Osho on Sannyas Name.
I give you a new name only to make you feel that names are not important. Your old name can simply disappear because it was only a label, it can be changed. You are not the name. To insist this fact, to emphasize this fact upon your consciousness, that the name is not your reality…
Every child comes into the world without a name, but we have to give a name; it has some utility. It is absolutely false, but in a vast world with millions of people it will be difficult to manage if nobody had any name; it will become almost impossible to manage. Some names are needed; false they are, but they work, they have a utility. They have no reality, but utility certainly they have.
But ordinarily you grow with your name; in fact, you become conscious only later on. Your name is deeper than your consciousness, hence there arises an identity with the name. You start feeling, “This is my name, this is me.”
When you become a sannyasin I want to destroy that identity, because this is the beginning of destruction of all identities. First I destroy the identity with the name, then I will destroy the identity with the body, then the identity with the mind, then the identity with the heart. When all these identities have been destroyed you will be able to know who you are: the unidentified, the nameless, the formless, the indefinable. And that is only a pure witness in you; nothing can be said about it, no word is adequate to explain it.
Hence I change the name — to give you a break, to give you the idea that name is just a given thing.
Your old name disappears, a new name becomes your reality, but now you will not get so much identified because you are now more mature. The first name was given when you were a small child; you were not aware. Now you are a little bit aware. And by becoming a sannyasin you are becoming committed to more and more awareness, to a life of witnessing in which all identities have to be dropped.
A man is absolutely free only when there is no identity left. You are neither a Christian nor a Hindu nor a Mohammedan; you are neither an Indian nor a Japanese nor a German; you are neither a man nor a woman. You are just a pure consciousness, and that consciousness is eternal. The Upanishads are talking about that consciousness.
The only thing to be learned in the communion with the master is that witness, that watcher, that seer, that watcher on the hills who is beyond everything. Everything falls short of it which is transcendental. To know that transcendental reality of you I start by changing your name; that is just taking one brick out of your false edifice. And then if you allow me to take one brick, I will go on taking other bricks. I change your clothes just to give you a discontinuity with the past.
You have to become discontinuous to the past. Unless you die to the past you cannot be reborn, you cannot be here-now. The past has to be completely dropped and forgotten — it was a dream, nothing more — and out of the past arises the future. If the past is dropped, the future disappears.
Then the only reality is now and here. And to be here and now, absolutely here and now, is to know all that is worth knowing, is to really live an authentic, sincere life, a life full of truth and bliss and godliness.
Osho, I Am That – Isha Upanishad, Ch 6