ADAM OSBORNE: PERSONAL REMEMBRANCES
CHILDHOOD, ADULTHOOD AND THE MAHARSHI
Sometime in the spring of 1982 and a year or so after being gone two years in the Peace Corps, a very good friend of mine, a onetime philosophy major that I had known in college, but somehow now having morphed into a big time computer geek, contacted me.
She told me the man she loved was on the waiting list for a heart transplant at Stanford University and that she had moved to a small studio apartment in Campbell, California to work in Silicon Valley and be within driving distance to see him. She wanted to know if there was some way I might be able to console him as he was wrought with anxiety almost to the point of a total breakdown --- inturn adversely impacting his health and preparedness for the transplant. Before a new heart with his match was available he died.
The several days of my intended stay turned into several weeks, then several months. By then I had to leave. One night just before I left, at some function or the other, I looked across the room and made a strangely unusual eye contact with a man I was sure I knew somehow. Asking my friend if she knew who the man might be she told me he was some Silicon Valley computer geek multi-quadzillionaire. While it is true growing up I crossed paths more than once with Howard Hughes I would be hard pressed to say I knew him. Combine that with the unexpected death of my one time millionaire friend Lance Reventlow some ten years prior, who at the time I knew him owned one of only two fully aluminum bodied Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing coupes in the US, and having no reason to think I might know any kind of a millionaire now, let alone a multi-quadzillionaire, computer geek or otherwise, I let it pass.(see)
Some nights later my friend was hanging out in a place down the street from her studio apartment called the Garrett, adjecent to the Pruneyard in Campbell, eating a pizza and quaffing down a few beers with friends when the same man stepped up to her. He told her he had tracked her down through mutual acquaintances and was sure that her friend, me, and he knew each other as kids. He wanted to know, implying that it was important, if she thought it possible if such could be the case. She told him since I had moved around and lived with so many families so often as a child --- and her not knowing any of the specifics --- she could not say one way or the other with any amount of certainty.
When she caught up with me I told her it might have been possible. I also told her that even though I could not place when or how, I still had this strange feeling that night I first saw him that I knew him from someplace. Then she dropped the bombshell. He said he thought he knew me from India! I had never told my friend I had ever been to India and for the man to claim such a thing out of the blue was most startling.
In those days, because of a series of mitigating circumstances surrounding me being there, all or most of which, for the readers, I have since fully articulated in SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: The Last American Darshan, I pretty much kept mum about India. As for me being in India, the early leg work for being there was put into place long before I ever entered kindergarten, primarily because my mother's health began to deteriorate --- eventually reaching a point that she was unable to care for herself let alone my two brothers and me. Out of pure necessity my father began placing the three of us kids under the care of others. First as needed using day-by-day babysitters, then overnight with grandparents or neighbors, then for whole weekends. One day a couple who happened to be visiting neighbors suggested having one of us boys come live with them until things improved. My father agreed and for whatever reason they selected me. No sooner had I moved in and started a new school than the couple took me, without my father's consent, to India, not returning until sometime around the start of summer --- in the process missing the whole last half of the school year.
I gathered up what few photographs of myself that I had as a child and flew back up to Silicon Valley see him.
Because he had met my friend at the Garrett and I knew where it was located, we set it as a meeting place. As soon as he saw the pictures of me in my youth he knew I was the one he knew as a kid in India. Then he told me his story. His name was Adam Osborne and as things stood then and now he was sort of a precursor to the eventually much more financially successful Steve Jobs. Osborne and I were basically the exact same age. When he was very young his father, a British subject, worked in Thailand. He and his family just happened to be on vacation in India when the war broke out. His father returned to his job in Thailand, but, because of how unsettled everything was, he had Adam and his mother and two sisters go to the south of India to stay with friends. Shortly after returning to Thailand his father was placed into an internment camp by the Japanese and not released until the war ended. In the meantime Adam grew up in Tiruvannamalai and the ashram of the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.
(please click image)
Although I was truly not able to recall anything he told me about the two of us being in India together as kids, again because of the aforementioned mitigating circumstances, he said he remembered me quite well because I was the only anglo boy his age he ever really met in his early years. He said he could not remember if our time together was long or short, if it lasted just days or stretched into weeks, but he did remember, even though he was not doing meditation specifically like I was, the two of us still found time to run all over the place getting in trouble --- even to the point of being admonished by the Maharshi. He also told me we had participated in Giri Valam, circumambulation of the holy hill Arunachala, although he did not recall if we completed the walk or who we went with. Neither too, did he remember if the two of us ever climbed to the top or visited the caves.(see)
In SRI RAMANA MAHARSHI: The Last American Darshan, refering to the works of Sri C.R. Rajamani titled Face To Face With Sri Ramana Maharshi, Rajamani, alluding to me as a child in India, I write:
"At the ashram Ramana turned and said, 'Go with your parents. I will always be with you.' Ramana knew, as I did, the couple I was with were not my parents."
In so saying, in the text of the Last American Darshan I lay it out, mostly by inference, that Ramana knew the couple were not my real parents through a certain level or spiritual aspect of his "abilities." And I still feel such may well be the case. However, not to play down any abilities Ramana may or may not have had, spiritual or otherwise, when Osborne and I met at the Garrett many years later as grown-ups he told me that as kids I had informed him that the couple I was with were NOT actually my parents. Truth be told, in Ramana's court in the ashram nothing escaped him. Whatever happened was brought to his attention either through attrition, a genuine confidant, or told him by someone hoping to gain something. Osborne's mother was a well respected member of Ramana's inner circle and it could be in general conversation the fact that the couple were not my parents may have filtered up from son to mother to Ramana.
Osborne also said I told him at first I did not want to go to India with the couple and fought hard not to do so. After arrival, however, he said I had a much different view. When it was time to go, I did not want to leave.
On December 21, 1937, long before I went to or was taken to India OR either Osborne or I was born, the Disney movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released. There was a song in the movie called "Whistle While You Work," a song I remember quite well in that my mother sang (and whistled) it well into the time of her being sick. The year after Snow White was released The Wizard of Oz came out. Sometime after their release but before my trip to India, I saw both movies. Even though Osborne and I were both little kids and I may or may not have given him the title of either movie at the time as a kids, he remembered them as a grown man and the connections I made to them.
I only say so because I want you, the reader, to know that even though I do not remember at what time in my before going to India life I saw either movie specifically, that is, at what age or when --- mostly because seeing either of them must not have been tied to a memorable date like a birthday or something --- I did remember the song from Snow White and my mother singing it. So too, I remembered "The Wizard of Oz" well enough to tell Osborne something that stuck with him the rest of his life. Years later, as a young adult, it dawned on him out of nowhere one day when it popped into his head that his name Osborne and what happened to me turned out for me, to be a new life. I was Oz born. According to what he remembered, I had told him about "this movie" I had seen that in the beginning started out black and white, but when the little girl in it ended up in a magical land the world had turned into color. That was why I told him I did not want to leave --- because while there, in the ashram, for me, the world had TURNED INTO COLOR.
(please click either graphic)
"It has been said, especially so by those who by their very nature carry a certain amount of credibility and admiration ahead of themselves such as Adam Osborne as well as his father, Arthur Osborne, who was the highly respected and well thought of author of over a dozen Sri Ramana books chronicling almost all stages of the holy man's life, many face-to-face and written on the scene, that they and their words were their bond. Adam's father moved to the Ramana ashram just at the end of World War II after being held in a Japanese interment camp, remaining at the ashram until his death in 1970. Adam arrived at the ashram before his father, staying with his mother starting from a young toddler to age 12, a time period that easily overlapped the same period of time that William Samuel was there.
Taking Adam Osborne at his own word as found in the quote below, and with no valid reason not to do so, according to Osborne, Samuel, while at the ashram, participated in a once a month ashram ritual that fell on the night of the full moon called Giri Valam, the circumambulation of the holy hill Arunachala. Samuel did so during the time he was there on the night of the full moon in April 1944. It is quite clear by Osborne's own recollections that the young boy with the Code-O-Graph was there at that same time as well because Osborne has related that the two of them, along with Samuel, participated in Giri Valam.
RETURN TO THE MONASTERY
The date of the full moon in April 1944 was for me a very important piece of information Osborne passed on. His comment on the movies and the quip about being Oz born was clever too. However, he did make a rather odd comment about when he first saw me that night at the function in Silicon Valley and how he thought he knew me --- especially so recognizing me after the passage of so many years. He said his interest peaked regarding who I was initially because he had the strangest feeling as a young boy he had seen me at the Ramana ashram alright, although not as the young boy as I asserted me to be, but instead, as a full grown adult --- looking all the same as I still did, except maybe twenty or so years younger. The problem with such a scenario to have transpired in his own words was that it would have to have happened before he left the ashram at age 11 to go to school in England because after that he never went back until he himself was much older, and when he did it was for the end. As for Osborne seeing me at the ashram as a grown adult rather than a young boy, well at first he was very adamant about it. (see)
Reshuffling through the photographs of me in my youth I handed him earlier, he knew for sure I was the one he knew as a kid in India. At the same time, seemingly incongruently perplexed and shaking his head in an attempt to disregard any further thoughts he may have had as being wrong regarding me being an adult, he telegraphed his thoughts a thousand miles an hour in another direction, substantiating only what could have meant that the two of us WERE kids together. In doing so he brought up the most obscure fact I could ever think of, that at the ashram as a young boy, amongst the few things I had with me, was what he called a code maker thing that looked all the same as a badge. What he was referring to was a Captain Midnight Code-O-Graph that at the time I carried around with me everywhere I went. In that for both of us our situations for being in India was such that it was not under our own control, neither of us really had anything like toys or similar things typical kids our age might have so to speak. The Code-O-Graph was a huge exception to that aspect for both of our lives. He said he remembered it fondly because the badge sort of connected him back to a normal childhood in a sense.(see) Apparently as kids at the ashram I would write a coded message using the badge, give him both the message and badge and he would decipher it. In turn he would then compose a new message or answer and give it to me to decipher. When I told him after all the years I still had the same decoder he could hardly believe it. The next time we met I brought the decoder with me and it was easy to see when he held the badge it sent him back to another time, his eyes even filling with tears.
(for larger size click image, then click again)
In silence Osborne toyed with the dial for the longest time, turning it back and forth and spinning it around as though he was making or deciphering a code saying, "This was the first computer I ever held."
Handing the Code-O-Graph back he interjected as well that he was certain he remembered the badge as having instead of a photograph of Captain Midnight, a photograph of me, looking all the same as he did when we were both kids --- in essence, regarding the photograph, repeating almost the exact same thing my younger brother alluded to when he saw the decoder after many, many years.(see)
In the handful of meetings that transpired between Osborne and I as adults, Osborne, as shown by his eyes even filling with tears, presented a very sympathetic face toward me because of my childhood plight, much more so than I think was typical for him during that period of his life, or possibly at any time in his life.
When we were kids at the ashram his father was not in the picture, being, whether Osborne was aware of it or not, in a Japanese internment camp in Thailand. Even so he did have his mother and siblings, and staying at the Ramana ashram had a certain idyllic atmosphere around it. Read the quote below written by Adam Osborne's sister Katya as found in the introduction to My Life and Quest, the autobiography of sorts by their father Arthur found in a bunch of boxes and published 30 years after his death, then compare it with what Michael Swaine has to say in an article further down and published around the same time:
"The years after he came home from the war were, for us children, a great joy. Our almost mythical daddy was back with us and we revelled in it. He brought a new perspective into our lives. My mother had struggled alone throughout the war with three very small children and an uncertain future. She was, for us, the sole authority and it was sometimes difficult for her to cope with our constant ability to get up to mischief. With the arrival of my father our horizons broadened. We loved his wisdom and his innate sense of justice. We loved his subtle sense of humour and the way he would tease our mother with an absolutely straight face until we all burst out laughing. . . her too. Looking back I sense that the pleasure my parents felt at the end of their long separation brought laughter into our lives."(source)
After Adam's father returned following the end of the war, early on things were pretty good --- or so it sounds according to Katya --- which brings up what I mean by Osborne being so sympathetic to MY childhood plight. He was sympathetic because of what happened to him as an older child. As an adult he was able to look back at my childhood situation and compare it with his own, and how similar they turned out relative to how he saw it in later years. An article in the July 2003 issue of Dr. Dobbs' Journal, written by Michael Swaine sums the situation and comparison up quickly:
"Those early years in India had, in many ways, been idyllic. Then, at age 11, Adam was sent to live with relatives in England in order to get a proper British education. With scant money for flights halfway around the world, Adam and his family saw little of one another for many years. He later told friends that he felt like a neglected Cinderella among the favored stepbrothers. He never forgave his parents for sending him away. He grew up fast in England and grew away from the family.
"When he came to the United States to earn a doctorate in Chemical Engineering, he was an ambitious and driven man. Most of his time was spent thinking about business, and the rest was spent in pleasures of which his parents would have disapproved. Both the business focus and the sybaritic pleasures were probably a reaction against his upbringing. Was he also driven to prove himself worthy of his parents' love? And at the same time to reject them and their values by achieving success in the way of life that they had rejected? And were his charisma and his ability to read customers both aspects of one trait a tremendous need to be loved?"(source)
In the opening sentence at the top of the page you may recall I write that sometime in the spring of 1982 a friend contacted me which in turn led to me visiting her in northern California. I then go on to say the several days of my intended stay turned into several weeks, then several months. During that period, after Osborne saw me at some function or the other and thought he recognized me, he contacted my friend who put the two of us together. The next year, in 1983 Inc. Magazine, in a personal interview with Osborne, the author writes Osborne as relating the followng:
"The moment of truth -- or, at least, one of them -- came in July of 1982, a heady time for his company, which was already running in excess of $100 million in annual revenues. Osborne looked in the mirror and saw a natty, middle-aged, mustachioed, somewhat gaunt but still thick-haired visage. On the surface, it was-the face of a man genuinely pleased with the trappings of entrepreneurial success. (He drives the standard Silicon Valley Mercedes-Benz and lives in a house on two acres in nearby Berkeley.) Underneath that visage, however, was someone who was not as comfortable in business as fast-growth groupies assumed."(source)
Osborne's July of 1982 'moment of truth' as so mentioned in the above quote transpired less than a day or two of our meeting at the Garrett.
Ten years later, in 1992, following a decade of a continuing series of unexplainable minor but escalating life threatening and life interfering strokes, Osborne returned to be with his sister in his former stomping grounds in India. My long ago boyhood friend, the two of us being almost the exact same age, died there on March 18, 2003 at age 64. Typing this there is a deep sadness in my heart as I can still see us running across the dusty ashram grounds, barefoot, holding hands, and looking all the same as being twins, the Maharshi tolerating our antics.(see)
STEVE JOBS: INDIA, BUDDHISM, AND ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT
THE WANDERLING AND HIS HIGH SCHOOL CHUMS
THE BRITISH MOTOR MERCHANT TULAGI
PEACE CORPS ZEN
Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.
THE CODE MAKER, THE ZEN MAKER
OF SHANGRI-LA, SHAMBHALA, GYANGANJ, BUDDHISM AND ZEN
ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT IN A NUTSHELL
30 MINUTES TO ENLIGHTENMENT
CODE OF ETHICS FOR SPIRITUAL GUIDES
SPIRITUAL GUIDES: PASS OR FAIL?
FALSE GURU TEST
ON THE RAZOR'S
I had known Lance Reventlow, the heir to the Woolworth fortune, since we were both kids. He was probably around 14 years old and I was around 12 when we first met. My dad and Stepmother had gone off to Mexico and on to South America for a couple of years and parsed out my brothers and me to others to look after us. My older brother went to live with my grandmother and my younger brother went to live with a couple of which the woman of the couple was somehow known to my stepmother. My Uncle, who basically had charge of me since I was eight years old was going back to Santa Fe and after some negotiating was able to convince the couple that took my younger brother to take me as well. It didn't work out with me running away on more than one occasion. My uncle contacted my stepmother who told my uncle to put me into some kind of boys home until she got back, but not a disciplinary one like they had put my older brother in at one time, but an educational one. In the process my uncle checked out the Southern Arizona School for Boys in Tucson and took me with him. The school for boys idea didn't take hold and I ended up back with the couple after promising my uncle I would behave until other solutions were found or my stepmother returned. As it was, typically under almost all normal circumstances I would never go against a promise I made with my uncle, but, even so I didn't hold to my side of bargain for any length of time --- after all, my stepmother had returned --- and it wasn't long after I found out she had than I was on the lam again.(see)
The thing is, during my visit to the school, while my uncle was in discussion and being shown around I saw a boy sitting by himself at a table and, although later he claimed to be no kind of an artist, he was making the most fabulous pencil drawing of an open wheeled race car I had ever seen. I was always drawing pictures, mostly of planes and rocket ships, but never of race cars. I sat down next to the boy and began drawing the only race car I knew anything about, the Boyle Special that had won the 1939 and 1940 Indianapolis 500. The next thing I knew the two of us were talking on and on with the boy telling me of seeing race cars in Europe, not like the ones in the U.S. that drove around only in circles, but that raced on real roads. The boy turned out to be Lance Reventlow, the Boyle Special turned out to be a Maserati.
OF COBRAS, SCARABS, MASERATIS, AND ZEN
BOYLE MASERATI 8CTF
Hughes and Reventlow notwithstanding, there is one slight caveat one could argue, relative to my 'having no reason to think I might know any kind of a millionaire now' statement. In an oddball sort of way I knew the multi-millionaire David J. Halliburton in having met him for the first time when I was a young boy around age ten. I came in contact with him a second time years later when I crewed one summer on his cabin cruiser yacht, come marlin boat, albeit not knowing he was the owner when hired by the skipper. See:
DAVID J. HALLIBURTON
Even though in the above main text I state that the several days of my intended stay turned into several weeks, then several months and in so saying encompassed a period of maybe nine months, I wasn't there totally from day one through to my departure. During that period I was sort of operating out of the area, coming and going doing a number of things. For most of that period my friend had a day job and was mostly unavailable during working hours or being able to put several days together off over an extended span. In any case, even though I also state, that in those days I pretty much kept mum about being in India on a general basis, on a personal basis I still pursued India-based things.
While in Campbell I made a couple of trips over the coast range to a town in California's central valley called Vacaville, having done so in order to meet with a woman by the name of Jean Dunn, reputed to have been a disciple of Ramana and having sat before him in Darshan. She had only just returned from India after having studied many years under another major venerated Indian holy man, Nisargadatta Maharaj. My interest in Dunn however, was her experiences with Ramana, experiences I thought we shared at a very close in time period. She sort of skirted most of my comments without much elaboration, even when I said that I might be able to get Adam Osborne to join us in another meeting, figuring as I did that she most likely had met Osborne's mother at one time or the other. The meeting was not to be, mainly on Osborne's unavailability and busy schedule.
It should be noted, although Dunn greeted me with open arms and seemed as though she was glad to have me there, that not long after she left India and just prior to the period of time she and I were meeting on-and-off in Vacaville, her guru, Nisargadatta Maharaj, died (1981) --- which could account for some of her remoteness. For more regarding Jean Dunn from my perspective please see:
SRI RAMANA'S WESTERN DISCIPLES
ADAM OSBORNE AND STEVE JOBS
In March of 1975 a number of San Francisco Bay Area computer aficionados came together and formed a loose-knit group they eventually called the Homebrew Computer Club. In the early years the club became so popular that sometimes the meetings drew upwards of 750 participants, becoming THE major source of the latest information on computers and the movement and trading of computer parts during the infancy of the Silicon Valley high tech industry. Steve Jobs attended meetings as did Adam Osborne who hawked his book An Introduction to Microcomputers.
In the world of computer lore and history there is a story about a major clash that erupted between Osborne and Jobs just as both of their companies were beginning to make a mark. In an article on the net titled A Message For Adam by Andy Hertzfeld, Hertzfeld writes:
"In April 1981, a few members of the Mac team took off the afternoon and drove up to San Francisco to visit the seventh West Coast Computer Faire at Brooks Hall. The biggest splash at the show was the unveiling of the Osborne I, from a brand new company named Osborne Computer, which was touted as the world's first portable computer.
"The Osborne I was the brain-child of Adam Osborne, who was a well known figure in the world of early microcomputers. Adam was a technical writer who founded a publishing company to publish crucial information about microprocessors and software that was sorely lacking at the time, which was eventually sold to McGraw-Hill. He became a controversial columnist, opining on the industry from his pulpit in InfoWorld and other publications. He had a populist vision of computing, touting a no-frills, low cost, high volume approach to the business.
"In 1980, he decided to put his theories into practice, and founded the Osborne Computer Company to design, manufacture and market the Osborne 1, which was a low cost, one-piece, portable computer complete with a suite of bundled applications. He recruited Lee Felsenstein, already a microcomputing legend as the master of ceremonies of the Home Brew Computer Club, to design the hardware. Now, they were introducing the fruits of their labor at the West Coast Computer Faire, as Apple had done four years earlier."
Hertzfeld goes on to say the Mac team worked their way up to get a good look at the Osborne 1 and, after asking a few questions to one of the presenters, was approached by Osborne himself. Hertzfeld offers his view of what then transpired:
"'Oh, some Apple folks,' he addressed us in a condescending tone, 'What do you think? The Osborne 1 is going to outsell the Apple II by a factor of 10, don't you think so? What part of Apple do you work in?' "When we told him that we were on the Mac team, he started to chuckle. 'The Macintosh, I heard about that. When are we going to get to see it? Well, go back and tell Steve Jobs that the Osborne 1 is going to outsell the Apple II and the Macintosh combined!'
After the Mac team returned to Cupertino they told Jobs about their encounter with Osborne. According to Hertzfeld Jobs immediately picked up the phone and called the Osborne Computer Corporation. He told the secretary:
"Hi, this is Steve Jobs. I'd like to speak with Adam Osborne."
The secretary told Jobs that Osborne was not available, and would not be back until the next day, asking if he would like to leave a message.
"Yes", Steve replied. He paused for a second. "Here's my message. Tell Adam he's an asshole."
It has always been interesting to me that Steve Jobs would think of and call Osborne an asshole. Jobs traveled to and all over India in search of Enlightenment and a guru while all along Osborne, from a toddler to just on the cusp of being a teenager, had been raised, grew up, and been around one of the most venerated Indian holy men to ever come down the path, the Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. Although Ramana had passed Osborne's mother had been a member of his inner circle and his father had written a whole slew of top rated books on the Maharshi. You would think rather than being called an asshole that Jobs would have sought him out. As it was the guru Jobs went to India to see had passed from his earthly paradise as well. See:
NEEM KAROLI BABA
FOR MORE SEE:
STEVE JOBS: INDIA, BUDDHISM, AND ZEN ENLIGHTENMENT
ABOUT OSBORNE, GIRI VALAM, CIRCUMAMBULATION OF ARUNACHALA AND ME:
The following quote, although from the main text above, has basically been paraphrased and extrapolated from two sources, Sri Ramana's Western Disciples and Enlightened Individuals I've Met:
"He also told me we had participated in Giri Valam, circumambulation of the holy hill Arunachala, although he did not recall if we completed the walk or who we went with. Neither too, did he remember if the two of us ever climbed to the top or visited the caves."
Osborne and I kept in contact with each other on and off a little bit for a few years following our meeting. Interestingly enough during one of those short lived contacts, out of the blue, he brought up Giri Valam, circumambulation of the holy hill Arunachala and how it related to the two of us. Osborne's father had died in 1970 and Osborne told me that sometime prior to his father's death a man by the name of William Samuel had contacted him in the U.S. and expressed an interest in meeting his father. In their conversation Samuel told him that he and Osborne (the younger) had met at Ramana's ashram in India in 1944 and that during his stay, on the full moon of which he thought was April of that year, he, Osborne and another young boy and a few other people including his mother, circumabulated Arunachala. Osborne empasized the younger boy aspect with me specifically because Samuel thought, Osborne guessed, that the other boy (me) was his brother --- a twin brother --- because of our age, size, body build and look-alike curly haired mop tops.
SAMUEL THOUGHT ADAM, ABOVE LEFT, AND I WERE
TWINS BECAUSE OF OUR CURLY-HAIRED MOP TOPS
At the same time Williams was at the ashram, 1500 miles east across the sub-continent edging up along the Burmese border the Japanese launched a three divison invasion into India. Quickly outstretching their supply lines and hoping to replenish their local needs by overtaking British, American and Indian garrisons, etc. while their lifelines caught up, didn't happen. For the most part, three months later, met by stronger than expected Allied response and caught in the monsoons, the Japanese were forced into retreat dying of malaria and starving to death --- in the end losing over 80,000 men. See:
JAPANESE INVASION OF INDIA
DURING WORLD WAR II
In the early stages of that invasion William Samuel, a 21 year old officer in the U.S. Army and a veteran of three years fighting with the Chinese Nationalist army against the Japanese in China was apparently called over to the India side of things and somehow must have finagled some much needed R and R, ending up at the Ramana ashram for a week or so in April. By the end of the war he was back and well entrenched in China fighting along side the Chinese troops retaking Ishan, Liuchow and Kweilin. Interestingly enough, ten years later, after being called back into the army for the Korean war Samuel had what was nothing less than an Enlightenment experience.
Below are two sentences as they appear in the closing paragraphs of the The Code Maker, The Zen Maker, so linked, that are closely related to how William Samuel played a significant role at the ashram and the even bigger part he played in the outcome of events and how they related to me specifically:
"I scooted as quickly as I could across what was left of the ashram grounds between me and the gate and out onto the street, melding into the small milieu of what counted as crowds in those days, disappearing.
"Years passed and one day a friend of mine helping me go through a few things ran across my rather loose knit so-called collection of decoders that were sort of doing not much more than just floating around in an unconnected fashion in a drawer."
Although the physical visual-space between the two sentences that separates them is small, the gap between the two related to the passage of time within the context of the sentences is huge. One moment, when all the trials and tribulations that have been laid out from childhood through to the Army, the monastery, the Himalayas, et al have ended, I walk away from the ashram, suddenly jumping to many years later, apparently comfortably safe back at home in the United States as though nothing ever happened --- simply hanging with a friend sorting through a bunch of decades-old Captain Midnight decoders.
Most people who have read through all that I've presented in The Code Maker, The Zen Maker, with the seeming thousands of interlinking footnotes and all, have had enough. However, every once in awhile there are those who come forward interested in the jump between the two paragraphs and how it was closed. Let me just say, in more ways than one, it involved war torn Burma, the Japanese invasion of India, the crash of a C-47 high in the rarefied air in the Tibetan area of the Himalayas after being lost on a flight from Calcutta, and William Samuel and his visit to the Ramana ashram at the same time I was there.
BEFORE LEAVING CALCUTTA-----------------------------------------------------AFTER LEAVING CALCUTTA
RETURN TO THE MONASTERY
WILLIAM SAMUEL: A SOLDIER'S STORY
The references of Oz and the childhood association with the Awakening or Enlightenment experience we are talking about here, happened many, many years ago, as did the conversations between myself and Osborne later as adults. So too, my writing of the association and presenting it online came about quite sometime back as well.
Interestingly enough other authors have seen fit to draw similar conclusions. John Wren-Lewis, the author of DAZZLING DARK: A Near-Death Experience Opens the Door to a Permanent Transformation writes that following a near death experience he was suddenly thrust into a permanent altered state of consciousness similar to that typically attributed to the ancient classical masters. His perspective is considered unique not only because his awakening was thrust upon him basically out of nowhere without seeking it, but also because of that fact, he questions many commonly held beliefs about spiritual awakening. However, thrust upon or sought out, the end result, when put into words by the experiencer, are hauntingly the same.
"(W)hereas mystical awakening for me has been like Dorothy's in The Wizard of Oz: the realization that I never really left home and never could."
Evan I. Schwartz, author of the just published book Finding Oz wherein he discusses the Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum and where and how he created the Oz books writes:
"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is less than a coming-of-age story, as some have suggested, and more a transformation-of-consciousness story. Like the Buddha, Dorothy attains Enlightenment."
How I as a young boy would ever concieve of such a thing on my own is beyond me. Another interesting sidelight from Schwartz's book --- as it applies here --- is that the mother-in-law of Oz author Baum was a Theosophist. Through her, Baum and his wife were drawn into that belief system. If you recall from the above, the couple that began visiting my mother and eventually took me to India were Theosophists.
Adam Osborne basically lived at the ashram from a toddler through to age 11 for a total of about eight years. When he and I first met he had only been at the ashram a short time, having shown up in Tiruvannamalai with his mother and sisters while on vacation in India from Thailand, staying because of the seriousness of Japanese occupation reported there. So said, although by age 11 he may have accumulated a lot of toys and stuff, at the time the two of us first met, for the most part, he didn't have any real toys to speak of --- at least no more than any kid on vacation for a short time would expect to have with him while traveling --- plus, it was at the height of the war and nobody really had any toys, especially new ones. That is why the Captain Midnight Code-O-Graph was such a huge exception in both of our lives. Adam's father Arthur, in his book The Mind of Ramana Maharshi (1959), quotes Adam, speaking of spending time meditating under the Maharshi --- which didn't start until 1946 and then only intermittently --- as saying:
"When I was sitting in the hall I didn't feel so happy so I began to pray, and I felt happy, but not like having a new toy."
So, here's Adam, even yet at age nine, in relating what makes him happy says there's nothing like a new toy. When the two of us first met at the ashram, even though for me by then the Code-O-Graph was much more, for Adam it carried, if nothing else, all the essence of a new toy.
As reported above, even though Adam Osborne and I met as children at the Ramana ashram, we did not meet again as adults until the spring of 1982, nearly 40 years later --- and only then accidently after having seen each other at some silicone valley function or the other. Prior to that, even though over the years I had read any number of books written by his father regarding Ramana I never made any connection between the elder Osborne and his son in relation to me. As far as Arthur Osborne is concerned he was in Thailand during the period of time I was at the ashram with Adam. So too, if any of the books mentioned Adam per se', which a lot of them did, it didn't ring any bells until well after the fact (i.e., after meeting Adam as an adult).
Adam's father Arthur died in 1970. Although I have been to the Ramana ashram several times, the last time was after Arthur Osborne's death, but before Adam and I met as adults. Had I known what Adam divulged to me during our series of 1982-plus meetings, I would surely have at least, sought out his mother to talk to --- albeit truth be told, from what I was able to extrapolate in conversation with Adam, his mother never thought very highly of me.(see)
In the above main text, in regards to Adam Osborne's mother, Lucia Osborne, I write the following:
"(In) Ramana's court in the ashram nothing escaped him. Whatever happened was brought to his attention either through attrition, a genuine confidant, or told him by someone hoping to gain something. Osborne's mother was a well respected member of Ramana's inner circle and it could be in general conversation the fact that the couple were not my parents may have filtered up from son to mother to Ramana."
The point above being that Lucia Osborne had, over the years, reached a fairly high position among the lineage of Ramana confidants in the ashram hierarchy.
In 1981, in a series of 54 interviews with westerners on their search for spiritual fulfilment in India titled New Lives, Malcolm Tillis personally talked with Lucia Osborne, the widow of Arthur Osborne and a highly eminent person in her own right, in her home near the Ramana ashram. In that interview, given the number 34 in his book, the following is recorded as to have transpired between the two:
TILLIS: I was just thinking that you must be Bhagavan's last living Western disciple who knew him in the flesh.
LUCIA: The last? Oh yes, perhaps I am.
The Tillis interview was in 1981, sixteen years BEFORE, for example, the well known Ramana disciple and American, Robert Adams, death in 1997. Yet Tillis, in the phrasing of his question, seems to be of the opinion that Ms Osborne WAS the last living Western disciple who knew (Ramana) in the flesh. There in no thought, mention, or question of Robert Adams, William Samuel, her own son Adam, nor any of me as written about by C.R. Rajamani --- even though I was a close childhood friend of Lucia Osborne's son during the time the two of us were at the ashram. Years later, after Adam reached adulthood, even in a sizeable crowd and across the room, he was still able to recognize me as a grown man.
SRI RAMANA'S WESTERN DISCIPLES
Michael Swaine, in Dr. Dobbs' Journal so cited, paints a picture of Adam Osborne maybe having a few bones to pick relative to his parents on a psychological level after entering adulthood. Swaine suggests both Osborne's business focus and his 'sybaritic pleasures' were probably a reaction against his upbringing as well as to prove himself worthy of his parents' love --- at the same time, to reject them and their values by achieving success in the way of life that they had rejected.
The time Osborne and I spent together I really wasn't the recipient of such outflowing as Swaine puts forth. That is not to say they weren't true. Osborne may very well had such feelings, but around me, held close to his vest, feelings which were really not applicable to our situation anyway.
However, like I have said previously, toward me personally he presented nothing but a very sympathetic face primarily because of my early childhood plight of which he was quite familiar with, sympathetic I'm sure because of the comparisons in his own later life. As to my comments that his mother never thought very highly of me, I am talking about the childhood me as I am not sure she was ever aware of the adult me. It is my belief, if such was the case --- the not highly part as intimated to me by Adam --- that it stems from the implication within the meaning of the following, especially the quote by C.R. Rajamani further down:
"(E)ven though he was not doing meditation specifically like I was, the two of us still found time to run all over the place getting in trouble --- even to the point of being admonished by the Maharshi."
People think it is odd that Adam Osborne, being at the ashram and in such close proximity to the Maharshi, was not doing meditation, or, that in fact he was, but I was just wrong about it.
Putting together all the best reckoning I have available, I was at the ashram for a period of time approaching close to five months beginning in early January 1944. According to what Adam's father Arthur wrote in his book, The Mind of Ramana Maharshi (1959), it wasn't until one evening in December 1946 that Sri Bhagavan initiated the older children (i.e., Adam and his big sister) into meditation. Starting meditation one evening in December 1946 is right on top of being in the year 1947, but in any case, 1946 or 1947, according to his father then, Adam was not initiated into meditation for at least two years after I left.
C.R. Rajamani has written as it relates to me:
"Within an hour of his face-to-face meeting with Sri Bhagavan, his mental barriers were reduced to nothingness."
And that is the crux of the matter as I perceive it relative to Adam's mother. In all the years her children were at the ashram nothing remotely close transpired relative to her own kids.
However, the following is reported to have happened to Adam's mother, as found in Chapter 9, page 71 of Arthur Osborne's My Life and Quest (2001), at the link so sourced. In the paragraph below Osborne is writing about the first time his wife Lucia Osborne saw the Maharshi and sat before him:
"A day or two later my wife entered the hall and sat down. Immediately Bhagavan turned his luminous eyes on her in a gaze so concentrated that there was a vibration she could actually hear. She returned the gaze, losing all sense of time, the mind stilled, feeling like a bird caught by a snake, yet glad to be caught. An older devotee who watched told her that this was the silent initiation and that it had lasted about fifteen minutes. Usually it was quite short, a minute or two. She wrote to me that all her doubts had vanished; her objections no longer mattered. The idea of making a sculpture had been put aside; it seemed presumptuous. She had complete faith. She knew now that the teaching was true and that nothing else mattered."(source)
THE RAZOR'S EDGE: The Eye Contact Sequences
On one of the occasions I ran away I met Reventlow. The second of the two occasions can be summed up in the paragraph in quotes below from the source so cited. Basically, without anyone's knowledge, I took a Greyhound bus north to the Mojave Desert searching down and eventually locating my then just divorced-from-my-father stepmother, or ex-stepmother as the case may have been, at her newly acquired ranch in the Mojave following her return from a two year sojourn to Mexico and South America:
"Although impressed that I ran away just to be with her she thought it best to get in touch with my dad and see what she should do next. Unwilling to talk with my grandmother she called the woman of the foster couple I ran away from, who she knew and was friends with, hoping to find out if I should be returned to them or to locate my father, telling the woman that I was in good care and everything was OK. The woman of the couple, Aunt Pauline, told my stepmother to 'keep the fucking little asshole, I don't give a shit what happens to him.' Then she added, 'Don't forget his prick of a little brother, either.' My stepmother, taking into consideration there were no subtle or hidden messages in her response, being quite clear as well as taking her at her word, contacted my uncle to see if he had any idea where my dad was. He didn't, but told my stepmother if she could find no other solution and she could get me to Santa Fe he would deal with situation until everything could be hammered out. With that, having no success locating my dad for whatever reason, rather than sticking me on some grungy multi-day cross desert bus ride to my uncle's and not knowing for sure if I wouldn't just get off somewhere on the way, she arranged for the same former World War II P-47 pilot that flew my uncle and me to Sacramento a few years before to fly me to Santa Fe, ensuring, she hoped, I would be less likely to get out mid-trip."(source)
Just before my stepmother left for South America she had written a letter that was responsible for me getting a really good part-time after school job, and it was money from that job that helped finance my bus ticket and finding her that summer. The letter was addressed to a man named Russ Miller, the owner of the Normandie Club, one of six legal poker casinos in the city where I was living at the time, with those six being practically the only legal poker clubs in the whole state. After giving the letter to Miller I told him I was looking for some kind of regular after school or weekend work. He asked what grade I was in and stretching the truth a bit I told him I went to Gardena High. He said come back in a couple of days and ask for Rick. Which is what I did, starting work that week. The following, from the Normandie Club, is the type stuff I used to get into, with me at the time only being in the 8th grade:
"Because I was just a kid and still in school, and most of the business was off limits to minors because of being a gambling establishment, I basically ended up working in and confined to the kitchen area. One Saturday late in the afternoon or moving into early evening hours several months after I started working, I was in the back of the club washing pots and pans or something when four or five rough looking suit types, rather than coming in the front, came through the back entrance headed toward the casino or Miller's offices. As I looked up one of the men said, 'What are you lookin' at fuckface?' I diverted my eyes downward, but as soon as I did he stopped the group and came over to me tipping my head up to get a closer look, all the while squeezing my jaw and chin really tight. Then he said, 'I know you, I've seen you before, what the fuck are you doing in this fucking place?' Another of the men, seeing how tight I was being squeezed, put his arm between the two of us, stretching the distance between the man and me causing the man to loosen his grip. In a much nicer much softer tone the other man said, 'Hey kid, remember me?' And sure enough I did. Matter of fact, after looking at the men more closely I recognized two or three of them. By then Miller was there with a couple of other guys wanting to know what was going on.
"Miller asked what was the nature of the men's business, coming through the back door and all. In an apparent deflection of interests, the man who stopped to look at me initially, pulled Miller aside wanting to know how it was I was working in his club, was I affiliated with or knew anybody else there. Miller told him I was hired as a favor to my stepmother. The man said, 'That fuckin' whore, don't you know she andJohnny Roselli are tight. Shit, the boy's probably working for him right now.' Miller asked me if that was true and I told him I wasn't working for anybody but him, that Roselli was a friend of my stepmother's and it was through her that I knew who he was. The man that stepped between me and the other man earlier, moved into the conversation saying 'the kid's alright,' that he knew me from long back and that I was OK, Roselli or not."
As for the former World War II P-47 pilot that flew my uncle and me to Sacramento and then just me to be with my uncle in Santa Fe a few years later, he basically came into the picture when my just into his teens older brother and cousin hopped a freight train on the Southern Pacific mainline near our ranch and didn't get off until reaching the Sacramento yards some 500 miles north and getting caught in the grasp of a railroad bull that was going to beat them with a club. The pilot flew my uncle and I to Sacramento so my uncle could pay off the railroad bull and get my brother and cousin back. On our return trip we flew over the Sierras to an abandoned, remote rock strewn airstrip south of Reno in the middle of the night to pick up a mysterious no questions to be asked woman covered head to toe wearing dark glasses and fly her to Las Vegas --- a woman that turned out to be an incognito movie star thought to be June Lang. The whole story can be found in:
RIDING THE CAB FORWARDS
SANTA FE LOCOMOTIVE #3774
As outlined in the main text above, in the early to mid 1940s, when Arthur Osborne's son Adam was a kid and so was I, he and I met at the Ramana ashram. Then, about two years short of forty years later, in the spring of 1982, as grown adults the two of us crossed paths at some function or the other one evening in Silicon Valley, he having morphed by then into one of Silicon Valley's first major computer tycoons.
After making arrangements to see each other and later actually following through by doing so, Osborne made a rather odd comment about when he first saw me that night in Silicon Valley and how he was struck so strongly by the fact that he thought he knew me. He said his interest peaked regarding who I was initially because he had the strangest feeling as a young boy he had seen me at the Ramana ashram alright, although not as the young boy as I asserted me to be, but instead, as a full grown adult --- looking all the same as I still did, except maybe twenty or so years younger. The problem with such a scenario to have transpired in his own words was that it would have to have happened before he left the ashram at age 11 to go to school in England because after that he never went back until he himself was much older, if at all. You may recall the following paragraph from the main text above regarding his thoughts on the matter:
"Reshuffling through the photographs of me in my youth I handed him earlier, he knew for sure I was the one he knew as a kid in India. At the same time, seemingly incongruently perplexed and shaking his head in an attempt to disregard any further thoughts he may have had as being wrong regarding me being an adult, he telegraphed his thoughts a thousand miles an hour in another direction, substantiating only what could have meant that the two of us WERE kids together. In doing so he brought up the most obscure fact I could ever think of, that at the ashram as a young boy, amongst the few things I had with me was what he called a code maker thing that looked all the same as a badge. What he was referring to was the Captain Midnight Code-O-Graph that at the time I carried around with me everywhere I went."
It is a fairly straightforward fact throughout my works above and elsewhere that Arthur Osborne's son Adam and I met and ran around together at the Ramana ashram while we were just kids, circa early to mid 1940s. However, as stated, when Osborne first saw me close to forty years later he said although he was sure he knew me and had seen me at the Ramana ashram, he had the strangest feeling it was not necessarily me as a young boy that he remembered, but instead, me as a full grown adult.
Adam arrived at the ashram with his mother and two sisters sometime in or around 1941 just at the outbreak of World War II. His father remained in Thailand and was soon interned by the Japanese invasion forces, not showing up at the ashram until he was liberated at the end of the war four or so years later. In the meantime and shortly afterwards Adam Osborne grew up at the ashram, aging from a mere just-starting-to-walk toddler to around age 11 when his parents sent him off to England for more formal schooling.
Nowhere in any of the main text above nor elsewhere else do I make mention of or bring up the possibility of seeing Osborne at the ashram at anytime other than when we were both kids. In that the two of us were nearly the same age being born not even one year apart, our growing up lives would have paralleled each other age-wise, reaching adulthood at the same time. In the fact that he left the ashram at around age 11 or so it would be a highly controversial event in the normal flow of the time-stream for him to have seen me at the ashram being a grown adult. Osborne's conception of events can easily be resolved by going to and reading:
THE CODE MAKER, THE ZEN MAKER
SHANGRI-LA, SHAMBHALA, GYANGANJ, BUDDHISM AND ZEN
TIME TRAVEL: MEETING YOURSELF