Vandana reviews Sarjano’s just recently released book about his life with Osho.
This is an extraordinary book.
It is also unique, for several reasons.
As a record of Osho’s work with his disciples during the 70s and 80s it is without doubt a ‘one-off’. There will not be another sannyasin’s history even remotely resembling this one.
Today, more than 40 years after Osho’s work began, many books and multiple accounts have been produced and published by sannyasins eager to share their personal experiences of life and times with an enlightened master. Understandably, many of these accounts are quite similar, even repetitive – assorted variations on the theme of the master/disciple relationship.
Yet Sarjano’s book, which recounts in highly entertaining and intimate detail his life and times with Osho, is a wild adventure from beginning to end. This book also includes every word Osho ever spoke to, or about, his mad Italian devotee. And Osho talked to Sarjano, and about Sarjano, a lot!
By his own description Osho was conducting an intense experiment. He attracted seekers in the thousands from every corner of the globe, during a time when the internet had not been born and the only search engines were word of mouth, books, or articles in newspapers and magazines.
In working with the complex minds, polished egos, emotional and psychic armouring of 20th century seekers, Osho created powerful meditation techniques which he used alongside selected techniques and processes from the then-thriving Western ‘growth movement’. His disciples were adventurers – on the move, looking for depth, connection and meaning, while shaking off their cultural and societal conditioning.
Osho was the ultimate honey pot and the bees came in swarms.
Into the vibrant and dynamic community known as the Pune 1 ashram, swept a flamboyant Italian named Carlo Silvestro, soon renamed by Osho as Swami Swatantra Sarjano.
A talented journalist and photographer by trade plus an inspired chef, he continued to visibly and noisily display these skills inside the Pune ashram as well as translating several of Osho’s books into Italian.
Sarjano travelled back and forth to Italy on multiple occasions, often with a woman in tow, promoting and publicising the master’s work in his inimitable, often outrageous style.
His love life was legendary, even in the ‘free love’ zone of the ‘sex guru’, as so many journalists persisted in describing the Osho communes. And despite Sarjano’s frequent insistence that he is a great lover of women, describing himself as essentially more female than male, his two relationships of many years’ duration were with women a fraction of his age, his expressed preference being for young girls who didn’t speak his language!
Sarjano received more attention – commentary, feedback, grooming, stroking and Zen-whacking – than any sannyasin ever documented in Osho’s work.
Particularly in Pune 1, his name and antics were so frequently mentioned and recounted by Osho during his morning discourses that everyone knew who Sarjano was. So whenever Osho mentioned his name, all were agog to hear of his latest escapades. Almost like the mention of Mullah Nasruddin, discourse attendees were alert to hear the latest Sarjano instalment. Accordingly he acquired close to celebrity status, his charismatic theatrics enjoyed by nearly all (though some did find him OTT).
Why did this ‘crazy Italian’ get so much attention from the Master? Was Sarjano ‘special’? Was he truly Osho’s favourite swami? Or was Osho playing with this disciple by awarding/punishing him with a version of ‘spiritual celebrity status’ as a specific experiment in ego cultivation and annihilation?
Without doubt this account of Swami Swatantra Sarjano’s life and journey as a disciple, his escapades, theatrics and adventures, makes for fascinating reading and provides enormous insights into the playful profundity of our beloved mystic master, Osho.
For a taste of the inexplicable master-disciple relationship this book is essential reading particularly for those in hot pursuit of spiritual investigation!
Review by Vandana
More articles by the same author on Osho News
Read an excerpt: Suddenly Everything Was One
Sarjano was born in Rome, Italy. A photojournalist and organiser of spectacular rock events in Italy, he created a commune in Sicily. Hearing about Osho from friends, he left for India and took sannyas in 1978. At the ashram in Pune 1 and 2 he worked as a photographer, translated Osho’s discourses into Italian, and became famous for his cooking skills. The author of ‘Food Is Home’, ‘Dalla separazione all’amore’, and ‘When A Real Lion Meets A Real Master’, he also created a restaurant in Vagator, Goa, and now lives in Rome. All articles and recipes by this author on Osho News.