The Times of India, Nov. 11, 2002
PUNE: Big changes are silently taking place at the Osho Commune in Pune where the Commune authorities have begun dismantling the much-revered Buddha Hall and opened new facilities such as a pyramidshaped auditorium and a hotellike ‘Guesthouse’.
While the nine-storey black Pyramid is described by the Commune authorities and rebel sanyasins as the realisation of Osho’s last wish, there are sharp differences between the two over the dismantling of the Buddha Hall.
Constructed in 1975 at the Koregaon Park Commune, thousands of Osho sanyasins have strong emotional attachment with the Buddha Hall.
It was in this large, circular hall with a canvas dome, marble flooring and seating capacity for over 1,000 people that many visitors had their first glimpse of Osho. This was where Osho gave discourses and initiated disciples into meditation for three years till his death on January 19, 1990.
Firm in their belief that Osho was no ordinary “guru” but a rare, enlightened, self-realised soul, a number of Osho sanyasins want this hall to be preserved as a memorial.
Despite their appeals, the Commune authorities have proceeded with dismantling of the hall and since November 1, the daily meditations have now moved to the newly-constructed Pyramid auditorium.
Although the Commune authorities were officially silent on this development despite repeated attempts by TNN to elicit a response, officials have confirmed the dismantling work is in progress. “The hall was a temporary structure and the roof was beginning to cave in slowly… It had to be pulled down,” a commune official said while speaking to a TNN.
Former Commune spokesperson Chaitanya Keerti, who has been openly critical of the dismantling of the hall, told TNN on Monday that a number of sanyasins have started writing to Union tourism minister Vinod Khanna (a former Oshoite himself) “to do something to protect it.”
The sanyasins are also discussing other options such as moving court, Keerti said. “The podium and the floor should not be allowed to be demolished at any cost,” Keerti said, emphasising the spiritual significance of the hall to Osho sanyasins.
Meanwhile, the opening of the pyramid-shaped Osho auditorium has been officially announced by the Commune in its November issue of the Osho Times Asia edition.
“The last item on the list of projects Osho left for the physical expansion of the Commune has just been completed,” Osho Times editors have said in their magazine.