Sarovara’s extended and well researched list of sannyas names will become available quite soon
Sometimes our ‘collector’s mind’ makes us embark on projects which takes us further than we intended, especially if it has to do with a prolific master like ours. We have seen websites collecting jokes and obituaries like that of Devakrishna (otoons.com), links to useful sites like the one by Satrakshita and Turiya, a website full with photo slideshows of Osho (my oshophotos.com), Sarlo’s songs list with lyrics and chords. The sites with Osho quotes and downloadable discourses are so many that we cannot list them all, but let us just mention Nando’s daily quotes MySamasati.
But what is now coming available (even if we have to wait until September 2012) is a full list of sannyas names. Sarovara has, like a scholar, painstakingly researched and put together a list of names. This took him over 7 years. Now we can have a peek at this list, even if still incomplete, to give us an idea of the astonishing work he has done. You can download the PDF file from here…
When we heard about this project we asked Sarovara a few questions.
How did it all start?
Back in 2004, as a travelling group leader, people started asking me to give them sannyas names. I had already been giving sannyas celebrations for several years to people who got their names by post from Pune. But sometimes the letters got lost or they received two different names, and so I got involved in choosing sannyas names. Then people started to ask their new name directly from me. They had more trust in me, because I knew them. It was different than getting a name from someone whom they had never met and who was sitting in an office in a faraway country. At that time this was still controvertial as the Academy of Initiation in Pune was officially the only place which was giving out names, and it looked as if I was playing ‘guru’…
When I eventually saw the official list of sannyas names I was surprised that many names did not have a meaning in the appropriate column and that some names clearly had the wrong meaning. Some pages of the names list had an error most probably due to a mistake made using the Excel software. (I suspect that someone had deleted a ‘cell’ instead of a ‘row’ thus many names were one place out of order.) And when I drew the attention to this fact, there was no cooperative response.
As an ‘old’ sannyasins I had absorbed, over the years, the meaning of many sannyas names. I loved Osho’s Darshan Diaries and to read the meaning Osho gave to each new sannyasin. So sannyas names had a particular importance for me.
Then came the time when it was decided that people could choose their own sannyas names. I was invited along to a meeting with Amrito for Osho Centers and Institutes, in which he explained this change. Two Indian commune guests, Pratap and Tyohar, were assigned the task of revising the sannyas list for it to be published on a website (www.neosannyas.org), as part of the process of giving the responsibility back to people to choose their own names.
I talked to Tyohar and Pratap to offer support and help, but they had been given only one month to do the task, on top of their other daily jobs! They did the best they could, but the result is still full of multiple mistakes, both in spelling and in meanings.
However, I wanted to do it more thoroughly. Initially I began researching all the Darshan Diaries on the Oshobooks CD-ROM, to check which names Osho had given and with which meaning. Soon it became obvious that there were numerous editing errors. For once, Maneesha (or rather Big Prem) was given just one day to transcribe the tape of the darshan. To keep the nature of the darshans as an intimate meeting between master and disciple, Osho had given the instruction that the tape be erased immediately after the transcription. So there is no way now to double-check on audio tapes.
Also the book editors were overwhelmed with work, and as there was no internet in those days, it would have been difficult to get all Sanskrit names transliterated correctly. It was also not an easy task to decipher Osho’s pronunciation on some words even with the tape recordings of regular discourses. Add to that the flimsy quality of audio cassette tapes in India in 1974-1981!
Urged to find the correct spelling of Sanskrit names I found a couple of Sanskrit dictionaries. The main one I used to check the sannyas names is the Monier, i.e. the Monier Williams Sanskrit Dictionary from the late 1890′s. Leafing through the 1333 pages of this tome, I came across many other Sanskrit words that could have also made very interesting names. And thus I started to compile a new list of sannyas names and also corrected the gender of the names.
I have also double-checked all the other names given by Osho which are in other languages, like Hindi, Urdu or Arabic, i.e. not of Sanskrit origin and all those names which the Academy staff have added over the years. Thus I have expanded the 1550 names I found from Osho’s published books to approx 24,000 names in what will be the final list. As I only have extra time for it on occasions, it has taken me about 7 years for a compilation in the form of an Excel file.
I expect to be able to publish it online by September 2012. This will be the fullest list of sannyas names and will help people choose from a greater variety of names. Also it can help those asked to give names to new sannyasins – such as group leaders – so that they can come away from the most common names which they tend to give out usually.
Is it better for people to choose their own names?
I have found that it is more beneficial for the new sannyasins to choose their own name. I usually suggest the person to find, in their meditation, which meaning they need or want for their sannyas name. Then from the meaning we can make a short list of names from which they choose the one which has a sound they like best. We also need to consider that a name in Sanskrit might sound like a word with a not very flattering meaning in the person’s native language, e.g. Sukha is Sanskrit for ‘Joy’ however in Russian it means ‘Bitch’…
Although some people find it difficult to choose a name for themselves, they still have the choice to ask others to choose for them.
Hopefully a developer will come forward and put his own hours of ‘labour of love’ into making a searchable website to make Sarovara’s list as easy to use as possible. So watch this space in a year’s time or less, to hear more about the his finished list.
Punya for Osho News