Not everybody is as courageous as Satyananda

From 'On the Edge'

As a tribute for Satyananda, a few excerpts from Punya’s book On the Edge related to him.

Satyananda in Pune 1

The first piece, from chapter 5, takes place in the bus which took us one morning from Saswad to Pune to attend Osho’s discourse.

We felt as one, as a tribe again where the feeling of being a separate individual had not yet been learned. I also felt a ‘yes’ from Satyananda who, in the seat in front of me, was listening to Nirvano’s interpretation of the in-depth meaning of the Saswad experiment. (Before he met Osho, Nirvano was a professor of German and English and his outlook on things was always rational…) Satyananda had come to Pune a few years before as a journalist for the German magazine Stern. Being a sincere man, he tried out the meditations before writing his story and soon fell in love with Osho. Knowing that he could never sell a positive article, even less so to the snotty Stern, he had the courage to give up his prestigious life as an international star reporter, become a disciple and move to India to permanently live in the ashram.

We heard that he was keeping a diary of his life in Saswad (I wish I had his notes now!) and that a book about his first years with Osho was going to be published. His Ganz entspannt im Hier und Jetzt eventually became a best-seller and all of the German speaking sannyasins gulped it down as soon as it came out. A passage where he describes Deeksha walking through the ashram stunned me the most. I never thought that words could be so accurate and give a complete picture of a person in just two sentences. With his permission I have translated them here, hoping to do justice to his art:

Deeksha is a well-rounded Italian beauty with long black hair and an energetic chin. She pushes the low centre of gravity in her large short body along the paths of the ashram with vigorous steps and powerful rowing strokes generated by swinging her arms out sideways.

Jörg Andrees Elten, Ganz entspannt im Hier und Jetzt

The next piece is from chapter 6, being in Rajneeshpuram during one of the World Celebrations, when I was working as a tour guide – and Satyananda probably as a bus driver…

The next day I escorted the photographer of the Stern team to Krishnamurti Lake. My job was to make sure that his lens was not pointing onto a subject which could be misused. An innocent hug between friends would certainly receive a caption mentioning the ‘sex guru’ and we wanted to avoid that. But it escaped my attention that a girl was wearing her mala around her waist; while swimming it was probably safer there than around her neck. Such an innocent thing, but the published photograph which spread over two pages showed her sun-tanned belly button, Osho’s face in the mala and a sexy, wet, red bikini bottom.

We introduced a few Festival visitors from Germany to the Stern journalist. She became very enthusiastic about Chaitanya Hari, applauded our ways of living and – I think – would have loved to stay with us forever. When she finally had to depart, she lost her keys and we had to organise a carpenter, in the middle of the night, to force the door of her room to retrieve her luggage. Despite her obvious Freudian slip, the negative article which was eventually published turned out to be worthy of the aggressive and cynical journalism of Stern, and the choice of the photographs and the text of the captions belied her positive feelings. The last paragraph, where she quotes a passage from a discourse by Osho, was the only thing that seemed true to her real feelings. Maybe as an apology, she wrote me a card from New York to thank me for taking her around. I felt betrayed and certainly did not reply. Stern would not have accepted a positive article about us, but – in my view – she could have been true to herself and given up her job. But then, not everybody is as courageous as Satyananda had been.

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