(27 November 1951 – 7 August 2020)
It was my first day in Pune. May 1980 at the mythic Sunderban Hotel. I had left behind my life as a criminal lawyer in Milano and I could hardly contain my excitement of starting a new chapter of my story.
My afternoon nap was interrupted by voices in Italian coming from the room next door and the hallway. Was I dreaming? Of course I knocked at the door, opened it and in front of me three Italian men were standing laughing and joking. Swami Sanatano (known to me as Mauro Rostagno, an iconic figure of the Italian roaring 70’s, whom I had defended in a nationally publicized case of promoting the consumption of marijuana), Swami Francesco (the millionaire who built his fortune by being the first newspaper editor to print and distribute the image of erected penises in his soft core weekly magazine) and Lorenzo, the well-known journalist of L’Espresso (the Italian leading political weekly publication). They all were wearing red.
Sanatano and Francesco had a mala around their necks. Lorenzo was agonizing in doubt as in two hours he was scheduled to sit at the feet of the Master and get initiated into sannyas. The arrival of an Italian man in jeans was, for a moment, a relief from his dilemma. “I need a lawyer,” were the first words he told me. “Too late, I retired,” was my answer. We all knew that it was too late. There was no way out. The river was flowing and it was carrying him, and me and all of us, to the same ocean: The Master’s eyes. A death sentence, in the good sense of it…
A small procession of handsome thirty-something Italian men left the hotel towards the ashram, delivering the bride to the ceremony. We left Lorenzo at the Gate of no Return and one hour later we saw a new light in his mischievous eyes.
Many lives changed that day. Ours and those of the many who shared with us hours, days, months, years in the next episodes of our lives.
After few months of bliss in the last chapters of Poona 1, Lorenzo had to go back to Milano to his job at L’Espresso. Maroon jacket, pink shirt, red tie, impeccable as always.
When the Master finally arrived in Oregon, Lorenzo asked and obtained to be transferred to the Los Angeles Office of L’Espresso. That was where we all wanted to be: next to Osho, even if next meant a thousand miles. Same continent at least, then we see…
No more political analysis in his job description: interviews to stars and gossips about who sleeps with whom in Hollywood. But Lorenzo loved LA. His first house in Lauren Canyon became a destination for the many sannyasins passing by. His first car – an American dream to drive – and the stars he met at fancy restaurants or in their mansions challenged his fantasies of many years at the movies. Their voices were different, no more dubbed by Italian actors.
Then there were the celebrations at the Ranch. At the second (or third or fourth?), Lorenzo was caught with his regular stash of marijuana for his daily joints. Sushila, the Super Ma protecting all Italian boys with a good name, or good wealth or a good physique, saved him from immediate expulsion for a cut of the bag.
After the celebration Lorenzo left the Ranch with Madak, who was to become his wife and the mother of his only son. Love has its way, in or out of the sangha…
Lorenzo never came back to the Ranch, nor did he wear red or the mala. But in his mischievous eyes one could always find the witness.
We met several times, when I went back to California after the Ranch ended and in Maui, where he came with his wife or his new girlfriend after his divorce and finally with his second wife Milli. Anytime there was a film festival in Oahu or Maui, Lorenzo was spending time in our house. Then we called each other less and less often and his refusal to be on Facebook made it even harder to stay in touch. But each time, sharing the joy of new young love or the anxiety of cancer, that afternoon at Sunderban Hotel was our secret.
Now I am the only survivor of that group of handsome Italian men. Sanatano was killed in Sicily by the mafia at the gate of the Sannyas Center he had created with Francesco. Francesco, after Sanatano’s murder and the transformation of the Center into a Rehabilitation facility for addicted youth, moved to the Caribbean where he died of a heart attack in his hotel room.
I look at our lives and realize the gift of freedom we all got from surrendering to the Master. The river flows in unpredictable ways and we can only ride the waves.
Lorenzo was a really big deal in Los Angeles. Mainstream press is writing obituaries about his accomplishments as President of the Foreign Press Association and of the Gold Globe Awards. They write of compassion and humanity and generosity and of his sense of humor – and in every picture of his you can catch a constant smile.
They do not know of that evening when he came back from the Gate of No Return as Swami Dhyan Lorenzo. Let’s keep it that way. It’s our secret.
Life gave you so much, dear friend.
Swami Prem Hasid
Lorenzo’s Sannyas Darshan
This is your name: Swami Dhyan Lorenzo.
Dhyan means meditation. Lorenzo symbolizes two things;
One is victory, another is immortality – and both are attained through victory.
Meditation does not mean concentration – remember.
Millions of people
Live under the wrong impression
That meditation means concentration.
And if one starts
With a wrong concept from the very beginning
Then the whole journey goes wrong.
The first step is the most important step
It is almost half the journey.
If the first step is right
The second follows it automatically.
And the first step is
To understand precisely and exactly
What meditation is all about.
It is not concentration.
Concentration is something of the mind
And meditation is going beyond the mind.
Concentration is needed in scientific work;
You have to focus your mind
On one thing exclusively.
You cannot include many things otherwise
Those many things will become distractions.
You have to exclude everything out
You have to bracket everything out
You have to focus as closely as possible
On one point.
They define science as
Knowing about less and less.
If that is true
Then ultimate science will be defined as
Knowing everything about nothing.
Not excluding anything out of your vision
Not bracketing out anything
But including everything. It is inclusive
It is not afraid of distraction.
The whistle of the railway train, a dog barking
The horn of a car, the traffic noise
The birds, the people, the children playing
Somebody shouting, somebody singing –
Everything is included in it;
You are simply a witness of it all
Not concentrating on anything in particular
Just a diffused awareness
Just being watchful, whatsoever is happening.
All doors and all windows are open
And you are available to everything.
In concentration distraction is bound to happen
But in meditation
There is no possibility of distraction
Because meditation is vast enough
To include destructions also.
That’s the beauty of meditation:
You cannot disturb a meditator – impossible.
That is impossible
From the very definition of meditation.
If he is disturbed, that simply means
He was concentrating, not meditating;
He has not yet understood what meditation is.
If you concentrate then naturally, anything else
Trying to get your attention is a destruction;
You cannot think of two things simultaneously
So when you think of the other
You miss the first,
For the moment you are no more there.
But meditation is not thinking at all
Hence everything is included, simultaneously,
And existence is simultaneous, remember;
Thinking is linear.
If somebody asks you, ‘What happened today
In darshan, when you were taking initiation?
How many people were there?’
The description will be linear,
A B C D, that way
But they are all present here, simultaneously.
They will not be present simultaneously.
A will be followed by B
B will be followed by C
C will be followed by D
Thinking is linear, one-dimensional,
And reality is multi-dimensional,
Reality is simultaneous
It is all happening, all together.
A meditator allows this simultaneousness
And becomes simply watchful, serene, silent
Alert, but not focusing at all.
Just the other day I was reading a joke.
Two girls from a village came to a big town.
The first thing they wanted to
Was to be photographed
So they went to the photographer –
That was their first experience of life
Of being photographed. The photographer
Threw his black cloth over his head
Looked inside his camera…
One girl asked the other, ‘What is he doing?’
The other said, ‘He is going to focus?’
So the first said, ‘Both of us?’
First he should photograph and then
He can do whatsoever he wants…
But not right now!
Meditation is not focusing.
It is just awareness, just watchfulness
And out of it these both things are possible:
You will become victorious over yourself
And you will come to know that you are immortal.
Not that you have to believe in immortality –
No belief is needed; it becomes your experience.
As you go deeper into awareness
You become aware of both the things:
A deep inner victory, a sense of victoriousness
That you have conquered the inner world
That you have come home, that there is
Nothing more beautiful than this
Nothing higher than this
Nothing more precious that this –
What Jesus calls the kingdom of god,
You have conquered it.
Knowing it is conquering it
And at the same moment suddenly you become aware
That you were never born and you will never die.
You belong to eternity, not to time.
Meditation takes you beyond the mind –
Time belongs to mind.
Once you are beyond mind, time disappears,
You become part of eternity.
— How long you will be here?
— I don’t know.
— Be here as long as possible.
— I didn’t get what Lorenzo means – I was too much in…
— What Lorenzo means?
— Ah, victory!
— And immortality…
— Oh, okay!
Osho, No Man Is an Island, Ch 29 – 29 May 1980
Photos and text thanks to Hasid, alert thanks to Kendra, Samya and Mega
The funeral was held on 13 August 2020 in LA.
i nostri incontri sono stati pochi in tutti questi anni, ma sempre intensi e pieni di humor!
Da Puna 1 al Saman, dal Ranch a LA (mi hai addirittura accompagnata a un altare🤣), e poi a Roma…
Ma al mio ultimo messaggio non hai mai risposto.
Mi manchera’ il tuo inevitabile sarcasmo… buon viaggio!❣️
Lorenzo, we only met twice in LA at your places. It was an honor to have met you and we enjoyed our meetings with you and your appearances at the Golden Globes. Fly high dear friend in the spirit of Osho.