A surprise at the airport


I was at Goa airport. In the waiting room, two chairs away from me, sat a Indian couple, probably husband and wife, of a certain age; he definitely looked older than her. The woman wore an apple green sari with fuchsia pink flowers that made a beautiful, almost psychedelic contrast to her fair brown skin with a slightly coppery note.

She was tall, beautiful, but not the usual elegant Indian city woman you meet in airports; she had more the energy of a village woman, with big feet and high cheekbones, and a certain cheerful majesty rather out of the ordinary. She got up to go to the bathroom and her glasses case fell off. “Madam” I told her “you lost something” . She gathered the case, thanking me with a smile that was the quintessence of a beautiful smile, and quietly went to the bathroom. I was writing in my travel notebook and when she came back she asked me in Hindi if she could write me something in the notebook. Her gestures were clear, but I must have had a puzzled and amazed look on my face, because her husband, a smiling and tender man who until then had remained aloof, approached me to explain what his wife wanted. I immediately noticed that he was not simply humoring her, he was rather affectionately participating in the situation, as if he was already anticipating something beautiful or at least interesting. I handed her the notebook and she wrote about ten lines in Hindi which her husband then translated for me. I don’t remember everything, but they were words full of poetry telling that my face, my heart, my soul were beautiful and bright. Then he asked me to write as well and so I happily indulged in the praises of this incredibly beautiful woman, spontaneous as a child, pure essence of a joyful heart … Tears began to fall, out of the tenderness of the whole scene. And then we chatted a little longer, in words and gestures, and the husband told me they were from Jabalpur (a city in Madhya Pradesh, very close to Osho’s hometown), stopping over in Goa to visit their children in Pune. Knowing they were from Jabalpur immediately made me feel something like this: “That’s why I cry, that’s why these people are so different and special.”

When they learned that I was in Pune for Osho they were very happy and said they were also Jain (the same caste as Osho’s family) and that his wife was from the same village as Osho, Kuchwada, and that her husband had been a college student of Osho between ’60 and ’62. He remembered him as “agni”, the fire, the power of the divine. Then our flight was called and we said goodbye, still in tears, with the people around who looked at us between curious and amused, in typical Indian style, attentive, but certainly discreet!

I’m telling you this story because this meeting touched me a lot. Even before knowing that these people were originally from the same place as Osho, I immediately felt something special… It is as if a certain fragrance, a contact, even if distant and remote, with the energy of Osho pushes people to recognize each other and to pay homage in the most unexpected places and situations, without even knowing why… The magic that Osho has created is something so great and mysterious that it often leaves me breathless and speechless…

And here is a beautiful piece of Osho on an India special place and a certain special woman…

My grandmother was just fifty, at the very peak of her youth and beauty. You will be surprised to know that she was born in Khajuraho, the citadel, the ancientmost citadel of the Tantrikas. She always said to me, “When you are a little older, never forget to visit Khajuraho.” I don’t think any parent would give that advice to a child, but my grandmother was just rare, persuading me to visit Khajuraho.

Khajuraho consists of thousands of beautiful sculptures, all naked and copulating. There are hundreds of temples. Many of them are just ruins, but a few have survived, perhaps because they were forgotten. Mahatma Gandhi wanted these few temples to be buried under the earth because the statues, the sculptures are so tempting. Yet my grandmother was tempting me to go to Khajuraho. What a grandmother to have! She herself was so beautiful, like a statue, very Greek in every way.

And do you know, even at the age of eighty she was still beautiful, which is utterly impossible.

When my grandmother died, I rushed from Bombay to see her. Even in her death she was beautiful… I could not believe that she was dead. And suddenly all the statues of Khajuraho became alive to me. In her dead body I saw the whole philosophy of Khajuraho. The first thing I did after seeing her was to again go to Khajuraho. It was the only way to pay homage to her. Now Khajuraho was even more beautiful than before because I could see her everywhere, in each statue.

Khajuraho is incomparable. There are thousands of temples in the world, but nothing like Khajuraho. I am trying to create a living Khajuraho in this ashram. Not stone statues, but real people who are capable of love, who are really alive, so alive that they are infectious, that just to touch them is enough to feel a current in you, an electric shock!

My grandmother gave me many things; one of the most important was her insistence that I should go to Khajuraho. In those days, Khajuraho was absolutely unknown. But she insisted so much that I had to go. She was stubborn. Perhaps I got that quality from her, or you may call it a dis-quality.

During the last twenty years of her life I was traveling all over India. Each time I passed through the village she would say to me, “Listen: never enter a train that has already started, and do not get out of the train before it has stopped. Second, never argue with anyone in the compartment while you are traveling. Thirdly, remember always that I am alive and waiting for you to come home. Why are you wandering all over the country when I am waiting here to take care of you? You need care, and nobody can give you the same care as I can.”

For twenty years continuously I had to listen to this advice. Now I can say to her, “Don’t be worried, at least there in the other world. First, I no longer travel by train; in fact I no longer travel at all, so there is no question of getting out of the train that has not yet stopped. Secondly, Gudia is taking care of me as beautifully as you would have liked to. Thirdly, remember that just as you waited for me while you were alive, wait for me still. Soon I will be coming, coming home.”

The first time I went to Khajuraho I went just because my grandmother was nagging me to go, but since then I have been there hundreds of times. There is no other place in the world that I have been to so many times. The reason is simple: you cannot exhaust the experience. It is inexhaustible. The more you know, the more you want to know. Each detail of the Khajuraho temples is a mystery. It must have taken hundreds of years and thousands of artists to create each temple. And I have never come across anything other than Khajuraho that can be said to be perfect, not even the Taj Mahal. The Taj Mahal has its flaws, but Khajuraho has none. Moreover Taj Mahal is just beautiful architecture; Khajuraho is the whole philosophy and psychology of the New Man.

When I saw those naked  —  I cannot say “nude,” forgive me. “Nude” is pornographic; “naked” is a totally different phenomenon. In the dictionary they may mean the same, but the dictionary is not everything; there is much more to existence. The statues are naked, but not nude. But those naked beauties… perhaps one day man will be able to achieve it. It is a dream; Khajuraho is a dream. And Mahatma Gandhi wanted it buried under earth so nobody could be tempted by the beautiful statues. We are grateful to Rabindranath Tagore who prevented Gandhi from doing such a thing. He said, “Leave the temples as they are….” He was a poet and he could understand their mystery.

I have gone to Khajuraho so many times that I have lost all count. Whenever I had time I would rush to Khajuraho. If I could not be found anywhere else, my family would automatically say that I must have gone to Khajuraho, look for me there. And they were always right. I had to bribe the guards of those temples to tell people that I was not there when I was. It is a confession, because that is the only time I ever bribed anyone; but it was worth it, and I don’t regret it. I don’t feel sorry about it.

In fact, you will be surprised, you know how dangerous I am…. The guard who I bribed became my sannyasin. Now, who bribed whom? First I bribed him to say that I was not inside; then by and by he became more and more interested in me. He returned all the bribes that I had given him. He is perhaps the only man who has returned all the bribes given to him. He could not keep them after becoming a sannyasin.

Khajuraho  —  the very name rings bells of joy in me, as if it had descended from heaven to earth. On a full moon night, to see Khajuraho is to have seen all that is worth seeing. My grandmother was born there; no wonder she was a beautiful woman, courageous and dangerous too. Beauty is always so, courageous and dangerous. She dared. My mother does not resemble her, and I am sorry about that. You cannot find any proof of my grandmother in my mother. Nani was such a courageous woman, and she helped me to dare everything  —  I mean everything. If I wanted to drink wine, she would supply it. She would say, “Unless you drink totally you cannot get rid of it.” And I know that is the way to get rid of anything at all. Whatsoever I wanted she arranged… […]

My grandmother was my family, and she understood me because from my very childhood she had seen me grow. She knew as much of me as anyone has ever known, because she allowed me everything… everything.

In India, when the Festival of Lights comes, people may gamble. It is a strange ritual: for three days gambling is legal; after that you can be caught and punished.

I told my grandmother, “I want to gamble.”

She asked me, “How much money do you want?”

Even I could not believe my ears. I thought she would say, “No gambling.” Instead she said, “So you want to gamble?” So then she gave me a one-hundred-rupee note and told me to go and gamble wherever I wanted, because one learns only by experience.

In this way she has helped me tremendously. Once, I wanted to go to visit a prostitute. I was only fifteen years old and had heard that a prostitute had come to the village. My grandmother asked me, “Do you know what a prostitute means?”

I said, “I don’t know exactly.”

Then she said, “You must go and see, but first only go to see her sing and dance.”

In India prostitutes sing and dance first, but the singing and the dancing was so third rate and the woman was so ugly that I vomited! I returned home in the middle, before the dancing and singing had finished, and before the prostituting had begun. My Nani asked, “Why have you come home so early?”

I replied, “It was nauseating.”

Only later when I read Jean-Paul Sartre’s book, NAUSEA, did I understand what had happened to me that night. But my grandmother even allowed me to go to a prostitute. I don’t remember her ever saying no to me. I wanted to smoke; she said, “Remember one thing: smoking is okay, but always smoke in the house.”

I said, “Why?”

She said, “Others may object, so you can smoke in the house. I will provide you with cigarettes.” She continued to provide me with cigarettes until I said, “Enough! I don’t need any more.”

My Nani was ready to go to any length just to help me experience myself. The way to know is to experience for yourself; it is not to be told. That’s where parents become nauseating; they are continuously telling you. A child is a rebirth of God. He should be respected, and he should be given every opportunity to grow, and to be  —  not according to you but according to his own potential.

Osho, Glimpses of a Golden Childhood Chapter #4