Carrie meditates on Romblon Island, Philippines

Nanda: A Phony Baloney Guru

We originally chose to stay Puna both to break up a long journey and to take a tour of the OSHO Meditation Resort. OSHO attracts a mix of those seeking answers, hippies and curious travelers, so at least the area that we fought so hard to stay in was filled with the subjects of a people watcher’s dream. And then we met Nanda: guru, philosopher and guesthouse owner.

Nanda, a phony guru in PuneNanda offered a two day course very similar too OSHO but with his own take on everything from what is God and how does Karma work to how to be completely calm and at peace with yourself. His pitch, along with a donation basis price structure and the fact that OSHO’s tour was 10 minutes with a guide and 50 in the book shop, convinced us to tack on a few extra days to our stay.

On our first day Nanda invited us to wake up early to do Yoga before our two hour morning session of teachings and relaxation. This was where things started to get a bit weird. First, the Yoga was basically us sitting around doing breathing exercises for nearly an hour while Nanda put his dirty hands on us and tried to guide us into proper positions. It wasn’t until Carrie started doing real Yoga poses that Nanda got the hint and started on those as well. However, a few minutes later it would be breakfast time and we were joined by a fellow hotel guest who Nanda seemed to have a big crush on.

Over breakfast, we wound up talking to the girl more than we talked to Nanda and by the time it ended we had yet another person joining us on the roof. The more the merrier, but were they paying as well? Either way, we were still waiting for our morning teachings but all we got was some story about letting things go and a speech on how God is in everything. What he said was interesting, but it was mostly common sense or notions that are commonly accepted worldwide. It also didn’t help our annoyance with it that half of what he was preaching he had already said the night before when we checked in. Literally…the same exact words.

Our evening session was set for 7:30 but as we walked back to the guesthouse to attend we saw Nanda driving away on his motor bike with his crush. His assistant said he would be back in an hour or so but we had already decided to leave the next morning. The funniest part was when we gave him a donation of what we felt was more than fair, he was appalled and told us that he usually gets 500,000 rupees, which is around $10,000. Sure you do buddy.