MY MOTORCYCLE MEDITATION
By Joseph Vidmar
“OSHO TIMES” July, 1999
An American motorcycle enthusiast makes a tour of Europe on Harley Davidson’s creation.
THERE IT WAS – big, black and beautiful. It was a Buddha Bike: a 1325cc Fat Boy outfitted for speed, with the biggest engine Harley Davidson ever made and the shiniest, loudest exhaust pipes that money could buy. There was so much chrome that the reflection of light was blinding to the eyes.
I had never been in Northern Europe before and existence was offering me the opportunity to drive right through the middle of it on a motorbike so shiny, so powerful, it took your breath away. The sound of the motor was like rolling thunder. If you drove it through a narrow street in Amsterdam, the vibration alone would set off the burglar alarms in all the parked cars.
Tom met me at Schipol Airport in Holland, took me straight to the motorcycle and handed me the keys. I noticed right away that the only place to put my feet on this bike were these little chrome pegs so smooth my feet kept slipping off. Wildly impractical. I asked Tom why he bought those particular pegs and he looked at me in amazement and said “Because they cost the most, of course.”
Tom and I had met earlier in Pune and became the best of friends. When I bragged that I had driven my 350 cc Royal Enfield over the Himalayas into Ladakh, he got a twinkle in his eyes and offered me his Harley to drive through Europe. It was the right offer at the right time. I had been in Pune for a long time and my mind had turned the river into a rut. I needed a change. It was time to go further, so I could come back closer. It was time to jump and not know where I would land.
I loaded up the bike with clothes, sleeping bag, tent, computer, spare parts and tied it all down. It looked like a gypsy wagon with a big headlight in front and loud mufflers. I was prepared for camping. This was going to be a budget-buddha-trip with more faith than finance. I had no idea what I was doing except the feeling that I wanted to visit as many Osho meditation centers as possible.
I roared out of Den Haag and within two hours was in another country, which is always amazing to an American. Some hours later, I pulled off the autobahn and drove along the Rhine, marveling at the castles and cruise ships along the way. I was like a kid again enjoying the sight of a strange land I had never seen. The Old World was new to me and fresh.
I was halfway through the Black Forest in the middle of the night when I turned off on a dirt road and found a meadow to lay my sleeping bag and go to sleep. I could see why they called it the Black Forest: it was a full moon night, but it was pitch black. Because the forest is so thick, it blocks out the light. I had just fallen asleep, when I was awakened by the most horrible, threatening sounds I had ever heard. I didn’t know what it was…and it was coming closer.
“My god,” my American mind thought, “here I am naked, with no gun, no knife, no cruise missile or anything….”
In a flash of inspiration born out of desperation, I jumped on the Harley and started the engine, making so much noise that the dead were awakened and the living had to cover their ears. I shone the headlights through the trees, trying to see whatever it was and then turned off the motor and listened. I heard the sound of something sinister moving further away and then I relaxed. “Great,” I thought, “probably set some kind of record – the first naked sannyasin to scare away wild beasts with a Harley.”
I woke up in a drizzling rain and drove all day long in a hard, cold rain. Finally I arrived at my first sannyasin house in Schwarzenburg where Dharmavid and Aadhar made me welcome. They showed me a little box on the radiator where I could dry my soaked and freezing boots. It was a big beautiful old house and we stayed up late, fantasizing about making an Osho Circus with twenty school buses full of sannyasins and taking it through Europe.
After a couple of days, my bones were dry again and I headed for the only pass into Italy that wasn’t covered with snow. Almost to the top, something passed me going really fast and out the corner of my eyes I saw it was a Royal Enfield. I couldn’t believe it.
“What is one of them doing over here and how did he make it go so fast?”
I caught up to him and we pulled over to talk. The bike turned out to be an Egli model, imported from India and re-engineered in Switzerland to give twice the power. Just then, an ambulance passed us with its siren wailing and we passed looks with each other tinged with fear.
The Enfield rider checked his bike and found metal flakes in the oil. His engine was falling apart and he had to turn back. “That’s an Enfield,” I said to myself and went on alone. Around the first curve I saw a crumpled up motorcycle lying in the middle of the road in a puddle of blood. The ambulance was pulling away slowly, with its siren turned off.
Just one second of unawareness out of my hara and I would be next.
My next stop was in Lugano at another sannyasin house where I met with Ishe and Sabino. It was beautiful to see how much from the heart they were with each other and with the world. Their house was on the hills at the edge of town and I took a walk to be in the nature. All of a sudden I heard this sinister snorting sound again. I turned around and there was a wild pig with big tusks, furiously digging up the ground, trying to get something it wanted to eat. “Jesus, they are all over the place!” I quickly ran down the hill before it decided to eat me instead.
It would have been easier if it had. You see, I was on my way to Toscana to see my beloved and try and patch things up. It didn’t work. Once there is crack in the heart, it never seems to seal or heal. After a bitter battle of the egos – number one million – we came apart with broken hearts. In the reaching was the teaching. Once we had each other, we didn’t know what to do.
I drove on to the big Miasto Commune and when I arrived they all came out to see what the sound of thunder was all about. When they saw what it was, they stared in awe and graciously let me drive it across the yard and park it in front of the dorm.
That night I pulled my mattress outside to sleep on the porch so I could feel the breeze and listen to the sounds of nature. In the middle of the night I was awakened by the that old familiar snorting sound again. This time there was a whole herd of them walking by in the dark. They didn’t seem to be interested in jumping up on the porch to eat me, so I rolled over and went back to sleep.
One night I went to eat with friends at an old restorante in the nearby ancient town of Sassa. Stuck up on the walls were the heads of wild pigs with big teeth and tusks. The owner told us the story of how, once a year, all the men of the village go out and hunt them down because they eat the crops. It is against the law to hunt them in groups of less than 25 because they are so dangerous. Piss off one and in less than the blink of en eye they go for your leg, drop you to the ground and bury their teeth in your throat.
Next, I headed north-west out of Italy for Ibiza and stopped at Arihant, a meditation center outside Varazze, on the way. The house was in nature and they offered me a tent to sleep on the hill. Ushma mothers everyone with her delicious food and Nerodh is a gifted music-therapist who embeds different levels of brain waves inside the notes. The results are profound.
I waited for the rain to stop and headed on my way. I wanted to see the Napoleon Highway so I headed for Gap, France, figuring then to turn south. How fitting for a sannyasin, I thought, to be riding into “the gap.” On the way, I took a wrong turn and after twisting up and down on mountain roads all day, ended up in Marseilles instead. Some kind of sannyasin I was, getting lost on my way to the gap.
I spent the night in a French campground by the Mediterranean and in the morning drove through a marshland bird sanctuary on the way to Spain. Sometimes they would fly alongside me as if to keep me company. The sunlight reflecting off their white wings and off the chrome of the Harley made us look like a pair of sparkling, dazzling lights going down the road together.
Driving through strong winds in Northern Spain, my first stop was at the Osho Information Center outside Tarragona. Prem and Indradhanu came to show me the way to the middle-of-nowhere and I was amazed: there were two huge two-storey buildings and a two-storey house. Everything was beautifully furnished and there was enough space to run groups for hundreds of people. It was all empty. I asked why and they said they had not yet advertised or let people know they were there.
Prem worked in Barelona as a dentist and led me through a maze of streets to find the place at the harbor where I could buy a ticket to Ibiza. The boat was due to arrive late at night and I was standing in line, wondering where I was going to find a place to sleep on the island, when I heard someone call my name. I turned around and it was Yash, a beautiful sannyasin guy I had met in Pune. He invited me to his house for the night. The next morning I woke up in Ibiza to the sound of waves crashing on the rocks below and the sight of incredible blue-green waters stretching far out beyond.
For the next month I enjoyed the energy of sannyasins living together. I don’t know why I love sannyasins so much, except, maybe, every one of us is a carrier of Osho’s energy, and the more of us who come together, the more Osho’s energy I can feel in the world and in myself. I love the aliveness of sannyansins and the energy that flows when you have done so much work on yourself.
I spent my days driving to San Juan to have lunch at Ferdinandito’s and meeting sannyasins on the porch. Many I had met before in Pune, but it was interestingly different to meet them again in another part of the world. In the afternoon, I would give therapy sessions across the street and every evening I would go to Benirras Beach to listen to the drums and watch the sun go down. It was a timeless magical place and I felt like I could stay there until the end of my days on earth.
But soon enough it was time to drive the Harley back to Holland, then to catch a flight to Mexico City where I intended to participate in my ninth Mystic Rose Meditation. I packed my gear on the bike, tied it down and caught the boat with minutes go spare. When the boat landed, I roared north as fast as I could go, driving through wind and rain on the way.
The first night I slept under a picnic table for shelter and next day finally saw the beauty of the Napoleon Highway as I passed through the French Alps into Switzerland. I pulled off the road in the dark and woke up surrounded by giant sunflowers and the smells of everything green and growing gently, soothing to the soul.
When I got to Berne, Galita and Stanislas met me at the clock tower surrounded by Japanese tourists and led me to the campground by the river. I put up my tent, they all came to visit and we jumped into the fast-moving waters and let the current carry us downstream. I gave sessions in the tent with my computer running on battery power. For the first time, I gave sessions to nonsannyasins and they too were reaching for their souls, often in a rather sad, solitary way.
I loved the meditation center in Cologne. Wow! A Buddhafield on the street, in the marketplace, with its own shops and everything. Old friends were all around. Bodo and Satori came over and gave me a hug. Govindo paid me that 800 rupees he owed me – handing me rupees instead of deutschmarks and then laughing at the joke of it all. Big, tall Gitanand, who runs “Zenfaris” in Kenya, wanted me to send him the monthly Osho Times horoscope, but I told him he could find it on the web.
The ride back to Den Haag was a terror. It was a hard rain all the way and the rear end kept sliding because the back tire was bald. The front brake lost its power when it got wet and if I hit the rear brake too hard, the rear wheel would swish out and the bike would go down. I arrived at Tom’s empty apartment with my teeth chattering from the cold and my nerves raw from fear.
I waited for the rain to stop so I could drive up to the Osho Humaniversity on the coast and make a visit before I left. It never stopped. They had had one weekend of sunshine the whole summer. When I first got to Holland in May, the sun was shining and I thought the Dutch were the happiest people on earth. Now they were grumpy and irritable, trying not to be sad.
I drove up to Edmond aan Zee in the rain and found the Humaniversity right away. You couldn’t miss it. It was a huge building that used to be an orphanage and was almost in the center of town. Dharmaraj met me at the door, showed me around and arranged for me to be in a meeting with Veeresh. What an incredible charismatic, powerful personality this man has. When he heard I had worked for Dr. Maxwell Jones, author of “The Therapeutic Community,” he offered for me to stay and do my work. But I was on my way to sunny Mexico and it would have to wait.
I bade farewell to the Harley in Den Haag and hopped aboard a plane. Over the next few weeks, my travels took me through Mexico, up to Seattle, down to San Francisco and then to Sedona in Arizona, where my friend Don told me he needed someone to house-sit for him while he went to Pune. It was a win-win situation. He needed someone to feed his chickens and I needed a roof over my head and a place to write this article.
I drove the 500 km south to the Mexican border to the Valley of Miracles. Don’s house was in nature, 20 km from the nearest town and the only time I saw or talked to anyone was when I went to town once a week for fresh groceries. Complete silence and isolation surrounded me.
The only company I have is a herd of wild pigs that walk through the yard almost every day making their familiar snorting sounds. They are smaller here and are called havelinas. I look upon them with affection. After all, wild pigs need love too.