Rupesh: The Born Rebel
Rupesh is born in 1958 and grows up in Mexico City. Still a teenager he travels to London, where one evening he gets ‘picked up’ in the pub by another musician – a sannyasin. Ritambara remembers, “One of the guys in the sannyasin house where I was staying was a musician and played with a band around the pubs. One night he brought home this young Mexican percussionist to meet us at the house. He was so alive, young, vibrant, full of laughter (and mischief!). As he was drawn to the people in the house he started to come every day! Very soon he decided to take sannyas and sent a letter to Osho for his name and mala. When his new name and mala arrived, we invited him around to the house, gathered in the dining room and had a little ‘taking sannyas ceremony’. I did the honours of placing the mala around his neck, and telling him his new name: Anand Rupesh.”
A few months later Rupesh travels to Pune with other sannyasin friends. He works in the kitchen and in the bakery during the day, where his rebelliousness is deeply respected by Deeksha who lets him get away with almost everything. In the evenings he plays in the music group in Buddha Hall, and later, for the Energy Darshans in Lao Tzu; his bongos, tablas and congas are present in the music of almost all of our Osho Active Meditations. His parents visit him in Pune in 1979, follow his footsteps and take sannyas. They are given the names Prem Lucy and Prem Anugito; finally also his sister takes sannyas in Mexico and becomes Matwali.
On the Ranch he is again part of the musicians, but many also remember him playing his clay drum during drive-by. Inevitably Osho stops every day at the spot where he is standing, and Osho waves his arms vigourously to make him play faster and faster. A rumour goes around that Osho asked him to open his eyes and look at him while he plays. To look into Osho’s eyes for that length of time is understandably a scary and intense affair!
During the years we call Pune 2 he has the opportunity to replace Nivedano for a few days, hitting the big drum for us to begin with the jibberish for the ‘let go’ meditation after Osho’s discourse. To everyone’s astonishment – the command remains: “Nivedano!”
Maneesha has asked a question. Before answering her question I have an apology to make to Rupesh. Nivedano has been beating the drum. Now that crazy guy has gone into Rajasthan in search of more rocks to make a bigger fountain and waterfall. He was very worried about what would happen to the drum. Who will drum?
I had to convince him, ”Don’t be worried. Whoever drums, I will continue to call Nivedano.” He was immensely happy. But I had promised only for the last series, which has now ended. Poor Rupesh was beating the drum under the name of Nivedano.
Yesterday, the series changed: I thought, now it is time to call Rupesh. But somebody mistakenly wrote on my board the name Arup. I wondered for a moment, has Rupesh changed his name without even informing me? But there was no time. So I had to call Arup. And I could see, when Rupesh gave a beat to the drum, the anger. I am sorry, Rupesh. Those drums are not responsible for it.
Some drum is responsible, but the drums you are beating are not responsible.
Today I will call Rupesh until this series ends. But please be kind to the drums.
Osho, Zen: The Quantum Leap From Mind to No-Mind
After Osho leaves his body, Rupesh teaches percussion to a great number of participants in Buddha Hall which finally results in a wonderful recording of the African Dances: Laughing Drums (1994) which is soon followed by Living Drums (1994). By that time he has already contributed to recordings of Chaitanya Hari (Georg Deuter) and to many compilations recorded mostly live during Satsangs and Evening Meditations together with his musician friends under the name ‘Music from the Word of Osho’.
His skills as a teacher and performing artist continue, making him hop from continent to continent. Miten says about him: “Rupesh is universally loved in Osho’s world and respected as ‘Osho’s musician’ – a great, wild, loving, passionate spirit who takes no prisoners when he is behind his congas!”
A tribute to Rupesh to the track of Dance of Life by Miten:
Rupesh contributes to the tracks of countless artists: Miten and Deva Premal ask him to play for Songs of the Inner Lover, which comes out in 2003; in 1995 he joins in for Dancing Tribe with drummer friends Harida, Sandesh, Rishi, and the composers and guitarists Marco and Somesh (Naveen and Yuthika vocals), all friends with whom Rupesh has played for Osho.
In summer 1996 he plays with Upanishad (Shoukichi Kina) from Okinawa (Japan) at the Cultural Olympiad during the Olympic Games in Atlanta and in 1998, together with Veetmarco and Harida he creates Inside Out (with flute player Yashu) with relaxing, sensuos and ethnic tracks. The same year the production of a new CD brings together Rupesh, Sandesh, Marco and Harida for Let Go, a dance meditation inspired by the Nataraj meditation.
His fascination with body awareness and grounding techniques are behind the very successful Tribal Meditation (by Osho Drummers) which he creates in 2009 together with his buddy Harida. It can be used as a dancing meditation and is loved all over the world mainly by sannyasins.
In recent years he lives in Mexico where he performs with Deva Sofia, an amazing flute player, to whom he is close not only as a musician but also as a friend. He travels to play at festivals in Costa Rica, Japan, Italy, Spain and in particular Portugal, which becomes second base for him. During the last six years he spends at least two months a year there with Harida and Nartan, planning new recording projects and offering meditations camps and concerts.
When in August 2009 Rupesh is diagnosed with lymphoma it is treated with complementary medicine, with chemo, which his body does not take well, and again with alternative treatment including a visit to a Shaman healer in Colombia. When he regains strength, in August 2010, he plays again with Sofia in Mexico, holds percussion workshops in Japan and finishes off his world tour in Portugal to record a new CD together with Deva Sofia and Harida, and to play in yet more meditation camps and concerts.
During a recent visit to India (which he absolutely wants to experience again despite some weekness showing up again) he falls sick and undergoes another Mabthera treatment in Goa which allows him to return home. But he collapses on arrival in Mexico. Despite further treatment his condition does not improve and a medical check up in hospital shows that the cancer has spread. One day in hospital he is so very close to leaving his body that whosoever is sending him blessings feels something happening, resulting in the assumption that he has left us behind already. But a few days later the news comes through that he is chatting up the nurses!
He is now in a care home, very silent, unable to speak, but listening to juicy music. Family members and sannyasins who visit him see that he is conscious and that he recognises them. Dharmesh, a childhood friend of Rupesh, says, “The room feels like a sanctuary.”
Some suspect that on that day he did not leave his body but that he left ‘Rupesh’ and that we all felt that!
Tribal Meditation (2009) (Nazca)
Gurulounge (Shammanik Quest)
Rhythm & Drums (Shammanik Quest)
Inside Out (1998) (Nazca)
Living Drums (1997) (Bauer)
Laughing Drums (1994) (Bauer)
Funkstar der Luxe, Funkturistic (2004)
Sudha, Planet Love (2004)
Miten, Songs of the Inner Lover (2003)
Music from the World of Osho, In Wonder: The Narrow Road to the Deep North (2000)
Music from the World of Osho, Osho on Zen: Heartbeat of the Universe (2000)
Music from the World of Osho,Ten Thousand Buddhas (2000)
Music from the World of Osho, Basho’s Pond (1990)
Deuter, San (1987)
Text by Punya, Jan 13 2011, for Osho News (with contributions from Harida, Nartan and Ritambara)