It is Fitting that I should write a foreword for Shunyo’s book, for it is I, as she puts it,
who started her off on her adventure and waved goodbye as she boarded
the plane to India seventeen years ago. She was to become an intimate disciple of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who became known as
Osho (Zen Master) shortly before he died in January 1990.
This is a story of what it's actually like, in our lifetimes, for a Westerner
to tread the path of the bhakti, the way of devotion...to seek, recognize, and
follow one's true Teacher — the gateway to one's own enlightenment. He
may not be your master or mine, but in Shunyo’s limpid telling, the truth
becomes abundantly clear in the old saying: All pathways with heart lead to
the summit of the same mountain — and the nearer they are to the top, the
more they resemble each other.
In Shunyo's case, her path was the notorious "sex guru" of the popular
press, thumber of his nose at the establishment values, amasser of Rolls
Royces and tens of thousands of uninhibitedly joyful red-robed sannyasins.
The guru who was unceremoniously deported, vilified by the media, his
Oregon Ashram crushed, was then — in ill health, with a few close disciples
— hounded by the U.S. government from nation to nation for a year until
returning to India where he died shortly afterwards of unclear causes.
For fifteen years Shunyo devoted herself to following Osho's pathway
to enlightenment, as well as to washing his clothes and caring for his basic
needs. She was always the "quiet one," the "Mary Magdalene" of the long-
A dark Celtic beauty. from the wilds of Cornwall, Shunyo danced,
looked for love and meaning, and strived to make a living in the flower-
child years of London. In 1975 she abandoned everything and went to
Poona, India, to see if Osho matched up to his writings. He did. He
renamed her Chetana. And much later, shortly before he died, he renamed
her again: "Shunyo" — which she rather proudly explains means "Zero."
This is the diary of the roller-coaster ride of her inner and outer adventures, which proved to be both life and sanity threatening yet profoundly
After six years in Poona, Shunyo accompanied Osho when he visited
America. She was washing his clothes for him in Oregon during the
explosive years of ascent to international attention and infamy. She shared
with him being shackled in chains and imprisoned in North Carolina (with
no charge against her) and finally being deported — with no explanation.
The ailing, fragile Osho, with a few intimates, was hounded from nation to
nation, seeking refuge under constant threats and harassment. This vulnerable and astonishingly special family of people experienced years of hatred
and rejection, on an international scale, before braving the return home to
India — which Osho had last left under a political cloud. At Bombay airport
they were nearly crushed by the tumultuous welcoming crowd.
Shunyo was with him over the following years, as he withered quickly —
in body, but not in light — of a fatal, wasting disease, which was unanimously diagnosed by various independent sources as resulting from thallium poi-
soning, administered while in the jails of America. It was in these final
months that Osho, as he was now called, released Shunyo into the understanding that she had really been following her own path all along, and it
was now, like her prose and her heart, clearer than ever.
I'm sure you'll recognize this book as truly written from the heart. It has
three powerful things going for it. First: it describes the inner path of a 20th
century bhakti with such innocence and literacy that it speaks to everyone
who has ever tried going inwards regardless of their path.
Second: for those who haven't, and wonder what all this "enlighten-
ment" bit is about anyway, it's a record of what it's actually like to be a high
mountaineer of the often cynically referred to "consciousness movement" of
the last thirty years, a fly on the wall at one of the most interesting events
of our time, and witness to the perennial mustering of the dark forces of
ignorance against the candles of predictive clarity.
Third: because Shunyo's path happens to have been the man who cast
as long a shadow as any cult leader recently in the popular imagination, her
tale is a sobering and valuable contribution to our time. And anyway, on
looking back, who in history is more interesting than those who lived ideas
which cast the longest shadows, and caught the greatest flack in their own
A Woodcutter used to go into the woods every day. Sometimes he had to remain
hungry because it was raining, sometimes it was too hot, sometimes
it was too cold.
A mystic lived in the woods. He watched the woodcutter growing old,
sick, hungry, working hard the whole day. He said, "Listen, why don't you
go a little further?"
The woodcutter said, "What am I going to get a little further? More
wood? Unnecessarily carrying that wood for miles?"
The mystic said, "No. If you go a little further, you will find a copper
mine. You can take the copper into the city, and that will be enough for
seven days. You need not come every day to cut the wood."
The man thought: "Why not give it a try?"
He went in and found the mine. And he was so happy. He came back
and fell at the feet of the mystic.
The mystic said, "Don't rejoice too much right now. You have to go a
little deeper into the woods."
"But," he said, "what is the point? Now I have got seven days’ food."
The mystic said, "Still..."
But the man said, "I will lose the copper mine if I go further."
He said, "You go. You certainly will lose the copper mine, but there is a
silver mine. And whatsoever you can bring will be enough for three
"The mystic has proved right about the copper mine," the woodcutter
thought. "Perhaps he is also right about the silver mine." And he went in
and found the silver mine.
And he came dancing, and he said, "How can I pay you? My gratitude
knows no bounds."
The mystic said, "But there is a gold mine just a few steps deeper."
The woodcutter was hesitant. In fact, he was such a poor man, that
having a silver mine...he had never dreamed of it.
But if the mystic is saying it, who knows? — he may still be right. And he
found the gold mine. Now it was enough to come once a year.
But the mystic said, "It will be a long time — one year from now you will
be coming here. | am getting old — J may not be here, I may be gone. So I
have to tell you, don't stop at the gold mine. Just a little more..."
But the man said, "Why? What is the point? You show me one thing,
and the moment I get it, you immediately tell me to drop that and go
ahead! Now I have found the gold mine!"
The mystic said, "But there is a diamond mine just a few feet deeper in
The woodcutter went that very day, and he found it. He brought many
diamonds, and he said, "This will be enough for my whole life."
The mystic said, "Now perhaps we may not meet again, so my last message is: now that you have enough for your whole life, GO IN! Forget the
forest, the copper mine, the silver mine, the gold mine, the diamond mine.
Now I give you the ultimate secret, the ultimate treasure that is within you.
Your outer needs are fulfilled. Sit the way I am sitting here."
The poor man said, "Yes, I was wondering... you know all these things —
why do you go on sitting here? The question has arisen again and again.
And I was just going to ask, "Why don't you get all those diamonds lying
there? Only you know about them. Why do you go on sitting under this
The mystic said, "After finding the diamonds, my master told me, ‘Now
sit under this tree and GO IN."
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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