Where will you run away in an earthquake?

 Can you run faster than a tsunami? 

By Swami Anand Kul Bhushan 

A long time Osho disciple, Ma Yog Manju recalls a story Osho told in one of his Hindi discourses about a Zen master who was having dinner with his disciples when a major earthquake struck. As everything shook and swayed and things began to fall all over, the disciples quickly ran to another room and some dashed outside in the open. But the Zen master sat still where he was and closed his eyes. After a few minutes, the earthquake was over and the disciples began to tiptoe back to where the master was sitting in silence. When they asked him why he did not run away, he replied, “Where can you run? The earthquake is everywhere – in this room, the next room and even outside. So the only place you can escape is inside yourself. And that’s what I was doing.”

“Manju, you will have an earthquake in your life,” said Osho. Osho related this Zen story in response to her question in the series ‘Ami Jharat Viksat Kamal’ in the 1970s. Osho said after sannyas, she will have an earthquake in her life. So the only place for her to escape was by going inside with meditation.

After the Japan disasters, Manju said, “I was instantly reminded of the Zen story that Osho said answering my question. Where will you run away in an earthquake? How fast can you run? Can you run faster than a tsunami which travels faster than a jet? The only way is the way inside.

“It was nothing less than an earthquake after I took sannyas in 1972,” she recalls, “My mother, my uncles and some friends were present during that discourse that day. After sannyas I really had a big earthquake in my life. Osho said no one will accept you as you are like Meera who lost everything for Krishna. My family, my friends, my home… I lost it all.”

“After sannyas, many storms and earthquakes have come into my life. Everything and everybody around me changed as I changed. My immediate family, my home, my relatives and friends all changed. We moved to Pune to be with him and then my husband battled with cancer until he left his body. My children moved away. Now I live by myself and all I have is my master and meditation.”

She says, “To survive these earthquakes, all I had and still have is meditation. You cannot start meditating when the earthquake strikes but well in advance before it strikes so that you are aware and prepared to remain still when everything around you starts to collapse.”

It all started with a carton of books. Settled in Nairobi, Manju used to take a carton of books to read on her return to Nairobi. As she travelled by ship, she had a big carton of books from the list she gave to the bookseller. When she came to collect it, the bookseller said he had included four books by a revolutionary author as there was some space in the carton. On board the ship, she started to read the new author and was so engrossed in these books that she never came out on the deck until the ship’s stewards asked her if she was unwell!

As the ship sailed towards East Africa, Manju wanted it to go back to India so that she could meet the author. But she had to wait for four years until 1968 when her family went touring India in a car. She managed to get the address of this author in Jabalpur from the booksellers but when she went there, she found that Osho had moved to a new location. She persisted and found his new address and met him. At that time, Osho was lecturing and touring India and he invited her to attend one of his meditation camps. She took sannyas during one of them in 1972.

Then she shuttled between Nairobi and Pune to take care of her family and be with her master. A couple of years later, her husband and three children also took sannyas. She started Anandneed meditation centre at her home in Nairobi. “I moved to Pune later on and also went to Rajneeshpuram in Oregon for eight months. After it was dismantled, I returned to Pune and was here when Osho returned to this city, she recalls, “It’s been a long journey and my master and meditation enabled me to face many earthquakes of my life.”

* Published in print edition on 18 March 2011

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