From Astrology to Advaita Vedanta

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Flying with the stars and disappearing into realization – Our long-time astrologer Sitara spoke with us about the new direction her life has taken and why she stopped writing horoscopes.

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Please tell us about your life!

I grew up in Hamburg, Northern Germany; I lived there for 25 years and started university life by studying German language. The idea was to become a teacher but I soon dropped that to go to Poona and take Sannyas. In the Sannyas context I was involved with using language for editing and translation at the German Osho Times.

My heart wasn’t really into becoming a school teacher even though I love teaching and also always wanted to work with people. My actual desire had been to study psychology but my grade point average in the final exams did not allow for that. Being able at a later time to work with people as a therapist in the Osho commune fulfilled what I anyway had wanted to do.

How did you come to Osho?

I have always been a seeker, at first within the Christian context. Once I started University, I came across those red-robed, bright-eyed people who talked about their Indian Guru and his revolutionary messages. I still remember the moment when I fell in love with Osho; in a book I saw his photo and, looking into these most beautiful eyes, I drowned in love. I was 24 and immediately booked my flight to India. One or two months later I travelled to Poona for the first time.

When did you fall in love with astrology and what kept you in its grip for so many years?

I must have been 12 years old when astrology entered my life and I never learned it at a school or in a course. It just grew with me.

Astrology is one of the many tools to help one to understand the human psyche and help people to grow. As to why this has been the tool that happened to me, I do not know. Sometimes I was more actively using it, sometimes it remained in the background. There were times when I actually wanted to give it up because actually, as opposed to some clients, I never considered it to be infallible. Yet for some reason or other it continued to remain part of my life.

How was life for you in Osho’s communes?

I lived in a small commune in Germany at first and later joined one of the large ones in Cologne, Wioska. This was during the beginning of the same year when Sheela left the Ranch (1985) and all kinds of ugly facts started to come to the open. As I had had quite mixed feelings about the workings in the Commune and at the Ranch I was not too shook-up, and nothing could stop me from trusting Osho himself anyway. The Cologne commune dissolved in its old form in the beginning of 1986 but continued in another very beautiful form with lots of little businesses created by sannyasins. Many lived communally in small and large flats scattered nearby and I am still living in this area today. I enjoyed that time a lot.

You travelled widely from the end of the eighties through to the nineties – please speak a little about where you went.

To start with, I did not have a base anywhere, just a few things stored in trunks in Poona or in basements of friends in Germany. As many did at that time, I “commuted” between Germany, making money, and using it up, staying in Poona. Later, there was a period of 3 ½ years when my then boyfriend and I tried out life on a farm in Southern France. Besides the farm work we meditated a lot. From time to time sannyasins came to stay with us and help with the farm work, and we received the name “Osho Dhanya Meditation Center”. I still cherish that experience, living in and off nature – something I had never done before. After that, the traveling continued, this time together with my boyfriend. Again, we did not have a base, just some trunks in Poona and some basics and a car in Australia. “Commuting” was now mainly between Australia and India. Again, a fulfilling time for which I am still very thankful.

When I eventually returned to Germany in 1998, I did not have many options how to make my living. It just so happened that immediately after my return to Cologne, the German Osho Times asked me to write the horoscope for them. This set the compass in the direction of Astrology and I started to offer sessions again.

In which way did Osho’s vision influence your way of doing astrology charts and transit readings?

Being a sannyasin, everything I did was influenced by Osho’s vision. That means meditating, listening to Osho’s discourses, writing and translating for the German Osho Times, giving therapy sessions, tarot readings, heart readings, past life hypnosis or astrology sessions ­- everything came into play in my astrological work at some point.

All those years with Osho helped me to become quite a mature person. And a mature person makes for a better astrologer than someone who continuously plays out their own agenda, projecting their own issues on the client.

You have decided to no longer compose the monthly horoscope for the German OT and for us. This appears like a big change in your life by wanting to put your energy totally into Advaita Vedanta, which you have been studying for many years.

Yes, it definitely is a big step. I wrote the monthly and annual horoscopes for the German Osho Times for the last two decades and enjoyed that. But over the last ten years my focus shifted more and more towards traditional Advaita Vedanta. In the past I have always worked with people, helping them to evolve on the personality level. In the last ten years this has been changing. I still give an occasional Astrology session but mainly I work with people now to help them become enlightened – and I do so with Advaita Vedanta, following its time-tested ingenious methodology.

What is the most important thing you have learned being with Osho?

Freedom is the key word for me – not in the sense of moksha; I was not ready for that in those years with Osho. He invited me to be a free person, to not look around all the time what others want me to do or not to do but to decide for myself and stand up for my decisions. A key experience happened in the beginning of 1980 after I had taken sannyas and returned from Poona. It came to me in the form of one of those dreams that one never forgets because they contain a very important message.

In Hamburg, where I still lived at the time, public transport is provided by the S-Bahn (rapid mass transit railway network). One of their stops is called ‘Sternschanze’. My new sannyas name being Sitara (meaning star), my unconscious translated Sternschanze into ‘chance for the star’; in German, ‘Chance für den Stern’.

In that dream I was passing by this stop, when Osho came and took my mala off my neck, and turned the locket with his photo around. In reality there is also the same photo on the back, but in the dream the back was solid wood. He then took out a woodburning pen, burned something into the wood and returned the mala to me.

I looked at it and read ‘You are the master’. Even though I immediately understood his message as “Let yourself be free!”, it took me 21 years or even longer to fully live it. Even though it was easy for me to be uncompromisingly myself in regard to society, family etc.; within the sannyas context, I again and again compromised myself for fear of not being accepted. Those compromises became less and less severe and less and less in number, but they still lingered and bugged me. I did not like that I was not myself.

What helped over the years was a method called Instinctive Learning, which I still cherish immensely; I use it to help my own disciples to step out of persistent old habits that interfere with their spiritual advancement.

Standing up for myself as someone not only studying but, meanwhile teaching Advaita Vedanta, was the last step in liberating myself within the sannyas context. Osho was my first master who I deeply loved and I am immensely thankful for all those wonderful years. He did the preparatory work but it was not Osho who set me free.

In 2001 I went to Poona for the last time – not to visit the commune but to take part in Dolano’s Intensive Satsang – which was the first step to true freedom, moksha. This is the freedom which does not only involve the personality but takes you beyond the personality. With this, my whole perspective changed, even though on the outside many things remained the same at first.

Dolano did not become my new guru but she certainly has been the turning point in my spiritual life. After that, any remaining interest in personal growth dissolved and I was only interested in one thing: to complete the realization that began through that process.

I was not on the lookout for another guru but I did look around for inspiration. Gangaji provided valuable input for a while and made the realization more complete but the last completion came through Advaita Vedanta.

English section of her website: advaitavedanta-sitara.de
Email: mail (at) advaitavedanta-sitara (dot) de

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