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> Early search for a New Commune



When Osho lives in Bombay there are four experimental Communes, while a search continues for a property where thousands of people can meditate and live together. Overseas, several new meditation centres are set up, some of which are residential ashrams.

The ashram is an Eastern concept, there is no word to express it in English. "Monastery" is not a good word; ashram is totally different. You have to understand the concept. A monastery is where monks live. There are Christian monasteries—there is no need for an enlightened person to be there; abbots are there, administrators are there. The monastery is like a training school. The abbot need not be enlightened, but he will train you, because they have a curriculum, a course. Christian priests are prepared that way….
A monastery is a training school; an ashram is not a school, an ashram is a family. And an ashram doesn't exist as an institution, cannot exist as an institution. The ashram exists around an enlightened person, that is a basic must. If the enlightened person is not there the ashram disappears; it is the person around whom the ashram can come into being. When the person is dead the ashram has to disappear. If you continue the ashram it becomes a monastery….
The person is important, not the institute—institutions are dead. So remember this: a live phenomenon, a master, just by his presence creates a milieu—that milieu is the ashram. And when you move in that milieu you are moving in a family, not in an institute. The master will take care of you in every way, and you will be there in intimate, close proximity.
Eastern ashrams are disappearing, they are becoming monasteries, institutes. The Western mind is so obsessed with institutes that everything is turned into an institute. I was just reading a book on marriage. It begins by saying that marriage is the greatest institute, the greatest institution—but who wants to live in an institute? The ashram is more intimate, more personal.
So every ashram will differ from others, every ashram is going to be unique, because it will depend on the person around whom it has been created. All monasteries will be similar but no two ashrams can be similar, because every ashram has to be individual, unique; it depends on the personality of the master. If you go to a Sufi ashram it will be totally different—much dancing and singing will be there; if you go to a Buddhist ashram, no dancing, no singing, much sitting silently will be there. And both are doing the same, they are leading towards the same goal.
The first thing to remember: an ashram exists with a master; it is his personal influence, his person, the atmosphere, the milieu that he creates through his being. An ashram is his being, and when you enter into an ashram you are not entering into an institution, you are entering a live person, you are becoming part of the soul of the master. Now you will exist as part of the master, he will exist through you. So no forced discipline, but spontaneous happenings will be there. vedant08

In October 1971 Vishwaneed Neo-Sannyas Commune is set up by Ma Anand Madhu in Ajol, Gujarat. Facilities are provided for experiments in 21-days’ silence and seclusion

It is helpful to practice breath awareness for twenty-one days in total seclusion and silence. Then, much will happen.
During the twenty-one-day experiment, practice Dynamic Meditation once a day and constant awareness of breathing for twenty-four hours a day. Do not read, do not write, do not think, because all these acts are of the mental body; they are not concerned with the etheric body.
You can go for a walk. This helps because walking is part of the etheric body; all manual actions are concerned with the prana sharira, the etheric body. The physical body does these things, but it is for the etheric body. Everything concerned with the etheric body should be done, and everything concerned with another body must not be done. You can also have a bath once or twice a day; it is concerned with the etheric body.
When you go for a walk, just walk. Do not do anything else; just be concerned with your walking. And while walking, keep your eyes half-closed. Half-closed eyes cannot see anything other than the path, and the path itself is so monotonous that it will not give you something new to think about.
You must remain in a monotonous world, just in one room, seeing the same floor. It must be so monotonous that you cannot think about it. Thinking needs stimuli; thinking needs new sensations. If your sensory system is constantly bored, there will be nothing outside of you to think about.
During the first week you may feel less need of sleep. Do not be concerned about it. Because you are not thinking, because you are not doing many of the things that you ordinarily do, you will need less sleep. And if you are constantly aware of your breathing, so much energy will be generated in you, you will become so vital, that you will not feel sleepy. So if sleep comes it is alright; if it doesn't come it is alright. If you do not sleep it will not be harmful….
So much will come to you: things that are absurd, illogical, unimaginable, inconceivable, fantastic, nightmarish. You must go on watching your breath. Let these things come and go; just be indifferent to them. It is as if you are going for a walk. The street is full of people. They pass by, but you are indifferent to them; you are not concerned with them. Then these images and fantasies will be released and, by the end of the first week, a new silence will come to you. The moment the unconscious is unburdened, there will be no more inner noise. Silence will come to you, a deep inner silence.
You may experience moments of depression. If a deep-rooted feeling of depression has been suppressed in the unconscious, it will come and overwhelm you. It will not be a thought, it will be a mood. Not only thoughts will be coming to you, but moods, too, will be coming. Sometimes you will feel exhilarated, sometimes you will feel depressed or bored, but be as indifferent to these moods as you are indifferent to thoughts. Let them come and go. They will go by themselves so do not be concerned with them. Moods, too, have been suppressed in the unconscious. During the twenty-one days of the experiment they will be released, and then you will experience something that you have never experienced before—something new, something unknown.
Each individual will experience something different. There are many possibilities, but whatever happens, don't be afraid; there is no need to be. Even if you feel that you are dying, no matter how strong that feeling is, no matter how sure you are of it, accept it. Thoughts, feelings, moods, will be so acute, so real. Just accept them. If you feel that death is coming, then welcome it—and go on watching your breath….
After the first week you will begin to have some psychic experiences. The body may become very big or very small. Sometimes it will disappear, it will evaporate, and you will be bodiless. Do not be afraid. There will be moments when you cannot find where your body is—it is not—and moments when you will see your body lying or sitting at a distance away from you. Again, do not be afraid.
You may feel electrical shocks. Every time a new chakra is penetrated, there will be shocks and tremblings; the whole body will be in a turmoil. Do not resist; cooperate with these reactions. If you resist, you will be fighting against yourself. Shocks, trembling, a feeling of electricity, heat, cold—anything felt on your chakras you must cooperate with. You yourself have invited it, so do not resist it. If you resist it, your energies will be in conflict, so cooperate with any psychic experiences that you may have.
Sometimes you may not feel that you are breathing. It is not that breath has stopped, but that it has become so natural, so silent, so rhythmic, that it is not felt….
Just be aware of this situation. You were aware of breathing; now be aware of a situation where no breath is felt. Whatever happens, be aware of it. Awareness must be there. If nothing is felt, then you must be aware of your no-feeling. Nothing is being felt, but awareness must be there….
Do not stop the experiment before the twenty-one days are over. After the first week you may want to stop it. Your mind may say, "This is nonsense. Leave." Do not listen to it. Just tell yourself once and for all that for twenty-one days there is nowhere else to go.
After the third week you may not want to leave. If your mind is so blissful that you do not want to disturb it, if only nothingness, blissfulness is there—if you are just a vacuum—then you can prolong the experiment for two or three or four more days. But do not break it before the twenty-one days are over….
So go and begin it as soon as you can. artof18

In 1972 Samarpan Rajneesh Sadhana Ashram, New York state, is the first residential ashram overseas

You ask me: Can you guide us as to some specific ways that Rajneesh Sadhana Ashrams in the West and elsewhere should be structured which makes them different from other Ashrams? How are they unique?
Remember three words: love, discipline, an independence. These three have to be combine. Love should be the main thing. So whatsoever you do, you must remember that it must be loving. It is very easy to be authoritative. It is every easy to restrict others, because the mind wants to dominate. Then the guru becomes the dominator and the dictator. Then love is lost. So love is the base of whatsoever you are doing.
For example, smoking: it is innocent, but you can create much fuss about it, an you can make it so significant that it seems as if the whole moksha (liberation) is dependent on whether you smoke or not. It is not so.
For example, sex: All those who want to dominate will always be against sex. You cannot dominate a person if you give freedom about sex. You cannot dominate because man has two basic things: food and sex. He cannot survive without these two things. These are survival bases: food and sex. So all the religions who want to dominate others, they will always be concerned with food and sex—always! They will control your food completely and then they will control your sex completely. Then you are just a slave without knowing that you have become a slave. But food cannot be completely controlled, because you will have to eat something—because for an individual to survive, food is necessary. So they create many taboos around food. Unscientific, nonsensical taboos are created.
The basic thing is that if one controls your food, he controls your life. So, really, you have become a slave. But food cannot be completely controlled, and one has to eat some time because an individual's life depends on it. But sex can be completely controlled, because individual existence is not dependent on sex. You are already born, so sex can be completely cut out. That is why religions are totally against sex.
Every religion creates taboos around food, but allows something to eat, whatsoever it is. But they try to control sex completely. And once someone controls your sex, he controls you.
So the first thing is we are not to control anybody. We are just to help. Our Ashrams are not dominating fields for someone to play God and then create a slavery around him. Love, I say, is the basic thing to remember. Whenever you are thinking to prohibit anything, remember, it is not going to be your domination. It must be something to help the other person, and that is the basic difference.
If I say take vegetarian food, it is just to help you. You will be more patient with vegetarian food, more silent, and it will be easy for you to move in meditation. You can move with non-vegetarian food also, but then you are doing two contradictory things. So it is just a love act when we say that a vegetarian diet will be helpful. So be a vegetarian.
But we are not food addicts and maniacs and faddists. So this is not going to be a principle. We are not saying to anyone that he must be, for his whole life, a vegetarian. We are not saying that! You have come to the Ashram to experiment for deeper meditation. So if you have come for deeper meditation, it is good to be vegetarian. Later on, if you feel it is good for your whole life, that is up to you. We are not for vegetarianism. It is not an "ism". It is up to you. If you feel that it is good for you and later on also you want to continue, it is up to you.
So do not create any "ism" around anything. We just want utilitarian devices. The same for sex, because it is very easy to inhibit any person about sex and create guilt feelings. And once someone feels guilty, you can dominate him….
Our approach is with love. We do not want to create any guilt in anyone, because we are not to dominate—-just to help. So if we say anything about sex, it is not against sex. If we say that it should not be displayed while others are present, that is only not to trespass others' freedom. So remember this: whatsoever you do, first make it judged by the criterion of love. This must be the first touchstone. Whatsoever you decide, always remember, love must be the reason for the decision….
So discipline is just utilitarian, just for outward behaviour so that a group can live easily, peacefully, with each other. Remember this: the discipline is not for the inner individual. It is only for his outer behaviour, because he is not alone. There are others. That is the difference from a disciplinarian. For a disciplinarian, discipline is the absolute end, the ideal. For me, it is just a technique, and the technique is to help the individual to be independent. And we want discipline so that he becomes more responsible toward others—so that no one is disturbed by him. When no one is disturbed by him, he will not be disturbed by anyone.
There should be no conflict in behaviour among Ashram residents, and everyone can grow inwardly without any conflict with the outside. Just to get rid of conflict, we have to create discipline. It is not against the individual. It is against the possibility of conflict. When many persons are living together, there are bound to be many conflicts. So no trespassing, and this is to help the individual to be independent, not to be a slave.
Love should not become possession. Discipline should not become a dead end. And we must continuously remember that everyone remains independent, even following discipline. So make it clear to everyone who comes to the Ashram that this is your choice. You have come to the Ashram. You have entered the Ashram for a few days, for a certain period. You choose discipline. This is with your independence; you choose it! If you do not want to choose it, do not come. This is your choice. Once you choose it, it is your responsibility to follow it.
Even then there will be many problems. Even if you make all the rules, problems will be there, because you cannot know what can happen in any moment. Whenever something occurs and you feel that the rules and the discipline are not fixed about it, remember love and independence, and then decide the discipline. Your mind must be loving, and the person must get a maximum of independence. And then decide the discipline between these two.
It is going to be a delicate thing, and that is the responsibility of the Vice Chancellor and the Chancellor: to decide so delicately! Think it over. Do not be hasty. And always decide within the framework of love and independence. From you, love must be the base. For the other, love must be the end. And between these two there is discipline just because of communal living. If everyone is alone, then there is no question of discipline. Because the other is there, the question of discipline comes.
So this is going to be the difference: for us moksha is not the ideal. The individual himself is the ideal. How he becomes totally independent: that is moksha, that is liberation. So we have to help him, because in other ashrams, for them, their emphasis is on moksha, God Realization or something vague, something very very far away. Because of that ideal, that goal, they will force the individual to become a slave. They say that unless you become a slave completely, you cannot achieve moksha. And in order to gain the ideal, individuals become slaves.
For us, the individual himself is the end. There is no future ideal for him. So owe are to help him to attain this very moment, and we cannot cause that individual to be a slave in any name.
There are only two ways to make slaves: one is physical force, another is mental force. They both work the same. Dictators use physical force. Religious organizations, churches, they use mental force. But the end result is slavery. You can force someone physically or mentally, and the second is more tricky, more cunning. So we are not going to cause anyone to be a slave in any sense. sannyas magazine Jan-Feb73

In 1972 two farming communes are set up: 'Kailash' in Chanda, donated by Ma Anandmayi, Osho's past-life mother, where a group of 30 Western sannyasins participate in a 6-month residential program; and 'Samarpan', Baroda, Gujarat, donated by Swami Swarupanand (Sheela's father), for a group of Western and Indian sannyasins. Some experiments developed by Gurdjieff are used.

Kailash was a great group. It was a different kind of group, but it was good; it helped the people tremendously! shore07

Gurdjieff was experimenting with his disciples. He and his thirty disciples lived in a big house, and he told them to live there in such a way as if the other twenty-nine did not exist. They were not to speak with anyone, not to make any signs, not to make any gestures which might create any communication. Even if one passed by someone else, he had to remember that he was all alone there, nobody else was there in the house. Knowingly or unknowingly, nothing was to be done by anyone that might indicate the presence of the other. If someone stepped on somebody else's toes he was not to make any apology, for there was no one else present there. Even if because of somebody's mistake an ember from the fire was to fall on someone's hand, no one was to ask for any forgiveness—for there was no one else present there. No one was even to express through their eyes, "I am sorry."
Gurdjieff asked these thirty disciples to stay like that for three months. Twenty-seven disciples ran away after some time; only three remained to the very end, but those three were transformed into totally different persons.
What was the purpose of this experiment? Let us understand it. It is very easy not to pay any attention to others, or not to apologize, even if you kick someone! This is very easy, there is no difficulty in it. This is how we always want it to be. But this is not the significant point. So what meaning does this experiment carry?
Remember, its meaning is deep and hidden. Gurdjieff had asked you not to pay any attention to the fact that there is someone else present, but then also to understand well that others also will not pay any attention to you. That is where the catch is. You will not pay attention to others, you are alone; others will not pay attention to you, they are twenty-nine. You will not receive twenty-nine other people's attention, for three months, at all!
All transactions are mutual. I give you attention, you give me attention. It is a business. I am fulfilling your ego, you are fulfilling mine. But in this experiment the exchange will cease at both the ends. What was the reason for those twenty-seven disciples running away? Many of them said later, "We felt as if we were suffocating, that we would die, that we were choking."
Actually their throats were not choking, it was their ego's throats that were choking. They were thinking, "Three months! And there will be no food for our egos! By the time we are out of this place we will be empty." Those three courageous disciples who stayed, came out after three months as different persons altogether. What had changed in them?
Ouspensky was one of those three disciples who had stayed through the experiment. Later he said, "This man Gurdjieff was amazing, because in three months…. And we had no idea that this was a device to kill our egos. We had thought that the experiment was being carried out to bring peace and silence to our minds. We were not even told that our egos will be killed. After three months we became as though we did not exist; only our being remained. There was no tune of 'I' arising anywhere in us."
The day no 'I' arises within you, that day you are standing at your real 'I'. That real 'I' is called the soul. And naturally then your individuality becomes spotlessly clean like the full moon—ever blissful and self-luminous. finger05

In 1972 an island at Ambernath near Bombay is donated and inaugurated as 'Ananda-Shila', with the Meditation Camp in February 1973. However the land is found to be unsuitable, damp, infested with mosquitoes, and the water salty. The structure Osho recommends is reported in Sannyas Magazine:

Ananda-Shila will work as a World Centre for Meditation and the Science of Religion by promoting a series of activities connected to the following:


1. A Yoga-Therapy Centre*
2. A Naturopath and Acupuncture Research Centre as helpful grounds for scientific investigations and collateral to Meditation
3. A University for Meditation, inclusive of departments such as: (a) A Training centre for esoteric sciences; (b) A Training College for Yoga and meditation; (c) An East and West Meeting Centre for Psychologies and Philosophies
4. A Library of Universal Knowledge
5. A Publication Centre
6. A Temple of Understanding: The Temple will represent all religions of the world, visibly manifested as sixteen gates opened to a central, void space to represent the Divine
7. A Hostel for resident sannyasins
8. A Guesthouse for visitors and students under training
9. A Hall for mass meditation and international conferences
10. Fifty Underground Cells for deep meditation
11. A Bungalow for the private residence of Osho
12. Residential Cottages for friends


Ananda-Shila, according to Osho's inspiration, will be an absolutely non-political and non-sectarian Foundation which will work for the rising of awareness among human beings with a basis of love and understanding. sannyas magazine Jan-Feb 1973 
*Note: As early as September 1970 Osho talks to an American woman working with mentally disturbed patients, about group therapy and the need for a commune, so people can become aware of suppressed emotions which have caused their madness, followed by creativity, and relaxation (early04.doc). This topic is covered later, see Part VII.

Osho writes to a friend in India:
The news of the commune delights me. The tree's seed is sprouting, soon innumerable souls will shelter under its branches. Soon the people for whom I have come will gather—and you are going to be their hostess! So prepare yourself; that is, empty yourself completely because only emptiness can be the host. You are already on your way singing, dancing, blissful like a river flowing to the sea. I am delighted, and I am always with you. The ocean is close—just run, run, run! teacup03



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