Happy Birthday Samaroha

the long and short history of Osho in Vancouver

by Sw Prem Abhi

o say that Samaroha, the Osho Meditation Centre (OMC) of Vancouver, is one year old is both true and false. But instead of turning this contradiction into a Zen koan, I will present you with facts that will help you enjoy the delicate balance of yet another contradiction of Life.

I have been in Vancouver for merely six years and of course, sannyas history reaches waayyy back in time; probably to when I was still in Kindergarten biting my poor teacher's hand trying to end my schooling career right then and there.

Fortunately life has showered generously. I am still attending school, although I have been repeating Grade One for six years now and the OMC is up and running, although it's probably moved at least six times since its inception.

Ok now, what does the
old guard have to say?

For the following section I revert to accounts from Darpano, Vishram, Veda, Satgit, Prem, among others to shed some light onto the earlier days of Samaroha history.

The first sannyas activities recalled in Vancouver are from the early 1970's. Kundalini meditation was done on Jericho beach by thirty people or so. More and more gatherings were organized and the first centre was opened. Its name was Arvind – meaning Lotus in the Mud. In 1981, with the closing of Poona One and the opening of the Ranch in Oregon, Vancouver became a hub for sannyasins moving to and from the Ranch, or simply leaving India to return to the West. Arvind was relocated in a rental space at Main and Broadway and a new centre leader was sent from the Ranch. Many communal houses were organized. They were very connected, meeting often and sharing tasks. In 1983, Arvind moved again, this time to Macdonald and 16th. For a few years, this was a thriving location with many happenings and much sannyasin traffic. But in early 1985, Rajneeshpuram asked for the centre to be closed down. Later that same year, the Ranch collapsed. Many in the Vancouver sannyas community went into shell-shock and the recollection of events for that period is sparse.

In 1987, we saw the first incarnation, or should we say reincarnation, of Samaroha, a Sanskrit word meaning..., meaning..., … It seems nobody around here knows or remembers. After some research, I found that it means Celebration. Very à propos. Samaroha opened in Mandala House but only for a brief period and closed again.

The Centre reopened in 1988, this time in Romantica House. A dusty Samaroha certificate was found in the basement of Mandala and given to the Centre, and the name came to life again. There were many satsangs and groups in this beautiful space. One highlight of this incarnation of Samaroha was the celebration of Osho leaving his body. The gatherings then were high in energy and deep in meditation. In 1992, the owner sold the house and Samaroha went into silence again.

And now, enter
the young guard…

After coming back from Poona that same year, I felt an impulse to support the reopening of Samaroha. A few of us enthusiasts gathered to try to make something happen. Community meetings were held, many ideas shared, yet somehow the timing for a new Samaroha was not right.

In early 1995, I still wanted a home to offer Osho's presence in Vancouver. I felt that our previous efforts lacked focus and direction. It became clearer to me how Samaroha could be revived.

What I did not know at the time, was that two friends, then in Poona, were riding on the same wave. When they returned, we had already advanced our plans to reopen the centre, while they had made all the necessary contacts in Poona. Onward we went!

So on the weekend of April 22, 1995 we brought back to life the Samaroha Osho Meditation Centre in Mandala House. We held a two-day house embellishment party; a potluck dinner with all the flavours of India; a drumming and dancing evening; Vipassana meditation and a satsang to live music. Celebrating spirits, transformations and meditativeness; all bathing in exhilarating energy … Osho's aroma was permeating the air.

A year has passed and the OMC has experienced peaks and valleys. There have been moments of deep meditation, celebration and sharing, with several satsangs and meditations to live music, an Open House, weekly meditations, Osho discourses on videos and visitors from Poona such as Vedant and Asanga. At other times there were few vibrations and the OMC was not much more than a listing in the phone book.

The young guard
comes of age.


As a co-ordinator of the OMC, I have also travelled those same uneven landscapes. I have questioned the meaning of the low points and at times worried when Samaroha was dormant. I will spare you the details of my neurosis on this matter by never releasing my 500-page book entitled: "How I Personally Feel Responsible when the OMC Doesn't Appear to Work Perfectly" – possible publisher: the Vatican Press. These moments were certainly the valleys of my experience.

I felt the peaks when I surrendered to the moment. Times when, from the heart, I stopped trying to understand the apparent paradox between organizing events and letting everything just be. With this awareness, I understand that there are no goals here. After all, Samaroha is nothing but a proposal to existence. It will continue or it will fold as it has done in the past.

There have been also special occasions that really stand out for me; the house embellishment day during the opening weekend, the duo-playing of Zen music for meditation with Namateet, Asanga's breath of love and meditativeness, and this year's Osho death celebration when sixty or more voices and hearts sang the song "Nothing Is Said." – for me nothing more can be said about these moments but pure joy!

When looking back at this first year, something appears to be somewhat out of context: me. Abhi – the OMC co-ordinator and community event organizer? Yes, in recent history I have been associated with creating and supporting many events. But this has certainly not been the story of my life. In fact, when I was last in Poona, I received a surprisingly accurate palm-reading session. But when the reader predicted that I would be intensely involved in creating, organizing and supporting sannyas events back in my community, I laughed it away as this was totally out of character for me at the time.

So what happened? Why am I into it all? I have had a long-time desire to be amongst a groovy, vibrant and heartful community. Also, my experience of Osho's vision has quenched an old thirst for profound wisdom and inspiration from a fellow traveller. Yet, for me the true answer lies beyond words. I am left with the simple joy of giving to the community as a way of expressing appreciation for what I have found; a community to share with and a Master to take me deeper into meditation.

Looking back into it all, I see and thankfully celebrate a big leap forward in self-confidence, in new abilities and life experiences. They are beautiful reminders of Osho's vision – to go beyond personal boundaries and limitations of the moment and to take the jump into the unknown and unexplored.

There you have it. With deep appreciation, Happy Birthday Samaroha!

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