The biggest of these was Rajneesh. His followers may not like me calling him a godman, but he had all the standard credentials. He had a beard, he wore saffron and ochre robes, he preached, he had foreign disciples, including some very prominent persons, he made a lot of money, he was wanted by the police in several countries.
I met him twice, I mean personally met him. Once when he was still Acharya Rajneesh and once when he had become Osho. On both occasions, I had gone to interview him, and both turned out to be public interviews. The first time was in Mt. Abu, on the lawns of the state guesthouse. He sat on a chair, two foreign women, one Austrian and one American at his feet, one of them (American) with her head buried in his lap. The only other chair on the lawn was occupied by me, the interviewer, since I could not take notes standing. His more favoured disciples stood in a semi circle behind me. I do not remember if the moon was out that night ó possibly.
It was an interesting interview. I returned to Bombay and wrote what I thought was a clever and nasty piece.
The second time was when he had been hounded out of America and almost every other country and had to return home. I met him in a house at Khar. It was during his usual morning discourse, and, as it turned out, I was the anchorman. He sat in a chair, I sat in the only other chair, and the public sat on the floor. There were microphones in front of both of us. I would ask a question and he would go into a long discourse over it. I was not allowed to interrupt. At the end of the discourse, when he would look at me, I would ask the next question.
I must admit, he answered all the questions quite frankly. I came back and wrote the report. By then I had learnt. Do not try to be too clever. Report things exactly as they are, if the man is nasty, he will come out nasty, if he is a fool, he will come out a fool.
Another godman that I interviewed, I forget his name. He was quite famous (notorious) at that time and had even challenged Chandraswami and Dhirendra Brahmacharya. He was staying and meeting people (for a fee) at the residence of an income-tax officer on Pedder Road. A fact that should indicate the IQ of our income-tax officers.
We all sat in the drawing room, and one by one we were escorted into the bedroom, where the godman was sitting on a double bed. I interviewed him and he showed me photographs of himself with several VVIPs. I do not know if Mr. Narasimha Rao was among them, but Indira Gandhi was.
Interview over, he took out of my hair a tiny packet, containing ash, I suppose, instructing me to keep it under my pillow in the night. I did nothing of the sort. I gave it to one of the visitors sitting in the drawing room. Here, use it, I told him. You do not have to pay him money to get this.