Swami Devageet’s journey to higher consciousness is told in a heart-warming sincere way—humorous, yet profound—in his book, Osho: The First Buddha in the Dental Chair: Amusing Anecdotes by His Personal Dentist (Sammasati Publishing). The unique book reveals an intimate and charming portrait of the revered spiritual master and how he worked to bring enlightenment to the author and to humanity while sitting in the arms of a dental chair. Filled with funny experiences, personal observations, and glimpses of the insight into the man who taught meditation to millions, Osho: The First Buddha in the Dental Chair covers a side of Osho never seen before.
Osho: The First Buddha in the Dental Chair: Amusing Anecdotes by His Personal Dentist by Swami Devageet (Sammasati Publishing)
Love and Dentistry
In Pune, after a few days of getting settled into a small apartment in “the Dutch Palace,” I was ready for my new life in the ashram. I applied for work to Vidya, the ashram work coordinator. “Be a dentist,” she told me. I protested, saying that I was finished with dentistry, muttering that I wanted to be a simple disciple in the presence of my master. She gave me a withering look, made more powerfully bleak by her pale blue eyes piercingly observing me from their perch above her powerful nose. She repeated herself briefly and sharply, “Devageet, be a dentist.”
I continued mumbling that Nirvan’s dental office was barely big enough for one dentist, never mind two. And that Nirvan was more than able to … Vidya interrupted, leaning forward and looking into my eyes even more penetratingly with her steely orbs, before repeating slowly, with great effect: “Devageet – be – a – dentist. And tell Nirvan that you will be his assistant.”
I had walked to the small room that served as the soon-to-be dental office for sannyasins. Showing me the dental machines he had carefully set up, Nirvan had initially been friendly and mellow, happy to show a fellow professional his fine cabinetry and gadgetry. I was very impressed by his woodworking skills and general expertise. The first day we worked together in Pune, he had casually complained about “those bitches in the front office.” The next day he complained bitterly about his loss of erectile function “due to this fucking heat,” and how he couldn’t stop farting: “God, man, my wind is like rotten eggs. Those fucking amoebas and giardia in my guts are sucking out all my life juices.” He painted a vivid picture of his virile decline due to an invasion by tropical intestinal parasites.
On my third day as his assistant, Nirvan announced that he was leaving Pune for America. He generously offered to sell me his vast stock of vitamins, unbelievable quantities of dental floss, exotic Californian food supplements, and a fine, but over-priced, foam-and- coconut fiber mattress of his own design. I had to decline his offer due to my poverty but I was impressed by the quality and quantity of his possessions.
With Nirvan’s departure to the United States I had become the Pune ashram dentist. One year later, in January 1979, I had become Osho’s personal dentist. After Nirvan’s departure, I mused that he occasionally may have regretted leaving Pune, perhaps imagining that if he had stayed he would have been Osho’s dentist instead of me.
When Nirvan arrived at Rancho Rajneesh in 1981, Dolma, the ashram work coordinator, had unknowingly reversed our original ashram roles by assigning him as my assistant. She instructed him to help me design and build clinical dental rooms for sannyasins in Pythagoras, the communal medical trailer.
It took only a few days for Nirvan to attempt a dental coup. He sabotaged our mutually agreed upon plans, stating to me emphatically that whatever dental knowledge I had was of no value. I tried to compromise but his attitude was unbending. I had little alternative but to refer the matter to Dolma, in her role as ranch work coordinator. She decided on the spot that the three of us – Dolma, Nirvan, and myself – needed an urgent meeting to “sort things out.”
The meeting took place in the dusty main street of Rancho Rajneesh. Nirvan robustly restated that I was a mere dental pygmy compared to his superior qualifications and experience. He made a forceful pitch that on Rancho Rajneesh, he should be the person in charge of all things dental. “Christ, Dolma, the guy isn’t even American. He is unqualified!” He went on, powerfully making the point that his clear academic superiority made it obvious that I was not, and could never hope to become, his equal.
As I contemplated his argument, I realized that his observations, despite being made with much spray and emphasis, were undeniably true. However, Dolma rejected them, saying, “Nirvan, this is a mystery school, not a dental campus.” At that, he had shaken his head before stomping off into the dust, each step showing his disgruntled resentment.
Deliberating on the situation later, I realized that in America, Osho could, and should, have the very finest of dental treatment. I decided to write him a letter offering to stand aside, and asked Vivek to deliver it.
In my letter, I explained that by United States standards, my dental skills were modest. I told him I understood that in Pune I may have been the best dentist available due to the poor general standards of dentistry there, but now, in America, where practically every family had a crown-and-bridge specialist as a son-in-law, he could have the best and most highly qualified personal dentist, with much higher qualifications than I possessed.
Vivek, always plain spoken and often brutally direct, had raised her fine eyebrows and looked at me as though I was mentally challenged as I explained the nature of the message I was asking her to deliver. In those days, since his arrival in America, Osho had declared himself to be in a period of public silence; messages for him were delivered as letters, usually by an intermediary. But in this case, as we stood in the tiny dental office behind his living room, Vivek personally delivered my note.
Within moments she was back. “Devageet, here’s Osho’s reply to your letter:
‘Devageet, don’t be such a fool. You are not my dentist because you are the best dentist in the world. You are my personal dentist because your love for me makes your work perfect. P.S. The other dentist has bad breath.'”