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‘A Seam for the Master 

by Veena

THE SUCCESS OF MY FIRST BOOKLET, ‘Meeting the Master’, has encouraged me to continue writing, as it seems that many people are interested in my stories about the time I spent with Osho. ‘Meeting the Master’ was, as it says, a short account of how I came to meet Osho in 1971, before the world knew about him, and the change of direction that my life took as a result. I have just finished a second book, much longer this time, about the 12 years I spent as his tailor and hat-maker. When you, as a sannyasin, look at one of your favourites photos of him, or watch him on a video, you may have wondered about the clothes he was wearing. When hearing that I was responsible for much of his gear, many sannyasins have inundated me with questions and seem to enjoy the stories I had to tell. I think this ‘inside’ view of life with Osho and how he worked with a disciple, even through the sewing of a simple seam, would be of interest to many.

‘A Seam for the Master’ is still a small book – and quite a light-hearted one. It contains many photographs. It is, however, just a prelude to what I consider to be my REAL book which I now want to write. This will be called ‘In Search of the Full Moon’ and in it I will try to give an honest account of my life with Osho and all the events that happened around him. I was with him almost from the beginning until the day he died, and, being very close to him, I think I can give a few insights which others may not be in a position to give. I don’t plan on being ‘politically correct’.

In order to write the next book I will need to take time off work to immerse myself in the writing and I am hoping that I will be able to finance that time, in part, through the sales of ‘A Seam for the Master’. I have a successful sannyasin book designer in the United States who is keen to do the designing and printing but of course, needs to be paid. It doesn’t, however, have to happen this way.

I am not in a financial position to fund the production of this book so this presentation is an appeal to someone who might like to take on this project and see it to a conclusion. I can write, but I know only a little about the world of publishing and so would like to hand this book over to someone who is skilled in this field.

As ‘A Seam for the Master’ has many photographs in colour, I would ideally love to see it as a beautifully produced book, well designed, and printed on good quality paper. A beautiful keepsake for sannyasins. This dream may not materialise as production costs for a book of this quality would probably be too high -- so I may have to settle for a lesser option. For example, I would like the photographs to be incorporated into the text – see my amateur attempts at design in the excerpts below – but this would be more expensive than having the photographs printed on separate pages and inserted between the pages with the text. This is how books with photographs are usually dealt with in order to keep printing costs down.

Another factor is that this book will probably not have widespread appeal as it is very personal. I see it being of interest mainly to sannyasins and those already interested in Osho - perhaps a printing run of 1500 to 2000. This is in contrast to the next book which I think will be of interest to many outside the sannyasin community as, judging from the considerable interest in Tim Guest’s book, it appears that many people are interested in what Osho and his sannyasin ‘movement’ really was about. I envision ‘In Search of the Full Moon’ being produced as a regular paperback book of average cost, easy for many people to buy.

So that you can have a glimpse of what ‘A Seam for the Master’ is about I would like to give you two excerpts.

The full text consists of about 30,000 words and about 65 photographs.

If anyone has any helpful suggestions I would be very happy to hear from them. Please contact me at: veena@dircon.co.uk

Excerpt 1 – from Chapter 5:

The First Step on the Tailor’s Path

About a week later I was peacefully sipping a cup of tea when Priya appeared at my door.
‘Come quickly! Come quickly!’ she breathed.
I followed her at a trot to Lao Tzu House to find Nirvano rather white-faced. She told me that Osho had suddenly decided that morning to have a photo session and wanted me to make something for him to wear – by 11 o’clock. I glanced at the kitchen clock. It was ten to nine! My god! I had never made anything for him before and now he was giving me two hours to concoct something? My face must have been pretty white too as I followed Priya and Nirvano to the verandah outside the library where there was a cupboard with some cloth and an old sewing machine.

After Osho had arrived in Poona, a sannyasin woman had sewn for him for a while before returning to the west. There were a few bits of uninspiring cloth left on the shelf which I fingered in some dismay. Nirvano told me that Osho had said I was to make a kind of cloak with a hood – very simple! No doubt! But I had no idea of his size and I had by now less than two hours to come up with something! Osho wasn’t very tall, actually about the same height as myself, so Nirvano suggested I just use my own self as a model.

With a forehead bathed in sweat not just from the heat, I cleared a table in the library and started to cut. Priya obligingly found me a mirror and I set to work. That was probably the most focussed I have ever been in my life! Summoning all my powers of concentration and all my sewing skills I actually did manage to produce a hood by 11 o’clock.

Nirvano whipped it out of my hands and ran onto Osho’s balcony where he and the photographers were waiting.

Totally exhausted I went back to my room and made another cup of tea to sip. I was just beginning to relax and gather my scattered wits together, when Priya appeared. Again it was, ‘Come quickly! Come quickly!’

‘Oh my god, what now?’ I thought as I hurried back to the house after her. In the kitchen Nirvano this time had a cheeky grin on her face – which I was soon to learn heralded a new and impossible task for me. With a wicked giggle she told me that he had liked the hood so much that he wanted me to make another one for another photo session at three that afternoon, after his nap.

‘Whaaaat?’ I had already scraped the bottom of the fabric barrel but it seemed I had to conjure up something else. The positive side was that I had three instead of two hours to do it in! There was no piece of fabric big enough to make a single garment from, but I played around with a bit of velvet and a bit of satin, and saw that if I made the cloak from the velvet and gave the hood a wide border of satin, I could just manage. That went in just before 3 pm and this time I staggered home totally wiped out. I most certainly was not satisfied with my efforts but he seemed quite happy, so what to do. I just hoped that he would give me a bit of warning next time so I could get some interesting fabric and have the time to create something better.

He did! I was told well in advance when the next photo session would be and, as this looked like it was going to be something that might happen more often, I took care to stock up on some fabrics and to even dream up some ideas. In hindsight I think that the haste of the first session was a kind of test for me to see if I could knuckle down and come up with something with the odds stacked pretty much against me. As our spiritual journeys continued he was to create many similar ‘devices’ to help his sannyasins to push through boundaries, find strengths they never knew they had, face and overcome hurdles they never thought they could surmount, and generally trust in the ego-quashing process necessary for the traveller on the path.

Excerpt 1 – from Chapter 5:

The Disaster Dress

Another robe that I really loved was aptly named ‘The Disaster Dress’. This wasn’t a festival robe, it was just one for everyday wear, and I really liked the colour combination of the body of the dress and the striped ’wings’. I was very happy making it. In the middle of the process Nirvano appeared, looked at the fabric and said that he said he wanted to try something new! Oh dear. She explained that he wanted the dress to be cut without any ‘gathers’ around the neck as this made it a bit bulky and he wanted it more streamlined. I explained that the ‘gathers’ were absolutely vital as he could not get in or out of the robe without that extra material to ‘expand’ as he put the robe over his head and put his arms through the sleeves. Nirvano was totally aware of this and said she had explained this to him, but with that mischievous look in her eye, she said, ‘Do what he wants. If it doesn’t work it is HIS problem.’ As I said, she was a mini-Zen Master in her own right.

Well, I liked this robe and didn’t want to see it ditched. So knowing full well that it wouldn’t function according to the new master plan, I decided to cheat a little. I made it without ‘gathers’ around the neck but instead of cutting away the fabric, I made a couple of pleats which I ‘hid’ under the wings. If he couldn’t get the robe on or off – which I knew would happen – I could undo the pleats and would have enough material to re-insert the ‘gathers’ and make it wearable.

That evening the car took our Master off to Jesus Grove and there hadn’t been an anguished scream, so I really didn’t know what had happened. After he returned, however, it did seem as if Nirvano took more time than usual to emerge from his room. Finally she arrived in the living room, cracking up. She said he had got the robe on with her tugging it down all the way round but it proved impossible to get off! Both of them struggled and struggled and she said she thought she was finally going to have to come and get some scissors and cut it off him! Eventually they hit on a solution that worked. He lay on the bed with his arms stretched over his head and she peeled it off him! Very undignified!
‘It was a disaster!’ she said. ‘That’ll teach him not to listen to us!’
Then she looked at me and told me that he said he DID like the dress and it was a pity it would have to be trashed.

The next morning it came down to the sewing room to be stored for giving away, but, without saying a word, I quickly undid it, released the material I had secreted away and sewed it up again before giving it to the sannyasin doing the laundry to wash. I DID tell Nirvano what I had done and a few days later she playfully set it out for him to wear again. He was really surprised to see it and was, apparently, very happy to have it. The fabric that ‘The Disaster Robe’ was made of was very easy to take care of and was one that travelled with him to India and then around the globe. The photograph was taken in Crete where he loved to walk around and hang out with his sannyasins before the world press found him and descended on him and he had to retreat behind closed doors.

If anyone has any helpful suggestions I would be very happy to hear from them. Please contact me at: veena@dircon.co.uk