The day I discovered what surrender really means

Remembering Here&Now

Bhagawati recalls a particular day in her life as an ashramite in Pune.

From early childhood on, the word ‘disciple’ conjured up an image of several men shuffling behind Jesus, clad in rather scratchy dark robes with sandals on their bare feet. What they were doing was a mystery to me, except they were following in his footsteps. That was my perception growing up in Catholic Austria during the fifties, having been christened as a Protestant and thus considered a bit of an outcast by the majority of the other kids at school.

Later, having become Osho’s sannyasin, I understood that I had also become a ‘disciple’ and could see that what I was living now was very different: I wasn’t following the Master, rather I was learning:

“Remember my emphasis. It is not the master who teaches, it is the disciple who learns. It is up to you – to learn or not to learn; it is not up to me to teach or not to teach. A master cannot help himself: because of the way he is, he goes on teaching. His every moment, his every breath is a teaching, his whole being is a teaching, a message. The message is not different from the master. If it is different then the master is simply a teacher, not a master; then he is repeating words of others. Then he is not awakened himself, then he has a borrowed knowledge; inside he remains as ignorant as the student. There is no difference in their being, they differ in their knowledge.”

Work Press Office Bhagawati

There I was together with so many other disciples in the ashram during the seventies, happily wearing robes in all colors of the rainbow (exclusively maroon came much later), thinking that by becoming sannyasins we had surrendered to the Master and then that was it. The rest would take care of itself.

Learning from the Master first of all implied ‘unlearning’ all that which I had undisputedly imbibed and stored as truths while I was growing up. That was often painful because by discovering falsehoods I had believed in, I came closer to my own misconceptions and ideas that were based on those other fabrications firmly stuck within. Getting rid of those can be compared to toiling in salt mines!

I did not ask myself if I was committed to being a disciple or not. I knew I loved Osho and was his sannyasin, and that implied surrender; to what depth surrender could be possible, I was unaware of.

I recall a day when I discovered what surrender really means. At the time I was an ashramite; meaning I worked and received food in the ashram, living in a room together with Anado and Rupa in ‘Number 70’, a property behind the main ashram premises. On that day I sat in morning discourse and was aware of my mind loudly whining and bitching about wanting to live inside the No. 17 Koregaon Park premises, what was to me the ‘real ashram’. I only occasionally heard a word what Osho was speaking about because the mind was bringing up all kinds of reasons and grievances, making me feel more and more miserable. Suddenly, self or soul or consciousness came in overriding the mind and my inner voice stated categorically, “I would live under a bridge if this is what it takes to be physically close to him!” With this, a huge wave of relief swept over me and tearfully I bowed down within.

The discourse over, I went back to my room in Number 70 and started tidying it up, making my space nice; I felt I had neglected it and from now on I would enjoy living here. Then I went back to the ashram’s press office where I was working and settled down to my tasks. An hour or so later I got a phone call to come to the office in Krishna House. One of the coordinators saw me and said, “Pack your bags, you are moving inside the ashram premises today.”

“The disciple is receptive, vulnerable, unguarded; he drops all armor. He drops all defense measures. He is ready to die. If the master says, ‘Die!’ he will not wait for a single moment. The master is his soul, his very being; his devotion is unconditional and absolute. And to know absolute devotion is to know God. To know absolute surrender is to know the secret-most mystery of life.”


Quotes by Osho from
And the Flowers Showered, Ch 11
The Dhammapadda: The Way of the Buddha, Vol 3, Ch 8, Q 2

BhagawatiBhagawati is a regular contributor

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