The day Satyananda died, friends and visitors came to say farewell to him. After telling their stories to each other they had the idea of collecting them in a book. The result is ‘Abschied von Satyananda’, just out now in German language. Hear how it came about.
It is a cold January Sunday. Heavy snowflakes envelope the landscape with white silence. A group of people sit around the big table in Eltenbach House, sipping hot cups of tea. Someone has brought a cake, the place is getting crowded, more chairs are needed…
In the early morning Satyananda has died. Friends from all over the world are phoning, those who live nearby have come to take leave from him in person. The door bell rings again, more people are coming in.
One by one we enter his room, holding a burning candle, and immerse ourselves in its peace.
With this particular experience in our hearts, we sit down again in a big circle around the table. From another room we hear Osho’s voice: “Death is not the enemy…” Outside, white flakes fall soundlessly and a deep silence envelops the garden. The whole house feels like a cocoon, as if the fresh carpet of snow was protecting this unique space where life and death meet.
Everybody starts sharing their stories about Satyananda. Friends, young and old, neighbours and family. Weeping, laughing, and listening quietly to the many stories and memories.
One of these stories is from Udo. It’s about how he first met Satyananda, out of all places it was in the toilet of the Cologne sannyas disco. Udo was studying theology at the time, sweating away at his doctoral thesis, and had just finished reading Satyananda’s best seller Ganz entspannt im Hier und Jetzt. The book talks about Osho’s ashram in Pune and why he switched from being an admired and successful Stern magazine author to becoming Swami Satyananda. The book had shaken Udo to his very foundations; he had hesitatingly started to get in touch with Osho’s buddhafield – and to dance in the sannyas disco.
Anyhow, while taking a pee in the disco toilet, a note on the wall in front of him had caught his eye: A girl had been molested on her way home and was now asking for clues. The man at the urinal next to him was also reading the note and asked, “Is she one of us?” Udo looked at him; the eyes, the moustache, no doubt, it was HIM, his hero, Satyananda. Udo’s knees turned to jelly and, as he puts it, “I desperately hung onto the only bit of support at hand. I answered, ultra-aware of the lie I was telling, ‘No, I don’t think so.’ I didn’t even know that girl! But I simply could not bear the thought of NOT being ‘one of them’! So this is how I become ‘one of us’; soon afterwards I became Swami Paritosh Udo…”
And yes, Satyananda had not been able to finish his last book… his last effort to share with us his rich and intense life. BUT couldn’t we all of us who are assembled here, inspired and touched by him, present HIM with a book as a last farewell of gratitude and loving remembrance?
Thus, the idea for the book is born!
All of a sudden, almost everybody comes up with a possible contribution and out of the sadness that was filling the room, joy bubbles up. There is something we can do! Yes, we can give him something in return and, in a way, make good for his unfulfilled wish!
Text based on info from Nirvano and Gitama, and from the intro of the book itself
‘Abschied von Satyananda’ (Farewell to Satyananda) was put together by Gitama, Satyananda’s wife, and Madhunado, a friend and journalist, as a commemoration of Satyananda (Jörg Andrees Elten) who died in January last year, only a few weeks before turning ninety.
The awe-inspiring variety of contributions lets us meet with people of all ages and from all walks of life. Stories of a childhood friend, of his three daughters, journalists, friends old and new, and of course of his closest sannyasin friends have turned this book into a precious jewel. Available in German language only from www.hierjetzt.de
Ganz entspannt im Hier und Jetzt is being translated into English and should be available in 2018. We will keep you posted when published.
More articles and interviews by, and tributes to Satyananda on Osho News