November 22nd we made the first of our road journeys into deepest India in a convoy of three luxurious SUVs arranged courtesy of Ganga. Needless to say, the state of the roads make travelling arduous.
Our destination was the Osho ashram in Jabalpur, city in which Osho lived as a young man, lecturing at university and where he became enlightened. We pulled up just as the most vicious mosquitoes woke up and got busy. The atmosphere at the ashram was stagnant and the place felt neglected and unloved - time for a short moment!
Next morning we rose early for meditation on Osho's rock - the loveliest spot in the ashram without a doubt - really beautiful energy and we remarked that often the real energy centre of a given site is tucked away out of sight.
From there we travelled to Osho's enlightenment tree,an unassuming Manjushri tree now located in a children's amusement park. We paid the two rupee entry fee and proceeded to the centre of the park. The tree is located on an island surrounded by a moat. On arrival the door to the bridge across the moat was locked and we duly waited
for the key to be brought before approaching reverentially. Wow! Eyes closed, I was flooded with the bliss that is of course always available, that is in fact our true nature. Rooted in the ordinary, the extraordinary! In her book, 'Neptune'. Liz Greene gives the chart for Osho's enlightenment day, 21st March 1953 and the planets were certainly indicative. Tears well up and overflow as I hear Osho say with his distinct idiosyncratic pronunciation of the diphthong, 'Share my joy!'
From there we head off to a Yogini Temple. The walls of this temple are round and around the circumference stood some 140 yoginis, long since sadly defaced, breasts, faces and sometimes whole torsos lopped off. But the main draw is the rare and exquisite shrine of Shiva and Shakti riding Nandi (pictures of which are strictly forbidden). We sit and meditate within the shrine awhile.
We take luncheon at a nearby hostelry from where we admire the famed marble rocks and river glinting in the sunshine as we wilt in the heat.
In the late afternoon we go down to the river for puja. Hurry, hurry, off we scurry it was like that..Standing in a line on the shore, we take it in turns to raise a large metal candelabra with fire flaming in various sockets. Raising it to the sky,we then spin it around in a circle. We bring fire to water and salute the setting sun. Then we get into a boat and set off for a ride to put our little prayers into the river and watch the flowery flames dance. At the last moment, just as the boat is about to depart, a beautiful baba appears and jumps aboard radiating a sweet energy.
Later that evening we go out on the river once again for a more extended boat trip. Through the canyon silently we glide as the bluish moonlit gleaming marble holds its secrets and whispers mysterious glimmers of feminine knowing. As Osho says, 'Darkness is one of the greatest mysteries of existence.. is a much deeper phenomenon than light is. Light comes and goes - darkness remains.'
The boat is moored and we clamber up to meditate on the rocks, spending nigh on one hour. During this time, despite the undeniable beauty of my surrounds, I struggle to maintain stillness. Body is uncomfortable and I am tired.
Then the return, during which we hear an owl call. Sarita replies very convincingly and he is hooked, hooting dialogue between human and owl is established - it is a joy to eavesdrop on this exchange. As the boat nears the small port, Sarita, wooer of owls, says, 'Goodbye my love' with a final toowittoowoo - ah, a golden moment to round off the day!
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