Sw Deva Ojas (Dutch)

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(Theo C.C. de Ronde, MA, MSc.)
Receiving sannyas, 1977, May 28
In Rajneeshpuram, 1984
Ma Anand Chinmayo and Ojas in Rajneeshpuram, 1984
In commune De Stad Rajneesh, 1986
At a climate-march, Amsterdam
At TV program Pauw, 2018, April 6
MA in Theology, former Franciscan monk, former Secretary of the National Council for Socio-Cultural Training, Netherlands.
Took sannyas on May 28, 1977.
Moved to Poona full time from the end of 1977.
My story
My first meeting with Osho happened in 1977, when I was 40 years old.
Born in a Catholic family, already very young I became a Franciscan monk and priest, got an MA Theology and became in the ’60 known as a progressive, Marxist rebel. But because in the ’70 the traditional, orthodox Catholicism became dominant, I felt there was no place for me in this church anymore.
So I did a new study and became MSc in the field of coaching, counseling and crisis management. That gave me a chance to get a job as official for socio-cultural training in the Netherlands.
A great job, but I missed real spiritual inspiration. So everywhere I was looking for spiritual masters and in the winter of 1976 I got the first glimpses of Osho. Strange enough, not by reading one of his books, but by the explosive energy of my first dynamic meditation. The seed of witnessing was planted in me and would only grow and blossom in the rest of my life.
Poona 1
This meditation really changed my life. I could not wait anymore to be with Osho. And that happened in 28 may 1977 when he gave me sannyas. Back home my colleagues accepted that I did my work with a new name, a mala and in orange clothes, but the longing to be with Osho was too strong. So in autumn 1977 I left for Poona and became a worker in Vrindavan.
That was a critical period of ‘hell and heaven’, but looking back I feel very grateful because it gave me the opportunity to dive deep in myself and discover the power of meditation and love. After two years my job was changed and I started working as a cleaner. This was very relaxing and I would like to stay there forever, up to the moment that I got unexpected an invitation to come to the Netherlands and be a guest speaker on a national tv-symposium about the ‘churches and new religious movements’ .
Osho gave me a beautiful goodbye (see Notes) and within a few days I was in the Netherlands, met my family and lots of old friends and spoke about Osho and meditation on the symposium.
Because Osho moved in those days to USA I didn’t go back to Poona anymore. Then Swami Anand Veeresh (founder of Osho Humaniversity) invited me to help organize the international Orange Full Moon party for all the ‘lost sannyasins’. Veeresh and me became very good friends and then he invited me to become a Tutor on his international training institute, which I do up to now with great pleasure.
In 1982 I joined ‘the Stad Rajneesh’, the big sannyas commune In Amsterdam. There I worked for the Rajneesh Times and was involved in contacting the Dutch government, among other things about the report ‘ New Religious Movements’.
In 1983, on the Festival in Rajneeshpuram, Ma Anand Sheela asked me, perhaps because of my MA Theology, to write an introductory paper on Rajneeshism. I wrote a paper on what then was called ‘worshipping’: ‘Meditation, Joy, Trust and Love in Daily Life’. But when Rajneeshism later became declared an official religion, I hardly could recognize anything of my paper.
In 1984 the VPRO (free-spirited part of national TV) made a documentary about the World of sannyasins, called "The New Man" with interviews of sannyasins, me included. The movie was for a while a big hype in the Netherlands.
In January 1985 I was asked to join the commune in Rajneeshpuram and became in the Truck-farm ‘mama of the tomatoes’ (only women were in charge, so the few men were also called ‘mama’) where I had a great time. The only problem was that I had to leave my partner Ma Anand Chinmayo in Amsterdam, but she joined me in September 1985.
Then a few days later Sheela left the Ranch. Since then the whole situation changed and we both experienced the destruction of Rajneeshpuram. Ma Prem Hasya, who followed Sheela as secretary of Osho, then asked me to become part of the Press Team and there I got another glimpse of Osho’s wisdom. He invited the officials of the USA to start an investigation, and at the same time he gave us the message to ‘keep all journalists of Bild, Der Spiegel a.o. busy, so we can stay in the spotlights and the government of America cannot do secretly ugly things against us.’ We experienced lots of situations of the officials of FBI and others which made clear that Osho was right with this advice.
But because of the intention of the American government to destroy the commune, nobody could prevent that on 29 October Osho was captured, condemned via an ‘Alford plea’ and sent out of the country for 5 years. For us this was a very painful, chaotic and for lots of us traumatic situation. But soon it became clear that we could not live in Rajneeshpuram anymore. As District Attorney Turner later admitted: ‘Our intention was to destroy the community and this was our way.’
Poona 2
Osho went on a World-Tour and Chinmayo and me went back to Amsterdam to our private house. From there, every day I went to the commune De Stad Rajneesh to work on the Dutch edition of Rajneesh Times. But on a certain moment Hasya asked me to become the coordinator of the commune. Not easy, because we lived together with about 200 sannyasins, most of us had to find new work in the city and the indebtedness was heavy. But we lived in inspiring solidarity, enjoyed life and managed to get always everything ready.
At the end of 1989 we heard the sad news that Nirvano had died. I phoned the ashram and they told that there was no celebration, so I knew enough about the cause. Then I told Chinmayo that we had to go to Poona, because i felt that now Osho would also be dying soon.
So we came in the middle of January and we were just able to see Osho once more, so fragile and so full of joy. I never have seen him like this. A few days later, on 19th January, Amrito came to tell us the shocking news that Osho had left his body, and that he will be brought to the Buddhall and then already the same night will be cremated. For me the pain and shock were immense, but a few hours later with all sannyasins we had to carry our beloved Master to the burning ghats, singing songs until deep in the night.
At four o’çlock I suddenly felt shivering, because I was only wearing the white shirt of the meeting of seven o’clock. So I told Chinmayo that I was going to my locker near the Buddhahall to get more clothes. There I met Ma Hasya, who asked me to become part of the Press Team ‘because now it will be very busy’. I said yes and she brought me to Lao Tzu and showed me the place where Osho had lived.
And Hasya was right. Already very early in the morning the first journalists came and the whole day we were busy to show them the place where Osho had lived and to answer their questions. On that day two press conferences were given and in the second press conference Amrito said: ‘The last words of Osho were addressed to Jayesh: I leave you my dream.’ With these words the seeds for the future of our sannyas world were planted.
Going back to Amsterdam lots of sannyasins left the commune and I had to finish De Stad Rajneesh, but luckily we managed to do it in such a way that we could retain Mevlana as a place for a small community.
Years later I had time to settle with all the experiences which I enjoyed in Poona 1, Rajneeshpuram and Poona 2. Sannyasin friends asked me to write an e-book about this time. And so I did. The e-book is called Kan een gekooide vogel zingen? (Can a Caged Bird Sing?).
Active in society
Inspired by Osho and his meditations we had to find our way back in the society. Because of our diploma’s Chinmayo and me could start with Fenix, an office for counseling and coaching. But there was more to be done: because of political problems in 1994 we started the Green Party in our part of Amsterdam, and there I functioned a few years as group chairman and alderman.
Afterwards with friends we started www.ecodorp.nl , an organisation for eco-villages in The Netherlands, and a few years long I functioned as a chairman. Then friends asked Chinmayo and me to participate in the board of [www.eco-trust.nl] , an organization to support poor kinds in a ecologically destroyed environment in the South of India. It was an inspiring time and of course we participated in 2019 in the People’s Climate March: fighting for a ‘new economy and better climate control’.
We could be active as well in the Dutch sannyas movement. A few years before Osho left his body, in 1988, we created a foundation Stichting Vrienden van Osho, Amsterdam to spread Osho’s message in the Netherlands by organizing events, publishing a monthly magazine and Osho’s lectures on regional TV. I was the chair for 20 years.
And then there was a surprise. The VPRO asked us to participate in another documentary with sannyasins who played a leading role in the first film The New Man on the question: how was their life after the destruction of Rajneeshpuram? In 2004 this documentary was aired on national TV: De meester en het echte leven.
Afterwards, at different times I was asked on TV to explain situations in the world of the sannyasins. And when in april 2019 the documenatary ‘Wild, Wild Country’ by Netflix was hype in the Netherlands, Sugit, Abhilasha and me were asked to give commentary in the Dutch Jeroen Pauw TV Show, from 40:37.
Enjoying here and now
Now, aged 83, I look back at the hills and valleys of my journey with Osho. I feel very grateful that life gave me the opportunity to meet Osho and to experience meditation with him. The effects of Dynamic Meditation are deeply rooted in my body and heart. I still enjoy teaching therapy and meditation at the Osho Humaniversity and feel inspired by what happens in the Osho Meditation Resort in Pune and by the creative ways with which sannyasins write in Osho News. The core message of Osho, ‘witnessing is the key of my sannyas, the master key’, keeps me alive and kicking in the here and now, connected with friends all over the world.

Contact Details

The Netherlands
ojas.de.ronde hetnet.nl

2011 : Kan een gekooide vogel zingen? (Can a Caged Bird Sing?)
see also
Osho giving sannyas to Ojas: The Wild Geese and the Water ~ 14, chapter title "The Bird Has Flown", 24 Februari 1981
An interview with Ojas on Osho and dynamic meditation on YouTube
LoveOsho podcast E076 Ojas - interview on 12 May 2020
TV film : VPRO - De nieuwe mens (1984)
TV film : VPRO - De meester en het echte leven (2004)
Ojas' story How Osho came into my life : Hoe Osho in mijn leven kwam (Dutch) at vrienden-van-osho.nl
Ojas at Humaniversity
Ojas de Ronde about Osho (part 1) on YouTube
Ojas de Ronde about Osho and Alexander Smit on YouTube
Ojas de Ronde about Ramana Maharshi (and more) on YouTube
Ojas, Ma Veet Abhilasha and Sw Anand Sugit on Dutch Jeroen Pauw TV show , from 40:37
Ojas : Witnessing is the key, article on OshoNews
Blogs on meditation