leaves whispering. As rain suddenly falls, the dry dust smell leaping away into damp aliveness and fertility.The “sniffers” at the meditation hall entrance have no control over this scent – only illicit perfume or hair products that might trigger Osho’s allergies.