Rainbow Spirit Festival
In May this year, Swami Anand Veeresh visited the Rainbow Festival in Baden-Baden, Germany for the second time. In this interview, conducted before he went, Veeresh talks about Social Meditation, peace, Osho and what he was looking forward to at the Festival. The interview is conducted by Swami Geetanand, who is a Humaniversity Therapist and Staff Member of OSHO Humaniversity.
Hi Veeresh! During the festival you've been asked to present some of your Social Meditations including the AUM Meditation and the Peace Meditation. People who want to meet you personally have the possibility to come to "Darshan" with you and there will also be a Night Event with dance, relating and party hosted by you and your team. What are you looking forward to regarding the festival?
First of all, I'm looking forward to meeting Mariam and Theresa. I was so well received and taken care of by them. We were invited to their house and I was touched by their generosity - I felt immediately at home. I also look forward to going to this amazing town Baden-Baden. It's a beautiful fairy tale town - I could imagine Cinderella driving around in a coach! It's magnificent. And, of course, I look forward to meeting all the new people at the festival so that I can share who I am and the work that we are doing at the Humaniversity.
Why did you create the Peace Meditation and what is its purpose?
I was watching the television on September 11, 2001 with a group of my friends -and seeing the planes as they were crashing into the Twin Towers. I was shocked. It was not only a terrorist attack on the United States but it was also an attack on my home; I was born in New York City. I remember sitting there with my friends complaining and trying to find meaning in this whole thing and then it occurred to me: I can complain for the rest of my life or I can try to do something about it.
I thought: I want to do something in my way to try to change the situation. I can't stop the terrorists but I can influence the people that I am in contact with and show them that peace is the only way. That's how the Peace Meditation came to be. I am trying to create some awareness; some balance for all this madness that we have on the Earth. The purpose? Yeah I want to do what I can to create world peace.
And so, by going through the Peace Meditation, the participants get a taste of both positions- the position of going into war and the position of solving conflict.
Exactly! It's not just talking the talk, like walking around and saying: 'Peace brother'. You may think that you are peaceful but it's not enough. We all want to be peaceful but we are also animals inside, ready to destroy each other for stupid reasons. You can't understand war unless you can also understand the mentality of war. We all have that mentality inside - all of us do. We have to own that madness inside of us if we want to understand where we are going with peace. You have the ability to love you have the ability to hate but if you can't own the hate your peace is bullshit!
When I created the Peace Meditation, I also had the Israelis and Palestinians in mind. I have already worked a lot in Israel and the AUM Meditation fits perfectly there...
The AUM Meditation is your most famous meditation. What was your idea behind the AUM?
Originally I created it as a meditation for the Humaniversity so that our group leaders could take it with them when they went out to work at different centres. I never knew that it would take off and end up going around 35 countries in the world with over 500 leaders! I am very happy.
I was grateful to make the AUM because it was my way of saying 'thank you' to Osho - it was a gift to him. I wanted to give him something back, because he has given me so much. Today I see the international impact of the AUM. I get reports from all over the world and I am just so happy that people are benefiting from this process and that it works everywhere. I heard that they are also doing a modified version of it at schools, with kids. They are doing it in many areas.
As for Israel, I have this fantasy that one day I can have a stadium filled half with Palestinians and half with Israelis. I have a vision that the AUM will take 9 months instead of the usual two and half hours! The first stage will be 3 months, the second stage will be 3 months and the remaining stages will be 3 months. I could really create some change like that.
It's also a kind of summary of all your work as a therapist...
The AUM Meditation
The AUM Meditation is a 2 ½ hour process that involves 13 stages. Unlike other meditations, it is very socially interactive and the various stages are designed to stimulate a wide range of emotional expression. It begins with negativity and gradually works toward positivity. It recognises that the polarity of yin and yang applies to emotions too. In order to know genuine love, one must be aware of real hatred, tears as well as laughter, noise as well as silence and so on. When it is done with total involvement, an experience of all the polarities leads you to your centre, where there is inner peacefulness.
The AUM encourages emotional intelligence and balance, the release of stress and tension, friendship, the realisation that every person is a Buddha in the making and best of all, an experience of your own Buddha-nature.
When people will look back on my main contribution to the sannyasin movement, it will be the AUM Meditation. I do a few other things besides that but that would be the summary of my work, I am sure.
Why is the AUM so effective? What makes it so complete?
The American Medical Association of the United States estimate that the minimum amount of exercise that every human being needs to remain healthy is half an hour of exercise every day. But because we are in the computer age we are all couch potatoes. We always think about doing exercises but we never do it. If you do the AUM Meditation, you will have great physical, psychological, spiritual, social and health benefits. You might also get a date at the end of the AUM - that's really why a lot of people come to do it!
(Geetee laughs) ... That's true.
So you get all these benefits..... and you get a date (both laugh)
Yeah, it's a social meditation. You do it with other people
Yeah, you use the other person as a focal point - in the same way you would use a candle, or your breathing, or walking, in Zen meditations.
Who do you think should do the AUM Meditation and what can people, who have never done an AUM, expect from it?
I think it should start in school beginning from the first grade on up. That means everybody should do it because you never get emotional education at school - what you get is intellectual education. Kids don't know how to express their emotions and they need to be shown in a healthy way how to express their emotions and that their emotions are OK. It's an art - a way to learn emotional intelligence.
I believe that the AUM Meditation for children should be in a modified version so that kids can learn to express their feelings and say things like: 'I am hurt' or 'You hurt me', ' I don't like this and what I want you to change is this...'. And that it is OK too, to say to someone, 'I love you'. I think that would be great, everybody would be working on their emotional trips right from the beginning and then we would have peace on earth.
People who have never done the AUM what should they expect? How does it look for them? All the negativity at the beginning might be a bit scary.
Yes, that's what's exciting about this meditation. You have people projecting their negativity all over you - people you never even met are screaming at you. It looks like a madhouse! It can look scary but once you've done it, you see the benefits. You will see that in order to release stress you first have to express it. There is a great expression of aggression and energy and there is the expression of love to balance it out. The end result is people hugging and loving each other. It looks like a mad house at the beginning but it has logic to it - there is a purpose. (Both laugh).
The final stage is called 'Namaste'...
Yes. Namaste is the traditional Indian greeting; it means, 'I recognise the Buddha or divine nature in you'. You end up greeting and recognizing the Buddha in every single person...that they are the same souls-everyone.
I see many enlightened people offering satsangs. You offer Darshans. What is the difference and why do you prefer to give Darshans rather than satsangs?
Well, satsang means 'sitting in the presence of a master doing nothing' - sitting silently and slowly drinking his loving vibrations so you can find a bridge with his heart and be in state of love. Satsang implies that the master is enlightened or in a state of love or truth. Darshan is an opportunity to ask questions of the person who, at that moment, you set up to be more enlightened than you; to interact with them and even to hug them. I like Darshans - I like the personal contact.
I enjoy opening my heart and sharing my love and that's what Darshan is for me. I use a lot of words to do that - I don't mind repeating stories or doing anything so long as that creates a bridge to each person's heart.
I can give Darshans because I am officially enlightened - I've got a letter from Osho that says that I am a Sambuddha. That means that I have an official title, of being enlightened. Some critical people might say 'Oh you got a letter...'. But the fact is, I got a letter and they didn't so it makes me more enlightened than they are! So... both laugh... if people want to measure me on the enlightenment barometer I've got the highest mark (laughs) officially!
You call Osho 'the Master of Masters'. Besides that, he was your friend. What makes him so special for you, compared with other famous spiritual masters?
I am convinced that around the world, there are as many masters as there are messed-up people – because that's the balance of energy that happens - ying and yang. So, you have all these masters and all these people who are in trouble. Only a few masters can express themselves and reach everybody and that makes them a master of masters. Osho talked to the whole world with his eloquence and his speech and his concepts and his vision of everything. He is absolutely unique. He predicted the AIDS epidemic and he said to sannyasins 'Be careful!' before AIDS really hit the world. He tried to protect his people.
To be a master of masters you also have to be able also to see the future and I am amazed how he saw into the future. He didn't want a religion created after him because he didn't want people going to sleep again spiritually - doing rituals and so on. He wanted people to learn to become masters of themselves. So, he insisted that there should be no religion after him - no worship after him, or anything like that. It upset a lot of Indians - they were used to this 'pie in the sky' God concept. He didn't want that. He could have had it. He set it up so that all that's going on in Pune today will be there for hundreds and hundreds of years. I see how ingenious his vision was: 'Don't worship me, don't suck my toe. Find the master inside of you and when you find that - man, let's be friends'. I saw that in him. He was real.
In his last Hindi lecture he said 'Forgive me and forget me'. That was the last thing he said to the Indians. I think he was saying: 'Forgive me for not being your religion - your God. That's not my purpose on this Earth. When I am gone forget me. Do your own thing. Don't cling to me. Don't use me as an excuse not to see yourself.' So he had a master vision and that makes him a master of masters.
I love that about him. He always wanted people to use their self awareness - to find out who they were. He always supported everyone to have a vision like that. That makes him a master of masters. He had so much love and he wanted to reach so many people in the world. He knew that what he was saying will go on and on for centuries from now. It's priceless - it's value, its truth - the essence.
So you would say that Osho's message to the world was to find the master inside your self?
Self awareness, love, responsibility.
That's what we are teaching here at the Humaniversity. I believe that everybody should visit the Osho Humaniversity at least once in their life. What makes Osho Humaniversity and our way of working with people, so unique according to you?
Me, my love for Osho and all my friends, the staff - who support me. And the bottom line, which is unconditional love.
Yeah - we love everybody who walks into the door.
Well we try (both laugh)
Ok, we come to the final question. What would world peace look like for you right now, if you had the possibility to create instant change?
How we live at the Humaniversity is a model for the world - I look at how we choose to live together, how we resolve conflicts, how we support each other. And the goal of friendship - it's like the cement for everything that we do. World peace would look like how we live at the Humaniversity right now. Yeah, really. There is the yin and yang. We work with all of it and we always bring it to a positive direction. It requires a willingness to love - to want to resolve whatever is wrong - the genuine 'let's do something together and make it happen' approach. That's what we have here. If something is 'off' we try to do something about it. And that's what peace is about- the willingness, care, love, and a big sense of responsibility.
I like to say we send 'change agents' around the world and it's true. People who leave Humaniversity affect other people, man. They affect their parents, they affect their kids, their dogs, and they clean their house. They say hello and they hug. People say to them: 'You've changed, man!' We are a good place. We choose to live together, work together, be friends together and have a common purpose. We're trying to create world peace- that's what we are doing - that's the end result of our work. It starts with you and your relationships and then it moves out from there. It's one continuous resolution: trying again and again and again.
I would like to have world peace in my lifetime... I realize that that's almost a juvenile fantasy. But if I look at the Humaniversity as a nation, we are happy, we are a great model. Instead of destroying each other we are looking for solutions, for everyone.
Is there anything else that you would like to say?
In the heathen tradition, the word 'festival' meant 'fest - i - val'. 'Fest' means party, 'i' indicates the genitals - it is a symbol of the male phallus and sperm, and 'val' means selection. So festival was a party where you would select a genital - in heathen times! I am looking forward to this festival with all my friends in Germany!
Thank you very much and have a good time.