Arun, the coordinator of Osho Tapoban, Nepal, tells his story of how he took sannyas.
When I joined Osho in March 1969 there was no sannyas initiation but we were fully aware that Acharya Rajneesh is our master; we were a bunch of 100-200 who had already surrendered to him in our hearts. Osho had not given a formal initiation to anybody till then. He started initiating people in 1970, and in 1971 Osho sent me a letter and invited me to come to Mt. Abu and take sannyas; he also said that he had already decided for my new name. But I was only a student of engineering and didn’t have the money or time to go.
So in 1972 when I was in my final year of engineering studies, I went to Bombay to take sannyas. Osho said to me, “You are in your last year of studies and if you take sannyas, I have doubt that you will complete your studies.” And he was right. So he told me to first go and complete my studies and also asked me to build a house for my parents on the empty plot of land that I owned in Kathmandu. He knew everything about my family. So I did as he said and you would be surprised to know that as soon as we finished the house warming party or Griha Prabesh Puja, the very next morning I escaped to Pune and took sannyas from Osho. I had already surrendered to Osho in 1969 and used to call him Bhagwan even before people had started calling him with this name. And I also wrote letters to him and Osho would reply to my queries. So the master-disciple relationship was already there, yet initiation still has its own value. This I realized after taking sannyas.
Before being initiated, I had been trying to meditate in my college and at home but my meditation was never deep and I always had problems going into silence. But after initiation it became very easy. At the time of receiving sannyas I had my first satori. I went into no-mind the very moment Osho touched my third eye and gave me the mala and my new name. The moment Osho touched me, I screamed so loudly that everybody in the car porch where the initiation was happening got disturbed. There was no Chuang Tzu Auditorium then and we were only 13-15 people in the small car porch, and Osho was speaking without a microphone. I was more of a reserved person before so when he touched me and gave me the mala it felt like a dam had been broken and the river wanted to flow over; so I kept on crying. I couldn’t control the upsurge of emotions and disturbed the whole interview, and people wanted to take me outside. But Osho was kind enough to stop them and said, “Let him let go.”
And when Osho was initiating I could see the whole atmosphere changing. I saw that everything had turned into orange including Osho’s white robe and his chair. The tile floor, the walls, the trees in the ashram garden, the casual clothes of non-sannyasins, I saw that everything had turned into orange. I rubbed my eyes and I thought I was hypnotized and tried to wake out of it. I didn’t know what had happened but everything had changed into a beautiful psychedelic color of orange. Later on I read in books that when people take LSD they have such psychedelic experiences but to me it happened with his touch! And this lasted for about half an hour. I could see the radiating beauty and grace of Osho and so many other things happened which cannot be explained in words.
It was an experience of the heart and it seemed to me as if I knew Osho from many lives, it was a reunion. The whole incident lasted for an hour after which the initiation was over and we returned to our rooms. And I was in such ecstasy and joy that I had never experienced in my life. I was staying at the Somji state building where there was a high ceiling hall. And suddenly I saw Osho’s head appear in one corner of the ceiling and I started crying out of joy. People could not understand what was happening. The whole night I had experiences and I felt like light as a feather. It felt like I was flying high and then again coming down. Even though I couldn’t sleep even for a minute, I was still in total ecstasy, in divine madness. The next morning I realized that I was a different person.
That’s why I insist so much on the mala and sannyas to my new friends. It is one thing to read Osho or to meditate. People say to me that they are already reading Osho and doing his meditations, what is the need to take sannyas. But I know the difference. Without initiation your meditation cannot reach that height, you cannot surrender your ego. And unless you surrender your ego you cannot go into the depths of no-mind. So initiation is a must.
It was a ten day camp and after those ten days my friends wanted to return so they went for a leaving darshan. I did not want to return and rather stay for another four months but still I also went with them. My initiation was on 11th October and the leaving darshan was on the 20th. On that day I was so much in bliss that the moment they opened Lao Tzu gate I rushed to sit near Osho. We had been asked to walk in a gentle pace but I started running uncontrollably. Osho was having a private talk with the famous film director Vijay Anand and his girlfriend, who had been allowed in five minutes earlier than us. So when Mukta saw me running towards Osho she wanted to prevent me from disturbing the conversation, but Osho saw it and stopped Mukta. Osho invited me to sit close to his feet and I sat near him. During that interview I touched his feet several times and he blessed me several times. I was in so much bliss and gratitude that there was nothing to say. Osho looked at me and chuckled, “Hmmm … so you are in ecstasy?”
This was my experience after taking sannyas and for ten days I was in a different world. I tried to force myself to remember where I had come from, my parents, my job, but my mind was not ready to accept that I had any past connection. I was totally in the state of here and now. I had limited funds for ten days but I stayed for four months without a penny. I was half mad and everybody thought that I would not be able to return to the world. My parents had lost hope and thought that I would become a vegetable. I was in so much bliss and happiness that even I had lost hope that I would be able to return to my job and earn my bread.
During the four months in Pune, I had to go through many physical hardships, using municipal latrines and slept under thatched roofs with several other people. Everything around me was uncomfortable but I was in the most comfortable state. I was so joyful then that afterwards for several years I was ready to pay any price to experience the same joy.
Now, since last few years I feel the same joy and bliss and I don’t miss Osho anymore. Today there was sannyas initiation in the meditation hall and anyone could see how ecstatic and mad people were. People can still attain to such ecstacy. We are reliving Osho. Today he is closer than the closest person to my heart and I don’t miss him.
From an interview by Aatmo Neerav