Poona, Europe and Beyond...

a journey on three continents

Excerpts from an interview with Ma Anand Kamal

fell in love with Osho when he left the body. I arrived in Poona five days before he left his body and I saw him in Buddha Hall three times. He was very graceful, very beautiful, very fragile, like a leaf in the wind. But I didn't feel to take sannyas at that time.

On January 19, 1990 I was not in Buddha Hall. I was at home, sick. I heard that Osho had left the body, so I ran to the ashram. They were bringing his body out when I got there. Everybody was going to the Burning Ghats. I followed people in the street and slowly slowly I went back home.

That night I decided to take sannyas. It was just an energy that I felt. I felt all this love, all this peace, this silence. And in the morning I went to the Burning Ghats to see the ashes.
Sannyas Celebration was happening that day. I went to the office and begged to take sannyas but they said no, you have to wait a week. I cried, I was so disappointed.

All that week I was waiting for sannyas, I went to White Robe every night, just sitting there meditating in the presence of so many people. And somehow I had the feeling that Osho was dissolved in everybody there. It's difficult to describe but I could feel it in my cells somehow, in my body – he really touched me deeply. I saw all these people laughing and crying and all this energy in the ashram. My skin was just shivering. All this love between people – I never saw that before.

We were 75 people when I took sannyas. I'd been worried about what new name I would get, but was very happy with my name: Anand Kamal, meaning Blissful Lotus. Just being there at that time was the most beautiful experience in my whole life.

It was difficult for me to come back to Canada after tasting such a powerful experience. I didn't stay long. In 1991, I moved to Europe with my boyfriend who was German.

I moved first to Germany. Cologne has the second-largest sannyas community in the world after Poona. We were probably close to 2000 sannyasins there – not only Germans but people from everywhere in the world, especially Spain and Italy. We had a big centre, two discos, two vegetarian restaurants, a computer company, a travel agency and a bookshop.

I lived in a communal house and worked in the travel agency. I had never touched a computer before, I didn't speak two words of German, I was French-speaking and knew only a little English. But somehow they had enough trust, enough love, to let me be there. It was really amazing – I just walked in and talked with them. We had a meeting together and they liked me and said, why don't you try to work with us – this just doesn't happen in the world. I worked with them for almost two years. Basically I learned to work in English but sometimes I had to face German customers who wanted me to speak their language. I stayed there because I felt so supported. I wasn't the only one who didn't speak German. There were 15 of us working there, including an Indian, an Italian and a Dane.

After that I cooked for groups in sannyas centres in France, Belgium and Italy. Potential jobs in centres all over Europe were posted on the information board in Cologne. So you could always go to Cologne to see which centres needed people. I cooked for two months in France, then cooked and helped to run a centre for ten months in Belgium. But it was in a centre in Italy that I first experienced meditation.

The centre was in Tuscany, on the west coast of Italy, a place lost in the country, very wild. I was very much connected with nature there, very much connected to the earth. After just splitting up with my boyfriend, it was perfect for me to have this place to be more grounded to come back to myself. I lived a life of dedication in that centre, waking up very early in the morning, doing Dynamic Meditation or going to the beach and meditating there. Then I cooked two meals a day for 15 - 40 people. After three months my back started to hurt and I said it's just too much and they found someone to help me.

Every night we had White Robe and for me that was sacred. Meera and Sagarpriya, who are very old sannyasins, were there leading groups, and to sit with them in meditation was really beautiful.

It's very difficult to describe but when I sat with Sagarpriya I really felt like something was resting inside. I really touched that space for the first time in six years of being a sannyasin. I'm very grateful to her.

I came back to Canada in October 1995. My dream was still to be surrounded by sannyasins because I cannot live without them – but I wanted to taste the world. To live with sannyasins is very nourishing for me. I need that to grow. Even though I lived with them all these years, this is the first time I feel so open to people, so close to people. I think that maybe it's not because of the country or the place but more my opening inside. I feel grateful to live in this communal house in Vancouver with such beautiful sannyasins and to share with them every day.

I'm looking forward to work in the world but I can see it's not easy because I've been in the sannyasin world for so long, protected somehow in centres. Every day I try not to think about the next months. It's day by day, moment to moment – this is the quality we have in this house. It's a very crazy house with so many people coming in and out. We have Mulla Nasrudin for a name and this is not an accident I feel.

I don't know what's next. We are like white swans. I know with Osho we always move, we always go on the road, but I'd like to be for a while in Vancouver. I feel so happy to have my own room and to be doing my own thing. Here it's communal but I can also be an individual with my own life. There is energy to create a lot in Vancouver I feel. The Buddhafield Fair is just an example of that. In Europe I've done many Fairs, but this will be my first experience with sannyasins. And I think it's very beautiful to have an Osho taste to that.

I'm grateful to Osho, but there was a time when I was angry towards him, very angry. There were times on the path with him when I thought it would have been easier for me to be married with four kids than to dig so deep into myself. There were times when I thought it's enough, I really have enough with him. But somehow I was always coming back. And I cannot go backwards now. I just go deeper with him.

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