|From the Desk of Dhanyam|
First of all, I want to thank the many readers who contribute to this column. I couldn’t do this without you!
Several friends forwarded us a great news item from the BBC News Web site. Under the title “Chanting is a hit with city slickers,” the BBC reports that a phone line with a nine-minute recording of Miten and Premal chanting the Gayatri mantra has become a surprise hit with stressed-out workers in London.
Our beloved duo is currently touring the United Kingdom, and the phone line was set up as a promotion for their concert tour. The phone number appears to have gone around like wildfire, and thousands of workers have been calling from their offices to take in Premal’s lovely voice. Promoters took 3,000 calls in the first 24 hours, many from top banks. The number is linked to an answering machine, and many callers can be heard pretending to be on the phone to a legitimate caller. “You can hear people saying things like ‘Yes, I can do that’ and ‘I’ll get back to you on that.’ It’s clear they want anyone listening to think they’re on a business call,” said Benjamin Webb, whose PR firm set up the phone line. The response itself has created quite a buzz, as Miten and Premal were subsequently invited to appear on CNBC’s Squawkbox, where they performed the Gayatri mantra live in front of an estimated 80 million viewers!
Have sannyasins or Osho lovers infiltrated CNN? Shraddesh in Hawaii reports that on April 18 the guest speaker on CNN Health talked about creating an aura in order to protect yourself from others’ negative energy. What he said sounded very similar to the meditation published in the March/April Viha Connection. Could that be a coincidence? We doubt it.
Khabira, one of our worldwide mailing angels, can now add “reporter” to her resume. She writes that sannyasins in Munich recently had the questionable pleasure of an evening with Sheela. About 100 people shelled out 15 Euros (about $18) each to listen to Osho’s former secretary. Flyers had promised that she would reveal what had really happened in the Oregon Commune. Khabira says that most of the evening consisted of a question-and-answer session and that Sheela was still claiming to be the presenter of Osho’s vision, while at the same time denying any responsibility for what happened on the Ranch. When asked about the salmonella poisoning at some restaurants in the Dalles, for example, she said that it was not done by sannyasins, and that the poisonings were the result of poor hygiene in those restaurants.
Bhagawati in Bali is another reader who keeps us up to date on all kinds of juicy gossip and events. Recently she informed us that the British version of Cosmopolitan, the glossy bible of sex and shopping for the single woman, has launched a new monthly column on spirituality. Hannah Borno, the magazine’s new Spirituality Editor, wrote that she had come to the painful realization that men and shoes were not enough to make her happy. “The key to contentment lies elsewhere.” You go, girl!
It is also thanks to Bhagawati that we heard that Sarjano, Italian master photographer and cook, has published a cookbook, Food Is Home. In addition to this, Sarjano is offering a four-week cooking course, called Zen and the Art of Cooking, at his restaurant in Vagator, Goa. Good luck on that venture!
I was delighted to hear from Khirad, the man behind www.meditationfrance.com and author of the article “Zorba the Buddha in the Desert” in this issue, that three new Osho books were recently published in France, all within one month. For a long period of time no Osho books at all were published in France, so it’s exciting to hear of these new titles – all compilation books.
Nirbija informed us about a new movie, Zorba il Buddha, made by an Italian sannyasin, Lakshen, and starring “little” Siddhartha. The movie tells the story of Loris, who wants to open a disco and become a DJ, and in a key scene it features Dynamic being held in a Roman amphitheater. The movie has been presented at numerous festivals and will hopefully find its way into movie theaters this summer. Lakshen is already planning a new production: Osho’s first 21 years.
Nadeesh’s album, One Midnight at a Time, was nominated for Outstanding New Recording – Instrumental in the 2004 OutMusic Awards. Congratulations! Sabaat and his Ginga Brazilian dance troupe were featured not only in the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle (with a full-color photo), but also in a TV program on KQED, our local public TV station. The troupe was part of San Francisco’s big annual Carnaval celebration, one of the City’s largest public events, which drew about 300,000 people.
Also in the local news recently was Vinit – musician, graphic designer, and now environmental activist for sustainability. Inspired by a United Nations conference he attended in Johannesburg, South Africa, two years ago, he is organizing the Sustainable World Symposium, to be held in San Francisco in June.
Puja, an experienced home-care provider for the elderly, sent us a clipping from the May AARP Bulletin, with tips on how to get more out of your geriatric love life. They include advice on nutrition (“Eat junk food, and all you want to do is fight over the remote control.”), on making love if you have physical restrictions (“Take an anti-inflammatory 20 minutes ahead of time.”), and pleasurable positions (“Try chair sex: It’s easy on the joints.”). Hot stuff!
Our good friend Sarjan, whose paintings you can see on many walls in our house, is a passionate teacher of her art. One of her students is Tantric goddess Margot Anand. Since taking a class with Sarjan, Margot admits that she would much rather be a painter than a writer. Looks like she may have a successful career as an artist, too. She recently sold several paintings, to the tune of $8,000. “Not bad for a start, n’est-ce pas?” says Sarjan.
“Question” Maneesha’s Web site has been renamed www.activemeditation.com, and her new CD, Bubble of Joy, with beautiful music by Sambodhi Prem, is now available.
I was very happy to hear that the Easter Meditation and Celebration Event at Nilaya’s retreat center in the mountains of Mexico was a big success. Over 50 people showed up and had a fantastic time. We hope to bring you more details and photos in our next issue.
Thanks to Yogen, you can get together with other friends to do Osho’s active meditations in Marin every Monday at 6:15 pm. Yogen has rented the place that housed Harideva’s Aaah Yes center in Fairfax several years ago.
Many of our readers will remember the Osho Aloka Center in LA, which was run by Archan and Anupam. The two are now living in Long Beach, and I am thrilled to let you know that they are opening a center there. They are planning to have meditations on Sunday. You can check with them for more details at email@example.com.
If you live near Pompano Beach, Florida, or are visiting there, check out the Osho gathering held at the local Osho center on the last Friday of the month. It is followed by an all-day meditation on Saturday. For more info e-mail Unmani and Dharma at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are always happy to receive your back issues of the Viha Connection. Lately there has been quite a demand, from places as far away as New Zealand and Sweden. I am curious to know what you do with your copy after reading it. Also, we have joined the Naljor Prison Dharma Service project (www.naljor.com/prison.htm) to send Osho books to prisoners. We appreciate all used Osho books that you may want to donate to this project.
I finally found out why the publication of Die O Yogi Die, Osho’s commentaries on the great Tantra Master Gorakh, was delayed for several months: The printer in India had run out of paper!
At my local Bank of America branch the other day, I noticed that the teller was wearing gloves and asked him about that. “I’m allergic to money,” was his reply. No, I don’t think he is of the same (Jewish) faith I was born into!
In the news: Australian Treasurer Peter Costello said the government would start giving cash bonuses to women for having more babies. Every baby born after June 30 will net its mother $2,000. Costello said the measure is necessary to ensure that Australia will continue to produce enough taxpayers to support the aging population. “You go home and do your patriotic duty tonight,” he told reporters. The monetary incentive is part of an election-year budget that Australian papers have dubbed the “erection budget.”
Spring has arrived in Alaska, and the thaw now happening allows cemeteries there to begin digging graves for people who died during the winter. It never occurred to me before that Alaskan families may have to wait for months to bury their departed loved ones.
Here is some encouraging news for travelers: Singapore Airlines has announced
that its new planes will have a “corpse cabinet” for storing
the bodies of people who die on long flights. “Unfortunately, given
the space constraints in an aircraft cabin, it is not always possible
to find a row of seats where the deceased passenger can be placed,”
said a spokesman.
Desk workers beware: According to a study by the University of Arizona, computer workstations have up to 400 times more bacteria than toilets. The average office bathroom turned out to have the lowest level of germs of all the surfaces tested. The telephone had the highest bacteria count, followed closely by the desktop itself and the computer keyboard. Now I have another excuse to stay away from computers. I do love the phone, though.
Emotions are running high in Germany (and in our household) about the official sponsors for food and beer at the 2006 Soccer World Cup in the Fatherland: McDonald’s and Budweiser – exclusively! We all know how Germans love their beer and wurst, and many of them are furious. “I wouldn’t wash my car with it,” Bavarian Beer Club member Ottmar Riesing said about Budweiser. “We have a duty to public welfare and must not poison visitors to World Cup venues,” said Franz Maget, leader of the Bavarian Social Democratic Party. Frankly, my dears, I don’t give a damn about soccer, beer, or wurst, but for Avinasho this may just be the last straw that will get her to give up her German passport.
There is good news for German pigs, though: Officials in Germany’s sausage-producing North Rhine-Westphalia region have implemented measures to improve the life of farm pigs. They are required to have adequate stall space, straw or rubber mats, and designated playtime with toys. In addition, a farmhand must spend at least 20 seconds a day looking at each pig. That doesn’t sound like enough quality time to me!
Finally: Bay Area pet owners can now provide a very special treat to their companion animals: a stay at the Animal Healing Retreat and Day Spa in Oakland. An ad in the Common Ground magazine promises that at this holistic spa animals can relax, rejuvenate, and rebalance their whole beings through a combination of deep healing, hot stone massage, acupuncture, aromatherapy, and other healing modalities. Pet Feng Shui is also available. Although I love our two young cats, Rani and Nisha, and want them to have the best care, I sometimes wonder if Osho was right when He said that California is full of crazies.