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Protecting Osho's Samadhi

Traditional Osho Sannyasins Seek Strategy (from the Times of India, 19th August)

reporting from PUNE:

Concerned about the latest developments at the Osho international meditation resort, a large number of Osho followers are contemplating strategies to preserve and protect Osho's samadhi here. Although no precise action plan has emerged so far, some prominent sanyasins related to the resort told TOI that everyone who feels strongly about Osho's samadhi wants to ensure that differences over the matter are resolved at the earliest.

"We are still not clear what is to be done, but everyone is deeply hurt," said Swami Tathagat, who along with Ma Yog Neelam, (Osho's personal secretary), runs the Osho nisarga meditation centre at Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. Tathagat said it will take time for the details of the latest samadhi controversy to reach Osho sanyasins in various pockets of the country before a specific action plan could emerge.

Fears over the fate of the samadhi were roused after Amrit Sadhana, a spokesperson of the Osho meditation resort in Pune, categorically told TOI last week that the resort managers were against using the term "Samadhi" to describe the place where Osho's ashes have been preserved.

"We do not call it a samadhi. It is called Chuang Tzu (hall) where Osho (then Rajneesh) gave his first lectures after arriving in Pune in 1974. As per Osho's wishes, his ashes were put in an urn and buried there," Sadhana, a member of the resort's "management team" had said in an interview with this correspondent early this month (TOI, August 9).

"We are currently doing our best to preserve Osho Chuang Tzu as Osho had asked. He had said very simply, "You just put my ashes in Chuang Tzu under the bed. And then people can come in and meditate there," Sadhana said in an email interview.

Sadhana said resort managers were "not interested in opening doors to any traditional misunderstanding of his wishes," in an obvious reference to the demand that the place be accepted as a "samadhi" as per eastern traditions. Challenging the stand taken by the resort, a number of Osho followers have drawn attention to the repeated references to Osho's samadhi in a January 1990 video-recorded statement by Swami Prem Amrito (alias, John Andrew) who served as a personal physician to Osho.

Recounting his conversation with Osho just before his death on January 19, 1990, Amrito in that video, said that when he asked Osho, "What we should do to his samadhi," Osho had replied: "You just put my ashes in Chuang Tzu under the bed. And then people can come in and meditate there." Amrito again quoted Osho as saying that his bedroom "should be good for samadhi." According to Sadhana, the place called "Chuang Tzu" was Osho's bedroom and prior to that, a lecture hall where he gave his first discourses after arriving here in 1974.

Speaking to TOI from Delhi, a former spokesperson of the commune, Chaitanya Keerti said a number of Osho's followers were "suspicious" of the resort's motives in discarding the term "samadhi." "We feel that it is a long-term strategy to break the emotional link that sanyasins have with Osho's samadhi and sell or lease Pune property in future," Keerti said. Keerti emphasised that the massive properties of the resort did not belong to the few people who are controlling it but to all Osho followers who had made contributions in the past. He said that there was a feeling among Osho sanyasins that "something urgently needs to be done" to protect the samadhi.