Bodhena’s Adventures in Samsara: A Sannyasin Memoir

Book Reviews Samsara

“A clear, authentic, and compelling read” – Roshani reviews Bodhena’s just now released book.

Bodhena Adventure Are you a longtime sannyasin who enjoys an occasional reminiscent reverie, or a newer sannyasin who wonders what life was like in Pune One or on the Ranch? Do you just like a good gossip over a cup of tea about the variety of paths people have taken to reach Osho and what life was like in his communes? If so, Bodhena’s book is for you. It is a clear, authentic, compelling read, which transports us to Pune One, Rajneeshpuram, Pune Two, and beyond through the everyday experiences of an ordinary sannyasin (if there is such a thing).

Bodhena, born in Germany, has been an adventurous traveler from early on. He wends his way to India and relates a feeling familiar to many of us, the feeling of ‘coming home’. He tells of participating in the pressure cooker of therapy groups in Pune One in the late 1970s. Later, he gets a grant to do his PhD thesis in geography on the ashram. It is never finished, but some of his research is in this book. However, don’t think it is dry and academic; anything but. Rather, Bodhena’s short, illustrative chapters ‘place’ the reader in and around Pune One with descriptive detail that puts one right inside of daily life.

This book is really a series of linked vignettes, which when pulled together weave the story of an ordinary sannyasin outwardly working as a carpenter, guard, legal assistant, but also focused on his own spiritual work. Bodhena gives us a deep sense of the incredible love and mutual support in Osho’s communes that eased the hardships of outer life and the hard lessons of the inner. These are authentically told, bottom-up stories of a kind we have not yet seen in print. There is very little analytical thought in these pages, very little philosophizing, no speculation. Instead, we are treated to a deep account of a very human life, and the spiritual laboratories in which it took place.

When Bodhena returns to Pune Two, he describes feeling a bit distant from ‘the scene’. He senses that he is like a bird who realizes it is time to leave the nest. He knows it is time for him to be ‘out in the world’. His adventures take him to California, to Spain, and eventually full circle back to Germany. He touchingly describes what the world outside of the commune feels like: “It’s that aliveness, openness and rebelliousness, that willingness to look at oneself and deal with whatever comes up that I find conspicuously absent out here. It’s an emotional desert, not much love and laughter.” Bodhena, like many of us ‘out here’, is still ‘with’ Osho, but also still seeking that sense of community he misses, and has found another teacher, another group of seekers to travel with.

Bodhena’s book has some wonderful features in addition to his story. There are some beautiful black-and-white photos of Osho, the ashram, the Ranch. The appendices include a lovely poem by Hakuin, the Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, and a full transcript of the amazing ‘Fuck’ discourse by Osho.

I know you will be captivated by this book, as I was. It is an honest and straightforward piece of personal, spiritual, geographical and historical reporting.

RoshaniReview by Roshani, previously published in Viha Connection Magazine

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BodhenaBodhena took sannyas in the late seventies in Pune where he worked first as a handyman for the group department, then as a Krishna Guard. After living in Geetam for a few months, he was invited to the Ranch where he worked in construction, security, Magdalena Cafeteria, Chaitanya (accounts) and as a paralegal at Rajneesh Legal Services. In early Pune II he worked for the Rajneesh Times, and then again as a guard at Lao Tzu House. In recent years, he has been living in Clausthal, Germany, practising nowhere to go and nothing to do. Email: bodhena (at) hotmail (dot) com2/2015

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