as if a tree starts running

Book Reviews

Anand Haridas reviews Osho’s book, a translation from Hindi: “Osho’s song begins with Yaari’s but takes its own path. He sings throughout the ten discourses on nature.”

As if a tree starts running book coveras if a tree starts running
Talks on the Songs of Yaari

by Osho
Translated from Hindi
Birahini Mandir Diyana Baar बिरहिनी मंदिर दियना बार
OSHO Media International
January 1, 2019
394 pages

It is good to have this newly translated book from Osho. There is a special sweetness contained in his talks in Hindi on the poets who belonged to the sant devotional tradition: Meera, Kabir, Sahajo, Daya and now Yaari. English readers wait anxiously for each new translation because each one offers new nuances to the man we love but will never fully know.

Who was Yaari? His life is covered in obscurity. Some of the poems he sang survive in a 26-page booklet first published in 1916. All we know is that Yari Muhamad was a Muslim and lived in Delhi, perhaps between 1668 and 1763. Nevertheless, his guru, Biru Sahib, was a Hindu. But Biru Sahib’s master, in turn, was Bawari Sahiba, who was also a Muslim by birth and upbringing. Her name indicates that she was mad. Yari’s name in the longer form, Yaari, indicates “friendliness”, someone who is friendly. He accepted all religious traditions and scorned none, unlike many other sants.

Yaari’s nine verses are music. Osho’s ten discourses offer their own unique melodies. And they contain many more poems, taken from Bengali. The holy ones who sing the background chorus include Buddha, Mahavira, Rabiya, Chandidas, Dayananda and Krishnamurti. And, of course, the clowns are here too: Mulla Nasruddin and his simple village companions. The book is, to use words Osho frequently uses, “beautiful” and “lovely”.

Yaari’s poems sing about meditation, using metaphors such as burning candles, drinking water, brides waiting for their husband, and wedding shawls. This was the world as his followers would have known it in their everyday lives, turned into metaphors and symbols for the rise of spirit in the temple of one’s own being.

Osho’s song begins with Yaari’s but takes its own path. He sings throughout the ten discourses on nature. “Nature is the visible form of God,” he insists: “If God is the soul, then nature is the body. If God is the lover, then nature is the beloved. If God is the singer, then nature is the song. If God is the musician, then nature is the music. If God is the dancer, then nature is the dance.”

Because we are part of Nature, our bodies are sacred: “The body is a gift, not a sin. The body is sacred, not profane.” Osho encourages his listeners not to despise the body but to love it: “Respect the body. Welcome the body. Only then will you be able to enter into it. Create friendship with the body, practice friendliness with it.”

Look inwards. Belief belongs only to the blind, those attempting to look outwards. The method for entering into the world within the body is ultimately no method. At first, however, you must find a method, any method. Practice your method as hard as you can. Then one day it will fall away. “Meditation,” Osho says, “is attained only by those who through continual meditation practice arrive at a place where nothing further is to be done. Due to the exhaustion of doing, they will fall down shattered; they attain meditation.” This exhaustion is true interiority and the first taste of resting in godliness.

“I teach you to sit,” Osho says. Not always literally but figuratively. Sitting is a special form of prayer, which happens in silence, beyond words. It is beyond all the scriptures, because it is the individual’s own expression of the divine presence.

The book teaches that true sannyasins belong to no tradition. Although they continually live in the world, in the marketplace, they are rebels. ”Only revolutionaries are in love with the truth,” Osho says. “Wherever rebelliousness is taught, know it to be a congregation of seekers of truth.” His sannyasins accept the totality of life, including their sexuality; nothing can stop them.

And yet, as Osho’s disciples, they do not travel alone. The song that is sung is satsang, the companionship of seekers. These seekers bow at the feet of the awakened one, as Yaari did. They bow at the feet of those who have begun to walk on the journey towards awakening, as Yaari did. And they bow at the feet of the truth of the awakened one, as Yaari did.

Osho shares Yaari with us and our world is brighter, deeper and fuller than it was before. We bow at the feet of Osho, of Yaari and his fellow teachers, of our companions on the way, and of the truths which must become our truth. Last of all, we must never forget to bow gratefully at the feet of those unnamed translators and editors who have allowed the voices of Osho and Yari Sahib to be heard in this new century.

Anand Haridas

Anand Haridas is widely published translator of Southeast Asian literature. He has co-translated Osho’s discourses on Daya Bai, and the poetry of Daya Bai and Sahajo Bai.

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