Now serialized online on Osho World – writes Bhagawati, the author of this compilation of life stories. Here the links to the first 16 stories.
A compilation of 43 first-person sannyasin tales detailing how their lives were transformed as a result of learning about Osho, then Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, was launched twelve years ago in New Delhi.
The sannyasins varied in age, had incredibly diverse lifestyles in numerous nations, worked in businesses or still studying; some were single, some were married, some were in partnerships, and some had kids. But they had one thing in common – consciously or unconsciously – the notion that life might be more than what they had known until that point.
During the 1970s and 1980s, they came across people who were wearing orange-coloured clothing and a necklace with a pendant of a bearded man; they also encountered people who were meditating; some of them had been to a bookstore where they reached for a book by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh; they saw a picture of him and a flame was lit.
To be with Osho, who had called them in an inexplicable way and had touched their hearts, eventually hundreds of thousands of inspired souls set off on a trip into the unknown via various roads and circumstances.
I was among those who heeded the call, and every time I recall my initial meeting with Osho, tears of gratitude well up in my eyes. I am also appreciative of all the friends who chose to share their personal stories.
The unconditional love, acceptance, and support Osho bestowed on everyone during his time on earth continues to be felt, also by people who have never met him. The unique stories serve as an everlasting canvas on which to “innerstand” the Master’s work.
Since there are currently just a few copies of the book left available, Atul at Osho World in New Delhi made the decision to release the complete book in weekly segments on their website. Where necessary, the text has been updated and gently altered.
More than a dozen postings are already freely accessible at the time of writing at oshoworld.com
Here the first 16 stories, linked to Osho World:
SWAMI ANAND GUENTER (Blissful and Bold in the Battle)
Born 1939 in Berlin, Germany. Guenter took sannyas in 1980 and presently lives in Berlin, Germany.
BLISSFUL AND BOLD IN THE BATTLE
In this life, I was born in Berlin, about three months before Adolf Hitler decided to attack Poland with his propaganda campaign, “The German army started shooting back at the German-Polish border.” I remember my mother, my one-and-a-half-year older brother Manfred and I visiting my father in the summer of 1941 in the village of Altheide, splendidly surrounded by beautiful red poppy fields; he was stationed there as a German army commanding officer with his battalion. I also remember that during one visit, low-flying Russian airplanes attacked us on the open field; the soldiers hit the ground faster than us kids, and seemed more afraid than we were…
MA SUNDER AVINASHO (Eternal beauty)
Born in 1949 in Einbeck, Germany. Avinasho took sannyas in 1982 and presently lives in Marin County, California, U.S.A.
“How on earth can you hang someone else’s picture around your neck?” I demanded, almost shaking with indignation in my blue denim overalls. My sister, her two-year-old daughter, and I had just returned from vacation and were shocked when we saw her (then) husband standing at the arrival gate in the airport with a big smile on his face. He had shaved his head, was wearing bright-red jeans and T-shirt, and – worst of all – a weird necklace. He had joined a cult! What an irrational thing to do! Hadn’t he learned anything from the stupid Germans who had blindly followed another mad leader?…
SWAMI DEVA JAYAPAL (Divine King)
Born in 1938 in New York, U.S.A. Jayapal took sannyas in 1977 and presently lives in San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
HARD AS NAILS
The year was 1976. I had spent the better part of my life exploring therapeutic paradigms ranging from analysis on the one hand to gestalt and primal on the other. Somehow I was beginning to O.D. on the stuff, and some friends suggested I check out some eastern mystics for a different perspective. This was an unknown world for me, provoking images of religious charlatans or weird looking, bald Hare Krishnas bugging people in the airport. But I took a shot at it, buying four books at Weiser’s Bookstore in Greenwich Village: Be Here Now by Ram Dass; Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Trungpa Rinpoche; a book on Zen by Suzuki; and finally, for no reason at all, Meditation: The Art of Ecstasy by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. And so my initiation began…
MA YOGA PUNYA (Union and Virtue)
Born in 1944 in Aarau, Switzerland. Punya took sannyas in 1974 and presently lives near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England.
THE FRAGRANCE OF TRUTH OR A BEWITCHING PICTURE
After several years of working as a graphic designer, translator, editor, and production manager – all in one – for a monthly magazine for the Italian printing trade, I was employed by a German import-export company in Milan. With my Portuguese boyfriend, João, I shared a flat in Viale Bianca Maria, where, on the same landing, he had opened his graphic studio. It was a posh address, but our flat was in an old block close to Piazza Cinque Giornate, a square which was going to see violent demonstrations by the communists against the fascists who had their quarters a few streets behind us…
MA ANAND VANDANA (Blissful Prayer/Gratitude)
Born in 1947 in Wellington, New Zealand. Vandana took sannyas in 1974 and presently lives in Perth, Western Australia.
HE TOOK OFF THE LID
In the early 70’s, my life, which had never really come together, began to fall apart. Living in Sydney in a crazy never-functional marriage, my husband was producing the album for “Hair”, and stoned actors and musicians were all over our house. One night while digesting a mind-altering chemical, I heard John Lennon’s screaming post-Primal Therapy album, “John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band”, and went, “I want what he’s having”…
MA NIRAVA SOHANA (Silent Gratefulness)
Born in 1942 in Jersey City, N.J. U.S.A. Sohana took sannyas in 1984 and presently lives in Arizona, USA.
My life has been filled with adventures since an early age. Being a Sagittarian, I played with bows and arrows as a child and remember shooting my neighbor even though Dennis was a cute boy and I liked him. The arrow had a rubber tip. I grew up in New Jersey and escaped at the earliest possible time, never to return…
MA PREMRUP (Love and Beauty)
Born in 1943 in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. Premrup took sannyas in 1978 and presently lives in Santa Rosa, California, USA.
It was the mid-seventies and I was part of a radical socialist-feminist group. We met once a week, plotting events to embarrass rich people. We were children of the 60s, living in suburban America, dissident and dissatisfied… anything but grateful. We were full of anger and rationalizations to justify that anger by pointing outside ourselves at all the obvious faults in society. After many meetings, I plucked up my courage to announce that I was leaving this group because I felt no love amongst its members for each other let alone people… and why plan revolution without love, if you know what I mean…
SWAMI PREM NIRVANO (Love and Enlightenment)
Born in 1941 in Gera, Thuringia, Germany. Nirvano took sannyas in 1976 and presently lives near Cologne, Germany.
SOMETHING IS AWAITING YOU
Today is Monday, the 19th of January, 2009. In other words: It’s exactly 19 years ago that Osho left his body. And it’s exactly 33 years ago that Osho came into my life. It was a cold Sunday afternoon in London. I was waiting for a friend, standing outside Burlington House where we were going to see the exhibition ‘The Golden Age of Spanish Painting’, when suddenly I saw two people in orange coming towards me from Trafalgar Square. Presently, I recognized in them my old friends Luigi and Mario, a gay couple. I hadn’t seen them for about three years; they were then living in South Kensington and I had spent almost every weekend with them, coming down from Cambridge…
SWAMI ANAND NEERAVA (Blissful Silence)
Born in 1948 in London, England. Neerava took sannyas in 1978 and is presently living in Perth, Western Australia.
GOD IS WITHIN
If I’m honest, it was clothes and sex – two of my favourite things (when I was younger) – which started me on my way to Osho! It’s a long story because it took me a long time to get it; Osho and sannyas eased gently into my life. In the mid-1970s, I was a young and idealistic left-wing lawyer, and former professional rock drummer, working in a legal aid practice in the East End of London. I wanted to help change the many injustices and things I saw wrong in the world…
MA PREM ATTA (Love of Self)
Born in 1946 in Lima, Peru. Atta took sannyas in 1978 and is presently living in Bali, Indonesia
IN LOVE WITH THE GUY
In 1969, during what became known as the Summer of Love, I was working as a stewardess for United Airlines, out of San Francisco. Work life was Miss Stewardess, prim and proper, and in the off-hours a hippie in Marin County. United had announced a special program for airline volunteers to have a work experience in Asia and I had applied to the Tom Dooley Foundation for a position working with Tibetan refugee children in a day care centre at the carpet factory in Jawalakhel in Nepal. When I flew to Kathmandu to check out my future post, I met a hipster there named Milan Melvin who had been married to Joan Baez’ little sister, Mimi Farina…
SWAMI ANAND DEVOPAMA (Divine-like Bliss)
Born in 1937 in Lincoln, England. Devopama took sannyas in 1976 and left his body in 2018 in Somerset, England
THE SHIFT FROM HEAD TO HEART
Sannyas found me. I just went along with what was clearly happening, and enjoyed the thrill of whole new vistas opening up. The conscious sense of a connection with Osho, or with Bhagwan, as he was known then, came later, after I’d been to Poona. Even there – so far as I was aware – it came in little realisations, nuggets perhaps: during one of my first lectures in the old Chuang Tzu Auditorium, in German Purna’s Janov-style primal group and the group darshan afterwards, a Hindi discourse, as he drove by outside Lao Tzu Gate. These are some of the most memorable moments….
MA PREM ANADO (Love and Soundless Silence)
Born in 1944 in Modena, Italy. Anado took sannyas in 1978 and left her body in 2015 in Seattle, WA, USA
Can you believe it?
Can you believe the silhouette of a man, all dressed in flowing orange robes, with long curly hair floating in the breeze around a smiling face, walking down a little country road in Tuscany? Surrounded by fields and vineyards, by cypress trees and olive groves, he walks with a steady gait, carrying an orange bag on his shoulder. The sun is at midday, so this orange man’s shadow walks with him, under him, the only shade on the road…
MA ANAND GAYAN (Song of Bliss)
Born in 1947 in Hamburg, Germany. Gayan took sannyas in 1976 and is presently living near Munich, Germany.
THE FACE I WOULD NEVER FORGET
It was during the ‘swinging sixties’ with the Beatles, Elvis, the hippies, the miniskirt and the hula hoop; I was living in Munich together with my boyfriend, studying ballet at the ‘Musikhochschule’, a branch of the university. We were moving around in the esoteric scene, which was in reality not much of a scene…
SWAMI DEVA ANUPAM (Divine Uniqueness)
Born in 1948 in New York, U.S.A. Took Sannyas in 1978 and is presently living near Perth, Western Australia.
JUST TO BE HERE JUST FOR THIS
Osho came into my life in 1976 when I was 28 years old, at the end of the fourth seven-year cycle of life. I was living in Los Angeles at that time and was becoming tired of my life situation; tired of working in a boring, dead-end job in a record and tape warehouse, and tired too of the limited and not very satisfying distractions of alcohol, drugs, and the occasional sexual encounter. I knew that I was going nowhere, and while it was clear that there was no future in what I was doing, I had no idea there were any worthwhile alternatives…
MA DEVA PRIYA (Beloved of the Divine)
Born in 1969 in Ludhiana, India. Priya took sannyas in 1976 and is presently living in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India.
I WILL TAKE CARE OF HER
Osho is my love affair since childhood. I feel very strongly that it was not just an accident that I was born in a house where Osho was loved so much. I really feel that I chose my parents. The day my mother, Neelam, knew she was pregnant with me was the same day she met Osho for the first time. Both of my parents fell in love with him. My mom started meditating while I was in her womb…
SWAMI PREM AZIMA (Big Love)
Born in 1953 in Verona, Italy. Azima took sannyas in 1978 and presently lives in Sicily, Italy.
LOST IN HIS EYES
During 1968, a time when many young people believed that social change could be implemented, I was a young boy of 13 living in Palermo, Sicily, best known as a Mafia nest. Aloneness is the image that is paramount in my memory – I had a strong feeling of ‘not belonging to this city or family or environment’. I generally felt disconnected from people and could not understand their morals and ways of living…
- Past the Point of No Return: Inner and Outer Journeys – Reviews and feed-backs on Bhagawati’s compilation of stories
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