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Chapter 11: Session 11

The queen. [Devageet stifles a sneeze] Now, this really distracts me. Do you know, Devageet, that in India people believe that when you sneeze, the devil enters into you? So when they sneeze, to prevent the devil from coming, they say, with a click [Osho snaps his fingers with a click] “..Om shanti, shanti, shanti.Om shanti, shanti, shanty, Om shanty, shanti, shanti..” Thrice you have to click with your fingers. I don’t know what you call this click with the fingers; whatsoever it is, the Indians actually do it.

I don’t know whether the devil is prevented or not, but whatsoever you were doing is not disturbed. Now you are a Jew, not a Hindu, so at least you only sneezed and did not go through the whole Hindu procedure. Otherwise I would really have gone sane, and I am so afraid of sanity. But I am not saying anything wrong. I mean “sanity”.I am so afraid of sanity.

I can feel your bewilderment. No need for you to be bewildered. I am an insane man afraid of being sane again; and that procedure could drive anybody sane. But you are a Jew, thank God! Like an Englishman, you tried hard to prevent the sneeze; even that I can understand. An Englishman prevents everything possible, even a sneeze, particularly when you are in the presence of someone who pretends to be holier-than-thou.

But relax, I don’t pretend to be holier than you. You can sneeze joyously, then it will not distract me. It may even give me a few hints for the story I am telling you. Back to the work. Enough distraction from this sneeze.

As I was saying, my village belonged to a small state, very small, Bhopal. It was not part of the British Raj. Of course the queen of Bhopal used to visit us once in a while. I was talking about the time when I was present, and laughed at the ugliness of the woman and the beauty of her mask. Her burqa was really beautiful; it was studded with sapphires. She was so impressed by my grandmother that she invited her to the coming yearly celebration in the capital. My grandmother said, “It is impossible for me to go because I can’t leave my child uncared for for so many days.”

In Hindi “my child” is a tremendously beautiful phrase, mera beta; it means “my child, my boy.”

The queen said, “There is no problem: you can bring him too. I also love him.”

I could not understand why she should love me. I hadn’t done anything wrong. Why should I be punished? Just the very idea of being loved by this woman was as if a monster was crawling on you. At that moment she looked exactly like a monster, full of sticky stuff. Perhaps she liked to chew gum - she was all gum. In my life I have never been afraid, except of that woman. But the adventure of going to the capital as a guest of the queen, and staying at her beautiful palace, of which I had heard a thousand and one stories, was too much. Although I never wanted to see the woman again, I went with my grandmother to the yearly celebration.

I remember the palace. It is one of the most beautiful in India. It has five hundred acres of woodland and a five hundred acre lake, one thousand acres in all. The queen was good to us, as her guests, but I confess, I avoided seeing her face as much as I could. Perhaps she is still alive, because she was not very old then.

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