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Vishrant took sannyas with Osho Rajneesh in 1983 and met him two years later for a press interview.

In this heartwarming interview with Swaram from the Love Osho Podcast, Vishrant talks about how sitting in front of his spiritual father radically transformed his life, from a successful businessman into a sincere seeker of truth, heart and enlightenment.

Enlightenment occurred for Vishrant in May 1999 and like Osho, he is a light for others to find true self and dedicates his life to helping people raise their consciousness levels, live The Way of the Heart and realise their true nature.

*** NOTE: Interview starts at 6:37


Swaram
Vishrant, welcome to the show. How are you?

Vishrant
Very well, thank you.

Swaram
Okay, excellent. So to start, tell us a bit about how you came across Osho.

Vishrant
Okay. It goes way back to 1978, when a friend of mine told me that he had taken sannyas and gave me some audios to listen to. At that particular time, I was very arrogant. I was a publisher and I listened to the audios and I just couldn’t believe he’d got into what he got into. And so, I rejected them outright. And he remained my friend but from a distance.

I was in Fremantle, in West Australia and I got involved with going to a vegetarian restaurant called ‘Zorba the Buddhas’. And of course, that was run by what was called ‘the Orange people’ back then. It was really nice food, so I regularly went there for lunch and got to say hello to different people wearing orange, wearing beads, wearing flowing robes, long hair, a lot of hippies, and I was a businessman wearing a three piece suit, but they were friendly and they liked to party, they liked to celebrate life and I was attracted to it.

So, I ended up enrolling in a group that was run by a man called Indivar. And Indivar was the guy in charge of things down in Fremantle as far as bringing new people in and psychology and running groups. And eventually, I did this group. During the group, it was the funniest thing because I had been doing encounters already for nine years and of course, most of Osho’s groups were encounter groups, this was another encounter group and during the group, I had a vision. I’d never had visions before and I haven’t had very many since, if any, but in this vision, I was looking down a great big water pipe. At the end of the pipe, I could see this little man. And when I looked closely, he was an Indian man and he was calling me. When I looked closer, I saw it was Osho. And so, I decided to come.

I applied for sannyas, against the wishes of my fiance, strongly against the wishes of my fiance. So, she went on a trip around the world, she had already planned that, and while she was away, I applied for sannyas and got sannyas from Osho. And I was given the name Prem Vishrant, meaning ‘Restful Love’, or ‘Relaxed Love’, one way or the other, and I didn’t tell her when she got back, but I said: “Look, why don’t we go around the world again? I’ll take you and I’ll pay.” And she said okay. She didn’t know that we were heading to the ranch. This was 1983 and we took off together and I wasn’t wearing my mala or my colours yet. And when we got to New Zealand, I put my colours on and my mala on and said: “Look, I’ve taken sannyas with Osho.” Well, that trouble I got into, you have no idea!

I was already in love with Osho. I was so in love with this beautiful man who spoke such wonderful words of wisdom. And as a businessman, it was just so unlike me to be like this. So, it shocked her to her marrow. And we got to America and still, she didn’t know that we were going to the ranch because I didn’t really have the courage to tell her.

So, we went down to Mexico from Los Angeles first, and we got to Mexico and I went to a bullfight, of all things. I got to see them torturing this bull in an arena and I went: “I can’t be here. I can’t watch this,” and I said: “Look, this is just cruelty. We’ve got to get out of here.” And so we got out of Mexico, and instead of actually going back to LA and then across to New York, we went all the way up to Portland, Oregon by plane, to the hotel in Portland, Oregon. And she got so angry with me. She got so angry that she assaulted me in the hotel at the foyer in front of other sannyasins and they asked her to leave. That was very upsetting because she was my fiance. But I was so in love with Osho, I was going to go and see him. And so she said: “I want to go back to Australia.” So I gave her money and said, “You go back to Australia and I’ll see you when I get back there.” And I gave her the money, I gave her all the tickets, everything that she needed and she left. And I went on to the ranch.

Two days later, she walks up at the ranch as well. And we did, I think, four months of groups there, four months of different types of groups with Teertha, who was there at the time. He was my favourite therapist at the time, because he was one of these guys who could see me, because I was pretty businesslike and he was willing to tell me what he could see. And I was really happy about that because I wanted someone to show me what I was like, and he was the guy. So, he was my number one man there. And Osho would come out every day and he’d do Satsang. And he wouldn’t talk, he would just sit there in silence. This is 1984. And we’d sit there in silence for two hours, three hours on the marble floor and just be there with him for that time, and then he’d do it again at night time: Darshan. And so we did that. And during the day, we did groups, we did encounter groups, had vegetarian food, had good accommodation, loved it, came back to Australia and it changed my whole life.

That wasn’t the last meeting though, that was the first meeting. There was another meeting after that. And that was in 1985 when I decided to go back again. And that was a very different meeting because Osho was now talking. And I got to say hello to him. I was already a journalist in Australia, I had a publishing company and I produced suburban newspapers and periodicals. When I got to the ranch, the national guard were threatening to come over the border line, the boundaries, because they saw that there was something happening at Rajneeshpuram that the government wasn’t happy with. So I rang up the New York Bulletin and told them that I was a journalist from Australia, would they like to hire me as a freelance journalist to have a look at what was going on at Rajneeshpuram and interview Osho? And so they said yes and they sent a text or some kind of message to the press office at Rajneeshpuram.

And I was employed as a journalist and I got a press card. And because I had a press card, I had two interviews with Osho. That was the most amazing, amazing event of my life. Because I had never experienced talking to a man and having my mind stop. I started asking the questions and I couldn’t read. I couldn’t think. All I could do was read one word at a time. I had no idea what the previous word was, and I had no idea where the next word was going. My mind was just locked in silence. But I read the words, he answered the question. And I started to read the question again, he had given me an answer. And he leant forward and he said: “You’re not listening to me.” And it’s like: Wow! It just blew me back in my chair. My mind just went: Wow! And from then on, I don’t remember anything that happened during the interview. I had to watch a video of it afterwards to see what happened. But that was my first experience that he wasn’t just a man, that he was a Buddha and he had a buddha field that could blow your mind away and that changed my whole life. Within two years of that, I’d walked into my publishing company, which was a very well-to-do company and gave it to my staff because I decided I wanted to find my heart. Because as a businessman, I wasn’t in touch with it. And I knew it was there, because I had experienced it with Osho. I knew there was love there but because I was so closed and so defended as a businessman, so warlike as a businessman, I was out of touch with it. My company had been going for 10 years and it had 35 staff members. I walked in and gave my company to my staff members as a gift. I didn’t want someone else taking it over and maybe sacking them because a lot of them had been with me for 10 years and they were very loyal. I took my shoes off and I walked around Australia for four years, in search of my heart.

“This is why I call him my spiritual father, because he initiated this undoing and the satoris and this way of being in the world that was totally different to how I was before.”

And I found my heart. I had a heart awakening. But before that occurred, just before that occurred, I had been in Italy with Paul, with Teertha, doing a five month retreat with him. And when I came back, I was self enquiring, using the Zen methodology, walking along the foreshore asking the question: “Who am I?” And during this time, I discovered that I was nothing. But it wasn’t just a discovery of being nothing. It was a discovery of being the universe. And when I came back from that space of knowing self as truth, my whole life was over as a businessman, my whole life had finished because I was only interested in enlightenment now. I was only interested in truth. The motivator had created such a thirst inside of me that I was willing to give my companies away and find my heart and find truth. And so, I walked around Australia for almost four years hitchhiking, basically as a bum. And it was so, so much fun. Because I finally found out that people liked me for me, rather than just for all the money that I had when I was a businessman. And it was because Osho had somehow affected me so strongly, two years earlier, that this started happening inside of me. This is why I call him my spiritual father, because he initiated this undoing and the satoris and this way of being in the world that was totally different to how I was before. And I had so much gratitude, I’d find myself walking on the road or hitchhiking and tears were coming down my face because there was so much gratitude for what he had shown me and what he’d done for me.

“I’d find myself walking on the road or hitchhiking and tears were coming down my face because there was so much gratitude for what he had shown me and what he’d done for me.”

I think it was in 1989 when I went back to Pune because he had been asked to leave America and he was now living in Pune. I went back to Pune in ’89 and I stayed with him for five months there before he died. Then he died in 1990 in February and for me, that was one of the saddest times of my life, if not the saddest because I felt that my spiritual master had left his body. And in a way, I had felt at that time, that my chance of waking up, my chance of being free was over as a result of him leaving his body. But it wasn’t just that selfish thought. It was like my best friend had gone because he wanted nothing. He gave everything and he wanted nothing in return. He was so beautiful.

“He gave everything and he wanted nothing in return. He was so beautiful.”

When I saw him for the last time, at the end of 1989, he looked like he was walking like he was just floating on air. He was so gone, he was just drifting through. He just wasn’t in his body anymore, I don’t think. And it made me so sad, because there was the recognition that he was on his way out. And of course he died a few months later.

I came back to Australia because I got very ill in India, I got very ill. I needed to get back here because I didn’t want to go to an Indian hospital, at that time. That led me to living a life, which is The Way of the Heart. The Way the Heart is where you choose to be in service to others, where you choose to take care of others, where you put yourself aside for the benefit of others. And this is The Beauty Way. We call it The Beauty Way because it is beautiful and it gives you a certain level of happiness, or what I call manageable happiness. I did that for a long time.

I didn’t have any skill except being a businessman. So, I went back to school and I trained as a naturopath and as a psychotherapist, so I could have some skill level to help people with. And then I worked for a lot of years as a naturopath and psychotherapist. So, you asked me how I met Osho. Man, that meeting has never left me! It is still here now. He is my heart.

“You asked me how I met Osho. That meeting has never left me! It is still here now. He is my heart.”

Swaram
Wow, that’s really beautiful. And what comes to mind for me is that obviously, you described how asking those questions in your journalist suit provoked the beginning of the awakening and your life changed completely from that moment. Now Osho is no more physically present. Do you think that it’s still possible to have that wake up call, even though Osho is not available physically?

Vishrant
Osho is still here. See, he talked about having a garden and flowers happening in his garden, and he talked about the New Man, the man that was in the world, Zorba but also the Buddha. And the bit that I haven’t mentioned is that in 1999 awakening occurred here and it hasn’t ceased since. He is here now because there is no individual Buddha, there is no person that is a Buddha, it is the presence that is a Buddha. When that that’s aware becomes aware of itself, when beingness becomes aware of itself, that is the Buddha. And there is no difference between anyone who is awake. It is always the same. He used to describe it as: “You go to one ocean and it’s salty. You go to all oceans and they’re salty.” It’s the same. It is the taste. So the buddha field is here again, in Australia. And the spiritual master that helped create this or set this up was Osho Rajneesh. So, awakening occurred here 21 years ago and hasn’t changed in 21 years. Satsang is held here 13 times a week.

“The Way the Heart is where you choose to be in service to others, where you choose to take care of others, where you put yourself aside for the benefit of others.”

Swaram
I understand you’re being influenced by various masters. Obviously Osho, we spoke about Osho, but also I understand that Ramana Maharshi, Papaji, Buddha, they all had an influence in your path, in your spiritual awakening. Some people say that, in the path of awakening, it’s best to stick with one tradition, with one master. So, what would you say? What’s your experience with that?

Vishrant
Osho talked about all the masters. He talked about Buddhism and I studied Buddhism as a result of his talking about Buddhism. I went to the university and studied Buddhism. I also studied Taoism because he spoke about Taoism at length. I love Taoism. He didn’t speak about Advaita Vedanta because I don’t think it was that big back then, when he was still alive. But when the Advaita Vedanta teachers came to town, they came here in 1998, I was interested in them because they were talking about enlightenment and they were talking about coming home. And so, in coming into the presence of one of those enlightened teachers, awakening actually occurred, a satori occurred and it was a similar to the satori that occurred after being with Osho.

And I realised that it didn’t stay. It didn’t stay. I realised that there was something in me that wasn’t surrendered yet. There was an understanding through the study of Buddhism and Taoism that the mind has to be prepared to support enlightenment. You can’t just wake up if the mind is contracting and resisting and carrying on in a manner that attracts attention to itself. And so, during that 12 month period between ’98 and ’99, because awakening occurred in the end of May 1999, there was a continuous undoing of everything that was in the way, and a continuous self enquiry of who’s aware of every thought that arose, which is Ramana Maharshi’s methodology for enlightenment.

“You ask, ‘Who am I?’ Whatever answer comes, you let it go because you’re not that.”

When I was with Osho, I did a different type of self enquiry. It was a Zen methodology of self enquiry, which asks the question: “Who am I?” and it’s then answered. So, you ask: “Who am I? I’m a man.” Then you discount that answer and let it go. Then you ask the question again, “Who am I?” Whatever answer comes, you let it go because you’re not that. And that was the methodology I was using when awakening occurred on the beachfront, when I was walking along the river in 1987. I was using the Zen methodology of self enquiry. The methodology that I used to support awareness turning back on itself in 1999 was the Advaita Vedanta methodology of self enquiry. I studied Ramana Maharshi and I loved what he had to say about it. He was asked once: “When do you stop enquiring? When does self enquiry stop?” His answer was really good. He said, “When there is no one left to enquire.” And at some point, there was no one left to enquire and there is a sense of being everything and nothing, all the time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The mind stopped talking to itself after about six months and has been silent ever since. People started recognising the field of energy that was coming out and they started wanting to come and sit with me, and they did.

And so, Satsang began and as time went by, more and more people came to want to sit. So Satsang became formal. And it has been formal now for nearly 21 years. People come, they sit and the fun begins.

When you sit with a master, when you sit with anyone who has a presence, you sit with them, and everything inside of you eventually starts to come out because the energy field of the buddha field undoes you. It’s like, it undoes the mind, it undoes the coping mechanisms and everything inside of you that’s been locked in, your pain body, your traumas, whatever else, it starts to emerge. And you become free of that, if you’re willing to feel it. That’s the deal. That’s where a lot of people let themselves down, they’re not willing to feel the discomfort of what is inside themselves, so they spend their whole life avoiding it. But if you’re willing to feel what’s inside of you, you can heal it. So, people come into the buddha field and they experience ecstasy. They experience joy, they experience love, they experience their mind expanding. And then afterwards, they start to experience everything coming out. So the fun begins.

Swaram
So, in my experience, for example, I’m totally in love with Osho and I feel like Osho is my master. Again, Osho is not physically present. But at this stage and up to today, I never felt the need to go to a master in the body, even though I met a few people who I got inspired from. But Osho is clearly my master. Do you think that people need to have the physical contact with an alive master? Or if someone can connect to the consciousness of Buddha or Osho for more contemporary days, is that enough?

Vishrant
I was there when Osho was asked a question about this. He was asked: “What would happen if you were to die? What would happen if you went away?” And his answer was quite good. I think his answer has been removed from a lot of the texts. He said, “There is no point being with a dead master. Dead masters don’t kick ass. Find a living master who will take you apart.” So, I recall that very well and that’s one of the reasons that I did go with the Advaita Vedanta masters, some eight years after his death because I recalled him saying that if you really want to wake up, find someone who is living, who is awake, because they are home and they know the way to get home. It is almost impossible to get home by yourself because the ego is a survival mechanism and it’s not programmed for surrender. It’s not programmed for acceptance. It’s not programmed for let go. It’s programmed for resistance and contraction. And even if awareness finds itself, if the mind is resisting and contracting, awareness is going to come back to the mind. Someone who is awake, like Osho, can show you how to come home, someone who’s not awake can’t show you how to come home because they don’t know, otherwise they’d be at home. So, I don’t know if you’ve ever read or ever heard a video of this or heard an audio of it, but Osho was quite clear that dead masters don’t kick ass.

It is almost impossible to get home by yourself because the ego is a survival mechanism and it’s not programmed for surrender.

Swaram
Yes, I mean, in the same time, Osho, in other discourses, said other things. You know, that’s the thing with Osho, there are always many layers and many elements. But yeah, I remember him saying that and that’s why I wanted to bring it up and hear your point of view. But, for me personally, do you think that it’s possible to be on a path of awakening with a master like Osho? Or, you know, in the Buddhist traditions there are people who are with Buddha and they do get enlightened. Of course, you gave the answer and I understand, but just to clear it up a bit more. Do you think it’s possible or it’s completely impossible?

Vishrant
It’s possible. But it’s a little bit like the difference between being on an autobahn and being on a road that is winding through the countryside. When you’re with someone who’s awake, you’re on the autobahn. When you’re with people who aren’t awake, you’re meandering through the countryside where you could get lost at any cafe on the way. The fastest, the most direct route, is to be with someone who’s awake because they have every intention of showing you where to go. Someone who’s awake is not going to mess around with you. They’re going to show you the way and they’re going to be merciless, as Osho was. He was ruthless. I recall him saying, “I’m not your dear old uncle, I’m your murderer. And I’ve come here to murder your ego so you can be free.” And anybody who’s awake has that intention because the only obstacle in the way of enlightenment is the ego. There is no other obstacle. In Buddhism there is a really cool saying: “No ‘I’, no problem.”

“Buddhism is a way of life, it’s not the worship of a god. It’s not the worship of an idol. It actually simply is a way of life towards enlightenment.”

Swaram
I like it that. It seems quite effective.

Vishrant
Yeah.

Swaram
So…

Vishrant
Go ahead.

Swaram
Just because you mentioned this Buddhism and I understand that you created The Vishrant Buddhist Society. And I’m just curious to know.

“We have this beautiful moment to be here. And why not celebrate it? Why not celebrate it all the time?”

Vishrant
Actually, I didn’t create the Vishrant Buddhist Society, the group of people, the Sangha around me and the people running it created the Vishrant Buddhist Society.

Swaram
Okay. But now, the question for me is: it seems like you chose, maybe this is not correct and I’d love to hear what you have to say, that the Buddhist lineage, Buddhist tradition embodies the vehicle for your work in helping people awakening. Is that fair to say or not?

Vishrant
It’s absolutely true. I chose to create a vehicle for higher consciousness under the umbrella of Buddhism because Buddhism is a way of life, it’s not the worship of a god. It’s not the worship of an idol. It actually simply is a way of life towards enlightenment. And that’s why I chose that. Because, like Osho, I wasn’t interested in any beliefs. I think all beliefs are prisons and all beliefs need to be undone, so people can be free. But if you look at what I do, I’m a little bit of an odd Buddhist teacher because I teach celebration of life. I wonder where that came from! I don’t teach denial of life or renunciation, the only thing that needs to be renounced is the ‘I’. Nothing else.

Celebrating life is the best. We have this beautiful moment to be here. And why not celebrate it? Why not celebrate it all the time? And that was the teaching of Osho: Zorba the Buddha.

Swaram
Correct, yes. In fact, the other question I had in mind is: What elements of Osho’s teachings are you taking with you? You mentioned celebration. Is there anything else that you feel is Osho in the way you help people awaken?

Vishrant
You know, I don’t feel separate from Osho. I feel we are one. I feel him all the time. So, everything that comes out. You see, I don’t think even Osho, I don’t think any teacher who teaches higher consciousness has ever said anything original because it has been said so many thousands of times over the last 10,000 years, and every teacher who’s teaching higher consciousness is ultimately teaching surrender because surrender is the doorway to who we truly are.

The ‘I’ surrenders unconditionally and gives itself to truth. And in that surrender, in that unconditional surrender, things can happen. The ultimate accident can occur. Whether it’s through self enquiry or meditation, doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.

Osho mainly taught meditation and witnessing. And yes, witnessing: beautiful! But that’s Buddhism: witnessing. It’s not like Osho created that one. That’s been around for at least 2500 years. Just witnessing, developing the silent witness that watches the mind because when you can see what the mind is doing, you can actually remove the obstacles. If you can’t see what it’s doing, if you don’t have that detachment, there’s nothing you can do about it. You just get caught in the stories, in the drama. So, his main teaching was witnessing through the practice of meditation. And so, when you say, “Am I teaching the same or anything similar?” Exactly the same, exactly the same. He was on the money, he was right. But he wasn’t the only one. He’s got 10,000 years before him of people teaching the same thing. He was a very charismatic man, very intelligent, very beautiful to listen to. And he was a storyteller. He told the best stories. But they’re all very old. He just made them into his flavour but they’re all very old. They’ve been around for so long. And I do the same. I tell stories and I actually teach meditation and I teach self enquiry, but I know that it’s been taught so many times by so many people. There’s nothing original. There’s nothing I can say that’s original. That’s not possible. It’s been said too many times.

“Resistance is the problem. People don’t want to surrender because it’s against the survival mechanism. The ‘I’ doesn’t want to surrender, it wants to wake up.”

Swaram
Yeah, I mean, Osho said the truth is eternal. And so, it’s been there forever. So, it’s just a question of recognising it. You mentioned surrender. And I think, nowadays, I find it very difficult to discuss with people this idea of surrender and having a master, especially in the Western world. Perhaps it’s always been like this, but I feel like it’s getting even more. We’re living in this era where the ego is strengthening even more and just the word ‘master’ or the word ‘surrender’ creates that, “Wow, no way I’m going anywhere near that.” So, you are from Australia and I guess you work with people also from the West. How do you find this concept or this experience of surrender working for you? Do you feel like people have a lot of resistance on that?

Vishrant
Heck yeah! That’s the problem. Resistance is the problem. People don’t want to surrender because it’s against the survival mechanism. The ‘I’ doesn’t want to surrender, it wants to wake up. The ‘I’ can’t wake up because the ‘I’ is a dream. It’s not the ‘I’ that wakes up. That that’s aware of the ‘I’ becomes aware of itself. Beingness becomes aware of itself. The ‘I’ becomes redundant because it’s then seen for what it is: fraudulent. It is not who you are. You are beingness, you have always been beingness and you can be nothing else but beingness, but that is only known when awareness is aware of itself or beingness is aware of itself.

And so, the game is up for the ego once awakening occurs because it’s seen for what it is: a fraud. It’s not who you are. You’re here now, and you’re listening to me, but there’s something aware of what’s listening. What is that that’s aware? You see, that’s where we don’t look. We keep looking for things that move. And we keep looking for things that make noise, but pure awareness, that that’s aware of the mind doesn’t make noise and doesn’t move, so it’s often missed because we’re looking for the wrong thing. Our survival mechanism has us look for things that move and make noise. So, we miss what is always here.

The Buddha is there now, you are the Buddha. You’re just not aware of being the Buddha. That’s all. You are the Buddha. Osho quite often said: “You are all Buddhas.” And he was absolutely right. Everybody on the planet is a Buddha. Just they’re not aware at this moment that they’re a Buddha because awareness is locked on the mind and through the senses the world, instead of aware of itself. You are a Buddha. All that has to happen is for awareness to turn.

“No amount of knowledge raises your consciousness levels and no amount of knowledge heals the wounds of the heart.”

Swaram
Just a little detail, haha!

Vishrant
Well, then you endeavour, once you recognise that, then you endeavour to facilitate that. And it is an accident if that stays but you can facilitate it, you can prepare the mind to facilitate that. You can practice acceptance, you can practice surrender, you can practice meditation, you can practice self enquiry, you can practice openness, which is The Way the Heart. There’s so many things you can do to support higher consciousness in yourself if you’re willing to practice. Collecting knowledge is a mistake, which is the mistake I made when I first met Osho. I used to collect knowledge, I used to listen to him and collect knowledge, read his books and collect knowledge. No amount of knowledge raises your consciousness levels and no amount of knowledge heals the wounds of the heart. The only thing that raises your consciousness levels is the practices that take you to higher consciousness: the practice of meditation, the practice of witnessing, the practice of self enquiry, the practice of openness. These work and nothing else works.

Swaram
Yes, as you said before, truth has not been created by anyone and witnessing probably the same. But for example, Osho introduced some techniques that are more suitable for the modern man. Do you see value in that?

Vishrant
Oh, heck yeah. I did Dynamic and Kundalini Meditation for probably 10, 15 years. I loved them. Every morning, every night. I love them because my mind was busy. If you do that active meditation at first, the mind let off all the energy that you’re carrying. Then you can sit and you can sit in silence. So beautiful. What he created with Kundalini and Dynamic Meditation was wonderful for someone like myself because I couldn’t just sit. My mind was too full of junk. I had to have that dancing or that shaking or that cathartic movement beforehand, letting it all out. And then I was able to sit. And then I was able to find no mind. So yes, his methodologies were brilliant. I never stopped dancing, I’m still dancing.

Swaram
Wonderful.

Vishrant
I go shopping with some of my members, we have a retreat coming up. We go shopping and shopping aisles are wide and there’s lots of light and there’s lots of product and they have music on, and you can dance! Zorba the Buddha in the marketplace, celebrating the life in the moment. And this is Osho, this is what Osho taught me. This is from Osho. This is so beautiful.

Swaram
When people come to you, do you get people who ask you about Osho or they’re interested in Osho? Because just recently, the person actually who introduced me to you because I didn’t know about you, he said that he’s interested in taking sannyas and I said, “Well, the best thing is to do some Osho meditations, of course read his books, listen to discourses, but then also mingle a bit with other sannyasins and do some experiences with group meditation. And ideally, if you want to take sannyas, talk to some of the older sannyasins. So, do you offer that option for people who are interested in taking Osho sannyas?”

Vishrant
When you come into… We have built ourselves a hall where we hold Satsang and in that hall, there is one photograph and it sits next to where I sit. And that photograph is of Osho. What does that tell you? My master’s photograph is right next to me. What does that tell you?

Swaram
Okay, right. That’s heart warming, that’s beautiful to hear. Okay so, is there anything else that you feel like you would like to share about you and Osho? Anything that I didn’t ask or slipped through?

Vishrant
Yeah, unfortunately, I think Osho got maligned when he was in America. I think that there was a lot of lies told about him. I think that he was totally innocent of any wrongdoing and was persecuted for things that other people that were involved with him did. He took the fall for them, in a way, and he had to leave America. I do not believe, because I interviewed him about these subjects, I asked him about what happened with Sheela and what happened at the ranch, and I feel quite strongly that he was just not aware of what was actually happening, because he had been in silence, he’d been in silence for years and he had let other people run the show, who got involved in things that were totally unsavoury, very immature and unfortunately, it stuck to him. He was a beautiful man and I feel that it was so sad to see him arrested and so sad to see him in chains as he was shown on television, but this is what happens sometimes to people who talk the truth. The truth is not a popular subject. People prefer a convenient lie, and he was truthful and the truth sometimes is punished. And still I feel to this day that he was punished because he told the truth. He spoke the truth. He was a stirrer. He wasn’t one of these people who just laid down and agreed with everybody. He stirred it up, I loved him for that.

“The truth is not a popular subject. People prefer a convenient lie, and he was truthful and the truth sometimes is punished.”

Swaram
Have you seen or have you heard by any chance of the famous Netflix docuseries, Wild Wild Country that talks about the events in Rajneeshpuram? What do you make of it?

Vishrant
Well, a lot of it wasn’t true because I was actually there when that happened and I was in the press, I was interviewing people and a lot of what was said wasn’t true. It’s a misrepresentation of what really happened at the ranch. The people that were interviewed, some of them weren’t telling the truth and as a result, he was maligned. And that said, it would be nice if people who were involved told the truth, but I guess they might get to serve more prison time if they did. So, they didn’t. Sadly, he was a good man. He was a man who gave his life to help other people find freedom. And in my mind, he was a hero.

Swaram
That’s beautiful to hear. And it’s part of perhaps even the essence of what we are trying to do with this podcast, interviewing the people who were there and people who are truthful and want to share that different side of the story, which is completely neglected, compared to what the mass media love doing and just portraying Osho in a very negative way. So, thank you for your testimony.

Vishrant
Yeah.

Swaram
So, we are heading towards the end. I normally have three final questions for all the guests on this show. Not sure if they do apply to you, but let’s give it a try. So, the first question is: What’s your morning routine? How does your morning look like in the first couple of hours of your day?

Vishrant
Okay. So, I wake up around about five o’clock every morning and I prepare the meal for the household for whoever’s staying in, or whoever’s coming, then I, because it’s winter here, I get the fire going and make sure the house is nice and warm. And then people come and we have breakfast and at 8.30, I start a worldwide webinar, which I do on Monday to Friday. And if like today, it’s Tuesday here, so after the worldwide webinar, we have a Sangha here. Everyone turns up at about 8.30 and they do what’s called seva, which is service, because the society here has quite a lot of properties that need maintaining, so they do seva until 11 o’clock and then we hold Satsang until 12 o’clock. They have lunch, we had lunch together. And after lunch, everybody goes their own ways. They go back to their own jobs. And then at three o’clock in the afternoon, I have an interview with Swaram. Is it Swaram?

Swaram
Swaram, yes.

Vishrant
Yeah. So, that’s what has happened today. And tonight, at 7.30, there’ll be a women’s group and a men’s group. No, at 7 o’clock, there’ll be a women’s group and a men’s group for an hour and half. And then there’ll be Satsang again after that, until 10 o’clock tonight. And so, that’s the Tuesday. But every day we have two Satsangs. And every day, there is a very strong community of people here. A lot of them are Osho sannyasins. Not all of them though, there’s a lot of young people here. And, we celebrate life. We live together, a lot of us, because it’s communal, we actually play together, we work together and people do meditate together, people do the work on themselves together. So, it’s very much in line with Osho’s community in Pune, very similar.

Swaram
Yeah, I was about to say, it sounds like an Osho commune. But as a feedback, when I went to the website, I got a completely different idea. I didn’t even imagine that this was. I felt like it would be much more traditional Buddhist, which is beautiful, but clearly not for me because I found it not exciting, not celebratory enough. There is not much joy, celebration, you know, the Osho’s Zorba. Whereas it seems like you do have that!

Vishrant
Oh yeah. They say that Buddhism is a little sour and Taoism is a little sweet. Well, we’ve gone on the sweet side. We celebrate life and we don’t deny life. As I was saying before, the only thing that needs renouncing is this. We don’t need to renounce anything else, except how we think really because the only problem is the mind, is the ‘I’. It’s the only thing that’s in the way. And so, we’re not denying this or leaving this out of the picture. Let’s dance. Let’s celebrate life. Let’s squeeze the juice out of life as Osho would say. So, as he wanted people to become Zorba the Buddhas or flowers in his garden, so is being taught here. Zorba the Buddha.

Swaram
Wonderful. Okay, now you got me excited to visit.

Vishrant
You’ll be welcome.

Swaram
Thank you. So, the second question, normally is: What’s your favorite meditation? But perhaps what I could ask you is: What was your favorite Osho meditation at the time when you were doing all the Osho techniques?

Vishrant
Okay. So, we have a retreat coming up for seven days, it’s a silent retreat. They will start with Dynamic Meditation at six o’clock. That’s the beginning of the day. That’s how it begins. So, my favourite meditation was Dynamic Meditation. But eventually, what I found was that, I was able to just sit and watch my breath, which is the last part of the meditation in a lot of ways. And I found that I could sit for hours and hours and hours, just watching my breath and just being, in no mind. And so, what happens is you develop patterns, we develop default patterns of being present to reality, because watching the breath is just teaching us to get out of the dream and back to reality. After a while, if you practice it long enough, you start living in reality instead of dream. You know, when we went to school, we weren’t dreaming, we were playing, we were out there and we were very present. Then we went to school and we learned how to live in our heads. Meditation is how we reclaim reality from the dream that we got lost in at school. But if you practice being present often enough, meditation often enough, meditation becomes every moment. And Osho said this. Meditation needs to be every moment. And so for me, the default pattern is to be present, every moment. I don’t entertain dream. I’m here, with you. I’m here. Present, playing with you, celebrating with you.

Swaram
Beautiful, beautiful. So the last question is: You lived the Osho experiment. What does it mean for you to be with Osho today?

Vishrant
He is my heart. He is my heart. He’s never left, that is not possible. He is still here. I don’t feel any separation whatsoever from him. He is here. He is my heart.

Swaram
So you definitely have a beautiful heart.

Vishrant
Well, it’s funny, it’s so strange to use the English language because it’s all around the ‘I’. But what happens after awareness finds itself or awakening occurs, is that the sense of being a somebody disappears completely. And so there’s no sense of somebody here. There’s a sense of space, or once upon a time there was a sense of absence, but I got used to that. Osho used to talk about the empty chair. The chair is empty. I’m talking to another Buddha, who just doesn’t know it yet, that’s all. Which means, I’m talking to myself because we are one.

Swaram
Okay. So, Vishrant, look, it’s been really, really an amazing experience. Just to share because of I think this idea of being in the presence, no, the experience of being in the presence, I ended up asking questions that are completely new and different from what I prepared. So that shows that this experience of the Buddha talking to the Buddha who still doesn’t know that he is a Buddha, I think it worked, at least in this one hour. You took me out of my pattern and forced me to kind of respond to the moment and so it’s beautiful. I appreciate that. And, it’s been really interesting to hear your story with Osho and to record your testimony. And also to learn more about how the commune works. And there is a lot of Osho and Osho juice there. So it’s beautiful. And there is also the opportunity for sannyas, for people to take sannyas. So yeah, it’s amazing. Thank you so much.

Vishrant
Lovely to talk to you. And I must say, Osho did the same to me. He took me out of the structure and threw me into the wild and it became a wild wild country.

Swaram
Amazing! Okay, Vishrant, namaste. Thank you so much. And lots of love.

Vishrant
Lots of love to you too.

Swaram
Bye bye.