Indian Express: Pune Newsline : December 4, 2000
BY VINITA DESHMUKH
The last time(see previous article from Nov 27), we gave you a glimpse of the raging controversy over spiritual mystic, Osho’s timing of ‘leaving the body’, in simple terms – death, in the cyberspace at ‘sannyas.net’ to be precise. Well, well, the imbroglio has further deepened with sannyasins having drawn swords to further pepper the issue, in what seems to have now opened a Pandora’s box.
This time, it is an excerpt from an interview with Australian Ma Anando, innermost member of the inner circle that runs the worldwide affairs of Osho movement. Anando was very close to Osho and she was announced after the Master’s death to be his ”medium’. Speaking to Anando was no less a person he prominent managers of the ashram today. In the interview published in the annual number of Osho Times International in Hindi on January 19, 1995 on Osho’s death anniversary, Anando clearly tells Sadhana that Osho ‘left his body’ at lunch time on January 19, 1990.
It is interesting to note that the time of Osho’s death as announced in the Osho Times was 7 p.m. The ‘White Robe Brotherhood’ congregation held the same evening announced it at 5 p.m.??
Earlier, a detailed message was posted on the web page profusely quoting from the detailed account given on the following day on January 20 by Amrito, British sannyasin and an FRCP, one of Osho’s closest disciples and his personal physician. He narrates his last conversation with the master before he left his body and clearly mentions that this was in the morning.? This prompted W M Deshpande alias Swami Utsav, a resident of Koregaon Park, to demand an explanation into the mystery of the exact date of Osho’s death from Commune management. Deshpande even wrote to the state home minister and Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal demanding an official inquiry into the mystery.
In the latest message posted on the website quoting Anando, Atit wrote: ”I refer to the annual number of Hindi Osho Times International dated January 19, 1995. Guest editor Amrita Preetam. Turn to page 36 to an article by Ma Amrit Sadhana titled (in Hindi) on the bank of the milky way. (I retain the ‘bank’ here since the milky way in Hindi is more poetically called ‘ River Ganga in the Sky’. It is an interview (by Sadhana) of Ma Anando, Osho’s medium. ”Sadhana says: ‘You were not with Him when Osho actually left the body. Only Jayesh and Amrito were there. You must have had quite a trauma when you heard the news.’…
”Anando replies: ‘Surprisingly, this did not happen. On January 19, I attended on him in the morning as usual and then Amrito took over. In the afternoon something strange happened to me. I used to have my lunch every day perched on the parapet outside Lao Tzu. I do not know what came over me that day,” ”I left the plate there and climbed the terrace of Lao Tzu. There, I went straight over Osho’s room. All trees were rollicking with the breeze and I kept watching their play. Extraordinary tranquility pervaded in the atmosphere. How would I know that exactly at that moment exactly downstairs Osho was gradually leaving the body? When I came down, I came across Jayesh. He told me in a hushed tone: ‘Osho has left the body’ ”
”Now, to put the material with us together. When Anando attended on Osho as usual in the morning, she did not notice anything amiss. Amrito took over from her and realised that Osho was leaving the body. He has a brief spell of conversation with Osho and goes out to inform Jayesh. Both return and have another and final spell of conversation with Osho before He leaves the body.
”Anando says this was happening at the lunch time. When she comes down from the terrace, Osho has already left the body. A little later, at around 3.30 pm IST (around 10 am GMT) somebody called Devon centre in England to say Osho has left the body.”
”All this weaves very well. And yet, Amrito announced in the Buddha Hall the same evening that Osho left the body at 5 pm.”
”Most other IC members and other major functionaries were informed at 5.30 pm. Neelam ad Sadhana were told at that stage. Sadhana was unable to collect herself by the time she reached Buddha Hall for the White Robe a little later. She could not hide her grief as she watched her Master’s body. Keerti was asked to inform the Press even before he could get over the shock himself. He was sobbing uncontrollably when he made the first call.
”Did Osho leave the body sometime between the noon and the lunch time? Was the exact time of His leaving the body doctored for some inexplicable reason? I hope not. But the circumstantial evidence with us is damning. What exactly is the truth?”
There was no official response from the ashram management, but a Cambridge-based sannyasin Jayen, who generally had been arguing in favour of the inner circle on the website, promptly joined issue with Atit.
He said: ”Anando says that in the afternoon (i.e. not at noon), something “strange” happened to her. Something “came over her” … perhaps she left her lunch plate behind at around 2 pm and “kept watching the trees” for several hours, transfixed by the “extraordinary tranquility” and oblivious to the passage of time … only “waking up” from this state at around 5 pm.? ”When she and others in the Ashram first heard, some time after 5 pm, they were all dumbstruck at the loss of their beloved master. Everyone was shocked, lost in tears or private thoughts, and no-one thought of applying for an international phone connection to the Indian postal authorities in order to ring some obscure school, thousands of miles away in Devon, England. (I think that would apply regardless of whether people heard at noon or 5 pm.)
”Shortly after 7 pm, Osho’s body was brought into the meditation hall. The people there stayed for the celebration (rather than going to make telephone calls), and accompanied Osho’s body to the burning ghats (rather than going to make telephone calls), where the send-off continues through the night (without phone calls). This was a one-time event in everybody’s life, no-one would have wanted to miss it for the sake of trying to make a phone call to Devon.
”Now, in those days we did not have mobile phones or e-mail. Perhaps you can tell me how easy it would have been to book an international phone call on a weekend (January 20/21) in Pune in 1990 – I don’t know this……………” (I add here – Just for a recall, the Devon bit is about Suvarna, a sannyasin who received a call at around 3 pm, Indian Standard Time (IST) at Devon, in England, to inform her about her master’s death. But Jayen feels that Suvarna has got the day of the phone call wrong, and this must have come to her three to four days later.”
By the way, it was Suvarna’s quote from a book, which stated that she received a phone call in England on January 19, 1990 (the day of Osho’s death) at 10 a.m. GMT (3.30 p.m. IST) that kicked up the controversy on the exact time of Osho leaving his body on the website sannyas.net.? Atit replied to Jayen: ”I expected you to say just that, Jayen. That Anando had a late lunch (perhaps she always has), that she spent hours on the terrace and all that. Going by your logic she must have spent three to four hours on the terrace…. ”If one goes by your logic, one has to accept a sluggish lifestyle of all sannyasins. Amrito (and later Jayesh) speak to their Master on the deathbed extensively and spent a whole day with him but tell other sannyasins only about two brief spells. Anando spends three to four hours just watching trees from the terrace. Sannyasins in England could learn about the Master leaving the body four or five days later despite the availability of reasonable good means of communication.
”If you insist on living in the world of illusion, Jayen, no one is going to stop you. You may go on arguing endlessly in support of those illusions. Beyond a point it reduces to nothing better than gibberish. You know it yourself, but for some reason you have chosen to shut your mind. So be it.
”My best wishes.”
With total silence from the ashram management on the raging cyber controversy, let us keep our fingers crossed and keep reading. By the way, last week’s message, purported to be posted by Amrito, Osho’s personal physician, who is in the eye of the storm in this raging controversy, turned out to be a fake one, states Webmaster, Mitra. Neither, the website, ‘Sannyas.net’ nor we, have received any official version of the mystery surrounding Osho’s death. Friends, I’m sure you will agree that Osho has the knack of staying in the news, even after nearly a decade after his death. And that too in issues that are hot and juicy.