Subhuti reviews Azima’s (A. V. Rosciano MD) book, now translated into English.
I was sitting in Pete’s Shack on Candolim beach in Goa, when Azima approached my table, sat down and offered me a job.
His biographical account of his years as a sannyasin, titled My Life with Osho, had just been translated from his native Italian into English and he wanted someone to smooth it out.
Of course, I accepted. To me, it wasn’t just a job; it was an opportunity to enjoy another person’s perspective on events I myself had lived through in the 70s and 80s.
Azima begins his tale in Italy during the student revolution of 1968, and then off he goes on a long and hazardous overland journey from Italy to India, as some vague spiritual quest took shape his heart.
He didn’t know where he was going. He only knew he had to go. Like so many of us, in those days, he was being pulled by an unknown force toward an unimagined destiny.
Azima has a fine sense of humour and eloquently describes his frustration upon arriving in India, where all his plans fall apart.
In desperation, he remembers a postcard from an Italian friend about an ashram in Pune and so, tired and confused, he arrives early one morning at the “gateless gate” in Koregaon Park.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Eventually, our Italian adventurer decides to commit himself to the commune and promptly finds himself in the kitchen with the legendary Italian mamma-mafia-boss, Deeksha.
Azima captures in hilarious detail his early work experiences in Vrindavan Kitchen.
Again and again, he makes it clear that, whatever we thought we were doing in Pune, it wasn’t about leading a quiet, silent, peaceful life.
This flavour continues as Osho departs for Oregon and a new commune is created. One of the highlights of Azima’s narrative is his series of desperate attempts to live and work on the Oregon Ranch, always to be thwarted in one way or another.
Yet his persistence shows his willingness to face all kinds of setbacks while resolutely pursuing his love affair with his spiritual master.
In 1986, when Osho returns to India, Azima finds himself pulled into the mystic’s inner circle, organising his discourses in Juhu Beach and then helping Osho shift back to Pune, early in 1987.
There are truly some fascinating moments in the book, for people who haven’t been so close to Osho.
In addition, the book is peppered with romantic Italian sagas, accompanied by some devastating remarks Osho made about one of Azima’s affairs, delivered in his daily discourse.
The book is carried along in fine style by Azima’s unwavering love for his spiritual master, by his keen insights and by his humour.
It’s a great read, both for those who went through the experience of living with Osho and for those who wish to learn about those wild and wonderful days.
Anand Subhuti, Osho News