Although it was never my intention to participate in six weeks of complete silence, zen monk style … I may reconsider, after five days of very dynamic meditations several times a day!! Just kidding … sort of 😗. Osho believed very much in a Zorba-Buddha existence, where pleasure and spirituality walk hand in hand. It is fun certainly and I do enjoy dancing … the whirling not so much. However there ARE at least a dozen meditation styles available, yes many incorporating vigorous movement, but completely silent sitting meditations are also available daily to suit every palate. I purchased a ‘silence badge’ from the compound shop the other day. I may use it yet 😊. I observe many here do indeed participate in silent days, hence the buttons.
The agenda above on a typical day at Osho ….
Osho International University of Mindfulness, implements some rather strict rules within the commune, ashram, resort …. 😗. I was not expecting that for some reason. I naturally presumed a more relaxed atmosphere on rules at a place of spiritual learning. Aahhh … that valuable lesson resurfaces … never make assumptions! It would hardly be the first time I have skimmed over the fine print. What surprised me is just how far the maroon ruling extends! We wear maroon robes during the day, exchanging them for white robes for the evening meeting and the evening meeting only!! … my first faux pas 😗 I walked over to the cafe after the two hour meeting hoping to enjoy a bedtime ginger tea and was told to change back into my maroon robe … the server looked horrified that I would even consider walking into the cafe wearing my white robe!! Oh vey!
(Found a fellow Finn wandering the meditation halls … born in Liperi in the township of my own birth! Never in all these years in Canada or on my many global travels, have I ever come across another Finlander born in my home turf!! Liperi is a rather tiny community!!! What are the odds …)
The ‘maroon by day rule’ also applies to the swimming pool. Only maroon suits allowed! I argued that no one would see my black swimsuit under the water while swimming and I would throw on my robe in the blink of an eye after my swim. Didn’t wash … the office manager was not amused and merely frowned at me while saying ‘no madam, absolutely forbidden 😗!!! The Ashram shop had a few teeny tiny women’s suits that may have fit my seven year old granddaughter!!! Is this why perhaps there are rarely more than two people in the pool??? … maybe there is an ulterior motive with a hidden message involved there somewhere 😗.
Off I went to the recommended Phoenix shopping mall, hailing a local auto rickshaw or more commonly known by tourists as tuk tuks. After a long harrowing ride through Pune’s chaotic road system … typically no one in India pays attention to lanes whatsoever … motorbikes, tuk tuks, cars, buses, trucks move along, all vying for an extra inch of space, weaving an interesting moving tapestry of vehicles that, incredulous as it sounds, manages to propel the traffic forward with few accidents! Horns are honking constantly … strangely, drivers rarely if ever get angry or lose their temper when cut off … it is the accepted way of driving here and only foreigners think it crazy! I breathe a sigh of relief as I finally arrive at the most grandiose modern mall, full of shops with all the globally recognized brand names!!! The middle class continues to grow in India and sadly, in my opinion, modern malls are part of that growth. No secret to anyone who knows me that I am not a fan of malls in general. I did note, there were only locals in the mall … perhaps the 5% of the population that can afford it! I was the sole tourist in sight … interesting to be the minority of one in a crowd of hundreds!
For a few hours, I was led on wild goose chases throughout the mall by kind, well meaning, helpful shop keepers including the young man manning the mall information booth!! Given I only found five swimsuits (alas, nary a maroon one in sight) in a mall twice the size of Chinook Shopping Centre in Calgary, I would surmise swimming is not yet a popular sport for women in India!!! At least I managed to get 15,000 plus steps in 😊!
Back at the ranch, as a last resort I chanced to check out the outdoor kiosk a five minute walk from Osho’s. Murphy’s law prevailed! The lady just happened to have a room behind her stall, full of maroon robes, shirts, swim suits, scarves, shawls and oh yes, women’s swimsuits in all manner of sizes!! Cashing in on the Osho maroon mania 😗. I did wonder why the office did not guide me to the kiosk in the first place?? … hmmm … being led astray by well meaning folks, who love to help foreigners is so typical of Indians. Even if they really do not have the answers to your questions, they try regardless to help! I wobble my head side to side and say to myself … ‘oh well’ 😊
The country remains one of mind boggling contradictions and this little Oasis in the muddling middle of Pune is no exception. As is my norm, I adjust.
Another rule … absolutely no photos anywhere inside the compound!!! I took a few very early one morning before I was told in no uncertain terms that it was forbidden … the grounds are so beautiful I wonder why they do not want us to share this with friends and family?? The marble meditation pyramid and silent hall are serenely stunning but alas one must go on the Osho website to view.
So yes, the rules continue to confound and annoy but I shrug them off, hoping no more rules surface to confront! Stay tuned as invariably, if there are, I will surely bump into them just as I am breaking them 😗
Maroon swimsuit in hand, I head towards the pool and spa area for a welcome break from the meditational whirling to enjoy the cool pool waters. Heaven answered my call … the ‘resort of many rules’ has a true Finnish sauna!! My faith is restored! I finish of a great swim with an even greater sweat in the sauna!!! Restoration complete 🙏