Osho begins Sannyas Initiations
September 26th to October 5th, 1970, Osho holds a Meditation Camp in Manali, in the Himalayas. On September 26th He initiates His first group of disciples, now called neo-sannyasins.
I started initiating people into sannyas.
Sannyas was simply that they are now ready to listen me without any device. They are willing to open their heart. That much trust has grown in them. last404
On the day of the first initiations, Osho explains:
To me, sannyas does not mean renunciation; it means a journey to joy bliss. To me, sannyas is not any kind of negation; it is a positive attainment. But up to now, the world over, sannyas has been seen in a very negative sense, in the sense of giving up, of renouncing. I, for one, see sannyas as something positive and affirmative, something to be achieved, to be treasured.
It is true that when someone carrying base stones as his treasure comes upon a set of precious stones, he immediately drops the baser ones from his hands. He drops the baser stones only to make room for the newfound precious stones. It is not renunciation. It is just as you throw away the sweepings from your house to keep it neat and clean. And you don't call it renunciation, do you? You call it renunciation when you give up something you JUSTIFY">It is true that when someone carrying base stones as his treasure comes upon a set of precious stones, he immediately drops the baser ones from his hands. He drops the baser stones only to make room for the newfound precious stones. It is not renunciation. It is just as you throw away the sweepings from your house to keep it neat and clean. And you don't call it renunciation, do you? You call it renunciation when you give up something you value, and you maintain an account of your renunciations. So far, sannyas has been seen in terms of such a reckoning of all that you give upbe it family or money or whatever.
I look at sannyas from an entirely different angle, the angle of positive achievement. Undoubtedly there is a fundamental difference between the two viewpoints. If sannyas, as I see it, is an acquisition, an achievement, then it cannot mean opposition to life, breaking away from life. In fact, sannyas is an attainment of the highest in life; it is life's finest fulfillment.
And if sannyas is a fulfillment, it cannot be sad and somber, it should be a thing of festivity and joy. Then sannyas cannot be a shrinking of life; rather, it should mean a life that is ever expanding and deepening, a life abundant. Up to now we have called him a sannyasin who withdraws from the world, from everything, who breaks away from life and encloses himself in a cocoon.
I, however, call him a sannyasin who does not run away from the world, who is not shrunken and enclosed, who relates with everything, who is open and expansive.
Sannyas has other implications too. A sannyas that withdraws from life turns into a bondage, into a prison; it cannot be freedom. And a sannyas that negates freedom is really not sannyas. Freedom, ultimate freedom is the very soul of sannyas.
For me, sannyas has no limitations, no inhibitions, no rules and regulations.
For me, sannyas does not accept any imposition, any regimentation, any discipline. For me, sannyas is the flowering of man's ultimate freedom, rooted in his intelligence, his wisdom.
I call him a sannyasin who has the courage to live in utter freedom, and who accepts no bondage, no organization, no discipline whatsoever.
This freedom, however, does not mean license; it does not mean that a sannyasin becomes licentious. The truth is that it is always a man in bondage, a slave, who turns licentious. One who is independent and free can never be licentious; there is no way for him to be so.
That is how I am going to separate the sannyas of the future from the sannyas of the past. And I think that the institution of sannyas, as it has been up to now, is on its deathbed; it is as good as dead. It has no future whatsoever. But sannyas in its essence, has to be preserved. It is such a precious attainment of mankind that we cannot afford to lose it. Sannyas is that rarest of flowers that blooms once in a great while. But it is likely that it will wither away for want of proper caring. And it will certainly die if it remains tied to its old patterns.
Therefore, sannyas has to be invested with a new meaning, a new concept. Sannyas has to live; it is the most profound, the most precious treasure that mankind has. But how to save it, preserve it, is the question.
I would like to share with you my vision on this score.
Firstly, it is a long time that sannyas has remained isolated from the world, and consequently it has been doubly harmed. A sannyasin living completely cut off from the world, living in utter isolation from the world, becomes poor, and his poverty is very deep and subtle, because the wealth of all our life's experiences lies in the world, not outside. All our experiences of pain and pleasure, attachment and detachment, hate and love, enmity and friendship, war and peace, come from the world itself. So when a man breaks away from the world, he becomes a hothouse plant, he ceases to be a flower that blooms under the sun and the open sky. By now, sannyas has become a hothouse plant. And such a sannyas cannot live any longer.
Sannyas cannot be grown in hothouses. To grow and blossom, the plant of sannyas needs an open sky. It needs the light of day and the darkness of night; it needs rains, winds and storms. It needs everything there is between the earth and the sky. A sannyasin needs to go through the whole gamut of challenges and dangers. By isolating him from the world we have harmed the sannyasin enormously, because his inner richness has diminished so much.
It is amusing that those who are ordinarily called good people don't have that richness of life their opposites have; they lack the richness of experience. For this reason, novelists think it is difficult to write a story around the life of a good person, that his life is flat and almost eventless. Curiously enough, a bad person makes a good story; he is a must for a story, even for history. What more can we say of a good man than this, that he has been good from the cradle to the grave?
Isolating him from the world, we deprive the sannyasin of experience; he remains very poor in experience. Of course, isolation gives him a sort of security, but it makes him poor and lackluster.
I want to unite the sannyasin with the world. I want sannyasins who work on farms and in factories, in offices and shops right in the marketplace. I don't want sannyasins who escape from the world; I don't want them to be renegades from life. I want them to live as sannyasins in the very thick of the world, to live with the crowd amid its din and bustle. Sannyas will have verve and vitality if the sannyasin remains a sannyasin in the very thick of the world.
In the past, if a woman wanted to be a sannyasin, she had to leave her husband, her children, her family; she had to run away from the life of the world. If a man wanted to take sannyas he had to leave his wife, his children, his family, his whole world, and escape to a monastery or a cave in the mountains.
For me, such a sannyas has no meaning whatsoever. I hold that after taking sannyas, a man or woman should not run away from the world, but should remain where he or she is and let sannyas flower right there.
You can ask how someone will manage his sannyas living in the world. What will he do as a husband, as a father, as a shopkeeper, as a master, as a servant? As a sannyasin how will he manage his thousand and one relationships in the world?because life is a web of relationships. In the past he just ran away from the world, where he was called upon to shoulder any number of responsibilities, and this escape made everything so easy and convenient for him. Sitting in a cave or a monastery, he had no responsibilities. no worries; he led a secluded and shrunken life.
What kind of a sannyas will it be which is not required to renounce anything? Will sannyas without renunciation mean anything?
Recently an actor came to visit me. He is a new entrant into the film world. He asked for my autograph with a message for him. So I wrote in his book: "Act as if it is real life and live as if it is acting."
To me, the sannyasin is one who lives life like an actor. If someone wants to blossom in sannyas living in the thick of the world, he should cease to be a doer and become an actor, become a witness. He should live in the thick of life, play his role, and at the same time be a witness to it, but in no way should he be deeply involved in his role, be attached to it. He should cross the river in a way that his feet remain untouched by the water. It is, however, difficult to cross a river without letting the water touch your feet, but it is quite possible to live in the world without getting involved in it, without being tied to it.
In this connection it is necessary to understand what play acting is. The miracle is that the more your life becomes play acting, the more orderly, natural and carefree it becomes. If a woman, as a mother, learns a small truth, that although the child she is bringing up has been borne by her, yet he does not belong to her alone, that she has been no more than a passage for him to come into this world, that he really belongs to that unknown source from which he came, which will sustain him through his life and to which he will return in the end, then that mother will cease to be a doer; she will really become a play actor and a witness.
Conduct an experiment sometime. Decide that for twenty four hours you are going to do everything as acting. If someone insults you, you will not really be angry, you will only act as if you are angry, And likewise, if someone praises you, you will not really be flattered, you will only act as though you are flattered. An experiment like this, just for twenty-four hours, will bring astonishing results for you; it will open new doors to life and living for you. You will then realize to your surprise that you have gone through any amount of unnecessary pain and misery in life by being a doer; they could have easily been avoided if you had been an actor instead. When you go to bed after this experiment in play acting, you will have a deep sleep such as you have never known. Once you cease to be a doer, all your tensions and anxieties will disappear. Your miseries will just evaporate, because all your miseries and agonies come from your being a doer in life.
I want to take sannyas to every hamlet and every home. Only then can sannyas survive. We need millions of sannyasins; just a handful won't do. And millions can take sannyas only if sannyas is positive and life affirmative. We cannot have many sannyasins if you cut sannyas off from the world. Who will feed them? Who will provide them with clothes and shelter? Sannyas of the old kind, which was a haven for idlers and recluses, cannot produce the millions of sannyasins that we need. Those days are gone when society bore the brunt of a vast army of recluses. Moreover, sannyasins of the old kind have to be dependent on society, and as a result they became extremely poor physically and spiritually. Consequently, they cannot be as effective and influential as they should be. Sannyas on a massive scale is not possible if we cling to its old ways.
If sannyas has to be effective on a large scale throughout the worldwhich is so very necessaryand if sannyas has to be meaningful and blissful, then there is no choice but to allow a sannyas that will not be required to break away from society and grow in isolation. Now a sannyasin should remain wherever he is, acting his role in society and being a witness to it.
So I want to unite sannyas with the family, with the workshop and with the market. It will be a unique and beautiful world, if we can make one where a shopkeeper will be a sannyasin. Naturally, such a shopkeeper will find it difficult to resort to dishonest means in business. A shopkeeper who is just acting his role as shopkeeper, and who is also a witness to it, cannot afford to be dishonest. We will change the world radically if we have sannyasins as doctors, lawyers, clerks and office assistants.
A sannyasin living segregated from society is a poor sannyasin, and the society is poorer for him too, because he is one of its best products. When such a person leaves the society to become a sannyasin the society becomes lusterless.
A worldwide campaign for positive sannyas has therefore become urgent. It is very necessary to have sannyasins in every home, in every field and factory across the earth. A sannyasin should be a father or a mother, a wife or a husband; he will remain where he is as a sannyasin. Only his outlook on life will change; now life for him will be no more than a drama, a play. Life for him will be a celebration and not a task, a duty, a drag. And with celebration everything will change.
I have yet another kind of sannyas in my vision which I would like to share with you. It is the vision of short-term sannyas.
I don't want a person to take a vow of lifelong sannyas. In fact, any kind of vow or commitment for the future is dangerous, because we are not the masters of the future. It is utterly wrong to think we are. We have to allow the future to take its course, and we should be ready to accept whatever it brings to us. One who has become a witness cannot decide for the future; only a doer does so. One who thinks that he is a doer can vow that he will remain a sannyasin for his whole life, but a real witness will say, "I don't know what tomorrow is going to be. I will accept it as it comes and be a witness to it too. I cannot decide for tomorrow."
In the past, sannyas was much handicapped by the concept of lifelong sannyas: once a sannyasin, always a sannyasin. We closed the gate of society forever once one entered sannyas. Maybe a person takes sannyas in a particular state of mind, and after some time, when he finds himself in a different state of mind, wants to return to the worldbut he cannot do so because the house of sannyas has only an entrance, it has no exit at all. You can enter sannyas, but once in it you cannot leave. And this single rule has turned sannyas into a prison. Even heaven will turn into hell if there is no exit.
You can say that sannyas has no hard and fast rule like this. That is true, but the fact that society looks down upon one who leaves sannyas is a stronger prohibition than any rule. We have an ingenious device to prevent a sannyasin from going back to the world again. When someone takes sannyas we make a big event of it, give him a farewell with great fanfare, with a band and flowers and eulogies. The poor sannyasin does not know that this is a clever way to say goodbye to him forever. He is not aware that if ever he returns to society he will be received by the same people with sticks instead of flowers.
This is a very dangerous convention. Because of it, any number of people are prevented from participating in the great bliss that sannyas can bring them. It becomes too difficult for them to make a decision for lifelong sannyas, which is indeed a very hard decision. Besides, we don't have the right to commit ourselves to anything for our whole lives.
In my vision, short-term sannyas is the right way. You can leave it any time you like, because it is you who take it. It is your decision, no one else can decide for you. Sannyas is entirely a personal, individual choice, others don't matter in any way. I am free to take sannyas today and leave it tomorrow, provided I don't expect any reward for it from others in the form of their praise and acclamation.
We have made sannyas a very serious affair, and that is why only serious peoplewho are really sick peopletake to it. It is now necessary to turn sannyas into a non-serious thing, a play. It should be entirely for your joy that you enter sannyas for a while and then leave it or remain in it forever. Others should have no say in the matter. If the vision of short-term sannyas becomes prevalent, if people are allowed to enter sannyas even for a few months from time to time, millions of people can enjoy this blessing. It will really be a great thing
It would be a great experience if someone takes sannyas for a month or two every year and then returns to his householder's world. This experience will enrich his life in a great way; it will go with him for the rest of his life. And if a person, in his sixty or seventy years' life, takes short-term sannyassay twenty timeshe will not need to be a sannyasin again; he will be a sannyasin as he is. Therefore I think that every man and woman should have the opportunity of sannyas in his or her life.
A few things more and then you can put your questions.
Up to now every kind of sannyasin in the world has belonged to some religion, to this or that religion. And this has done immense harm to both sannyas and religion. It is utterly absurd that a sannyasin should belong to some sectarian religion; a sannyasin at least should belong to religion alone, and not to this or that religion. He should not be a Christian, or a Hindu, or a Jaina; he should be a sannyasin of "religion", with no adjective attached to it. He should be the one who, in the words of Krishna, gives up all religions and takes shelter in the only religion there is. Religion, like truth, is one; it cannot be many. And it will be great if we can give birth to a sannyas that belongs to religion and not to religions, not to communal and sectarian religions. The sannyasin of true religion can be a guest everywhere, whether it is in a temple or a church or a mosque, none will be alien to him.
Another thing to bear in mind is the role of the Master, the guru, in sannyas. Up to now sannyas has been tethered to a Master who initiates someone into it. But sannyas is not something which anyone can give you as a gift; it has to be received directly from the divine. Who else but God can initiate you into sannyas? When someone comes and asks me to initiate him into sannyas, I tell him, "How can I initiate you into sannyas? Only God can initiate you. I can only be a witness to your being initiated. Get initiated by the divine, the supreme being, and I will bear witness that I was present when you were initiated into sannyas. My function is confined to being a witness, nothing more." A sannyas tied to the Master is bound to become sectarian. It cannot liberate you; instead it will put you in bondage. Such a sannyas is worthless.
There are going to be three categories of sannyasins. One of them will consist of those who will take short-term sannyas, say tor two or three months. They will meditate and go through some kind of spiritual discipline at some secluded place and then return to their old lives.
The second category will be of those who will take sannyas, but remain wherever they are. They will continue to be in their occupations as before, but they will now be actors and not doers, and they will also be witnesses to life and living.
And the third category will consist of sannyasins who will go deep into the bliss and ecstasy of sannyas that the question of their return to their old world will not arise. They will bear no such responsibilities as will make it necessary for them to be tied to their families; nobody will depend on them and no one will be hurt by their withdrawal from society. The last category of sannyasins will live in meditation and carry the message of meditation to those who are thirsty for it.
It seems to me that never before was the world in such dire need of meditation as it is today. And if we fail to make a large portion of mankind deeply involved in meditation, there is little hope for man's survival on this earth any longer; he will simply disappear from the earth. There is already so much neurosis and insanity in the world, there is so much political madness all around, that the hope for mankind remaining alive grows dimmer and dimmer with the passing of each day. And the sands of time are running out fast. So it is urgent for millions of men and women all over the world to become meditative in the short time that we have; otherwise man, with all his civilization, is going to perish. Even if he survives physically, all that is good and great in him will perish.
Therefore a very large band of young men and young women who have yet no responsibilities on their shoulders is needed. And we will include in this band those old people who have laid down their responsibilities and are free. This band of young and old together will first learn meditation, and then they will carry the torch of meditation to every nook and corner of the earth.
The meditation that I teach is so simple, so scientific, that if a hundred people take to it, seventy of them are going to make it. There is no condition that you are qualified to do it; that you do it is all that is needed. Besides, you are not required to owe allegiance to any religion, any scripture, or to have faith and belief as a pre-condition to meditation. As you are right now, you can join it and do it and go deeply into it. It is such a simple and scientific technique that you are not required to have faith in it. All that is required of you is that you take it as a hypothetical experiment, as you do a scientific experiment, to see how it works. And I assure you it works; you will make it.
I feel that meditation can he spread throughout the world as a chain-reaction. If a person decides to learn meditation himself and then, within a week of his learning it, initiates another person into it, we will cover the whole earth with meditation within ten years. No greater effort is needed. Then all the lofty things of life that man is heir to, but has lost, call be restored to him in ten years. And then there is no reason why Krishna should not play his flute amongst us once again, why Christ should not come again and again, why Buddha should not get enlightened under the bo-tree over and over again. Not that the same old Krishna or Buddha will he born again, but that in us we have the potentialities of that meditation which can flower into a Krishna, a Buddha, a Christ over and over again.
It is for this reason that I have decided to be a witness to your being initiated into sannyas. I will be a witness for friends who are ready to join one of the three categories of sannyasins that I have mentioned. I will not be their Master, but only a witness to their initiation into sannyas. In fact, sannyas will be a matter of a direct relationship between them and God.
There is going to be no ritual for initiation into sannyas, so that one does not have any difficulty in leaving it when he feels like it. And sannyas will not be a serious affair; so you need not be worried on this score. It should be such a simple and natural thing that if, one morning getting out of bed, a person feels like taking sannyas, he should not have to face any difficulty in the matter. There will be no difficulty, because it is not going to be a lifelong commitment. If the following morning he feels like quitting it, he can do so as easily. He is his sole judge and master; others have nothing to do with it.
I have explained to you how I envisage this neo-sannyas. Now you can ask a few questions that arise in your minds. krishn22
You ask: What would be the daily routine, the discipline of your sannyasin?
You ask what the daily routine of my sannyasin would be. It is not a question of my sannyasin. How can anyone be my sannyasin? He or she will be just a sannyasin. And what would be his routine, his schedule of daily life, his discipline?
If we try to impose a fixed daily routine on a sannyasin, it is bound to harm him instead of doing any good. Someone asked a Zen sage, "What is your everyday routine?"
The sage said, "When I am sleepy I sleep, and when I wake up I am awake. When I am hungry I eat and I don't eat when I am not hungry." And the sage is right. A sannyasin is one who does not impose something on himself, who takes life as it is and lives it very naturally, spontaneously, moment to moment.
We are a strange people. When we feel like sleeping we resist it, and when we cannot sleep we chant mantras and try to get to sleep somehow. We eat when we are not hungry, and we don't eat when we are hungry, because we have a fixed schedule of eating according to the clock. That is how we destroy the inner harmony of our body, and that is why we are in a mess.
A sannyasin will live in accord with the wisdom of the body. He will sleep when he feels sleepy, and he will wake up when his sleep is over. He will not wake up in what the Hindus call the brahmamuhurta, the divine hour, the hour before dawn. Whenever he wakes up will be his brahmamuhurta. He will say, "When God brings me out of sleep, I call it my brahmamuhurta." He will live naturally, easily, spontaneously.
That is why I cannot give you a routine, a discipline of living. You will be in trouble, you will suffer if I impose any discipline on you, because I will determine it the way it suits me, and my way of life can never be yours. If I tell you to wake up every morning at three o'clock, maybe waking up at three is blissful for me, but it will ruin your health.
Everybody's physical organism is unique and different, but we are not aware of it
There can be no hard and fast rule for things like this. We cannot have set laws about what to wear, about what to eat and how much to eat, about when to sleep and how long to sleep. We can discuss these things in a general manner, but It would not be proper to set rules about them. Everyone should find his own discipline, his own way of living; it should be entirely an individual decision. And this much freedom you must have, that you decide your own way of living. Others don't do it, but a sannyasin should. He should insist on this freedom to be the way he is, and to live in the way that is joyful and blissful for him. In this respect he has also to bear in mind that he does not live in a way that impinges on the freedom and happiness of others. And this is enough.
I repeat that we can broadly discuss the question of a daily routine and a discipline for a sannyasin, but we cannot lay down strict rules about them.
There is a person who is addicted to smoking. The whole world is against him, and yet he goes on smoking. Physicians tell him that smoking will ruin his health, and he says he knows it, yet he cannot quit. What is the matter with this person? Is it that he lacks something necessary for him and smoking provides it? An investigation on smoking done recently in Mexico came to a very strange finding. It says that people who are mad about smoking are those whose bodies lack nicotine. These people are seeking nicotine through tobacco, tea and coffee. But smoking is being condemned as something immoral. But what is immoral in taking some smoke in and out? It is of course senseless, but it is never immoral. He is not harming anyone except himself. It is an innocent stupidity and nothing more. Maybe it is his need; maybe he lacks something which he is fulfilling through smoking. He would be better to discover and know his problem.
Our knowledge of the human body is very poor. It is poor in spite of so much development in medical science. We have yet to understand the body fully, its needs. its problems. And because of this the body has to tackle its problems on its own. If it lacks nicotine it makes you smoke. And once you take to smoking you are in the clutches of habit and you become helpless. It is not that everyone smokes for lack of nicotine, nine out of ten smokers simply take to smoking out of imitation, And then it becomes a mechanical habit, they become prisoners of a habit.
However, no routine, no discipline can be imposed from the outside. It is not possible, nor is it desirable to prescribe a general code for the daily life of sannyasins, as to when they should leave their beds and what they should eat. Of course, some broad guidelines can be given. What is essential is that whatever a sannyasin does, he does it with awareness; whatever he does, he does it keeping his own good and the good of others in view. And whatever he does is right if it promotes his health, his peace and his happiness. And if, on the other hand, it harms his health and happiness, he should shun it.
In the matter of food, he should take care that his food is fresh, light and health giving. He should avoid unnecessary violence in eating; he should not eat anything that is obtained by killing and maiming living beings. In brief, health should be your prime consideration in the selection of food.
Another important thing in respect to food is to learn and develop a sense of taste in eating. And it depends more on the art of eating than on the food itself. On the basis of such broad hints about food one should draw up his menu in accord with his own individuality.
Others can't give you a discipline; it is just absurd. In fact, everybody is the architect of his own destiny. Being initiated into sannyas means that a man chooses to be his own master, that he will make his own decisions, that it is his right to conduct himself in his own way. You can say that a sannyasin is liable to err if he makes his own decisions. Let him err; he will suffer for his mistakes. Why should you worry about it? If he does things rightly he will be happy, and if he does them wrongly he will suffer. It is wrong to take undue interest in what others do and how they do it. It is really immoral to interfere in another's life. Who are you to come in his way? One should come in another's way only if his mistakes begin to harm others; otherwise, he should not be interfered with. He can make mistakes and learn from his mistakes.
A sannyasin is one who lives with discrimination, with wisdom, who is always investigating what it is that brings happiness and what it is that causes pain, and who, through his own experiences, learns what is good for him. He is on a journey to his bliss; you need not worry about him.
Sometimes I am amazed to see that others become more worried than a sannyasin himself that he does not err. It is just silly. These self-appointed judges are always prying into the lives of sannyasinswhether they wake up in brahmamuhurta or not, whether they sleep in the daytime or not. But who are they? Why should they be after others?
But it is not without reason they do so. These are the ways to persecute and torture others; it is so pleasurable to them. They often say that they respect the unerring sannyasin, which is another way of dominating him. If the sannyasin wants to have their respect, he will have to obey their rules and live in the way they would like him to live. There is yet another danger to the sannyasin from these self appointed judges. To earn their respect he will turn into a hypocrite; he will publicly show that he follows their rules of conduct while privately he will go on living outside those rules.
I am not going to allow a sannyasin to be a hypocrite. I hold hypocrisy as the worst sin ever. And the only way to save him from turning into a hypocrite is to abstain from imposing any discipline on him and to leave him free to live in the way that comes naturally to him; otherwise he is bound to be a hypocrite. This is how we have made hypocrites of all the old sannyasins the world over. And so they are in a mess. There is a class of monks in India who cannot take a bath, because people around them are always watching to see if they bathe themselves. They have thus forced them to remain covered with dirt and filth. In return they give them respect. So these monks have sacrificed cleanliness for the sake of respectability. But whenever they find an opportunity, whenever they are away from the watchful eyes of their followers, they hurriedly dip their towels in water and sponge their bodies. And then they suffer guilt and self-condemnation.
Recently a gentleman came to me and said, "I have heard that a certain Jaina nun, who often visits you, uses toothpaste. Is it not deplorable?"
I told him, "Have you gone mad? Whether a nun uses toothpaste or not is none of your concern. Do you sell toothpaste? What have you to do with it?"
In reply he said, "The use of the toothbrush is prohibited in our community."
"Then don't use it if your community does not permit it," I told him. This gentleman himself uses a toothbrush and toothpaste with impunity, but a nun of his community cannot. This is the price she has to pay for the respect she receives from the community.
I will ask my sannyasin, who I think is a true sannyasin, not to expect respectability from the society, because this expectation will create bondage for him. There are dishonest people all around and they will immediately entrap you and make you their prisoner. They will say, "Since we respect you, since we touch your feet, you will have to fulfill certain conditions of ours, you will have to obey our laws."
In fact, a sannyasin is one who says, "I don't care for your society, for your laws, for your conditions. Now I have started caring for myself, so you need not be concerned about me."
A sannyasin's own wisdom sheds light on his path. krishn22
You ask: Don't you think that initiation into sannyas will lead to the formation of a sect around you?
You think it will lead to the formation of a sect. No, it will not. To form a sect certain things are essential. To form a sect one needs a Master, a scripture, a doctrine and an adjective for the sect. Besides these, one also needs a blind, dogmatic belief that one's doctrine alone is right and everything else is utterly wrong. None of these things are here.
The sannyasin of my vision is not going to have any adjective like the rest of the sannyasins, who are either Hindus, Christians or Buddhists. And a sect cannot be formed without such an adjective; it is extremely difficult. I call a man a sannyasin who does not have a religion, who does not belong to any religion. And you cannot organize a sect without a religion. I call a man a sannyasin who has no scripture like the Geeta or the Bible, and who does not belong to a temple, church or gurudwara. And without them a sect becomes impossible,
It should be our great endeavor to see that no sect is born, because nothing has harmed religion as much as these sects have. Sects have done more harm to religion than irreligion itself. In fact, a genuine coin is always harmed by its counterfeits; nothing else can harm it so much. Similarly, if ever true religion is harmed, it is harmed only by pseudo religions. And a tremendous awareness is needed to avoid this danger.
A sect is not going to emerge in the wake of our efforts, because no one is my disciple and I am no one's guru or Master. And if I am offering to be a witness to some people taking sannyas, it is because, right now, they cannot connect with God directly. And I ask them to be on their own and not to disturb me any longer when they become directly connected with the supreme. I don't want unnecessary troubles, I have no axe to grind. It is great if you can relate with existence on your own; nothing is greater than this. Then the question of someone being a witness does not arise. And it is of the highest. krishn22
You ask: What is the meaning of wearing orange clothes as a sannyasin?
It is true that wearing a particular kind of clothes does not make one a sannyasin, but it is also true that sannyasins do wear some particular kind of clothes. Clothes don't make for sannyas, but that does not mean that a sannyasin cannot have his own clothes. He can. Clothes are not that important, but they are not that unimportant either.
What clothes you wear has meaning. And why you wear clothes has meaning too. Someone wears loose clothes and someone else prefers tight ones. There is not much of a difference between loose and tight clothes, but it does say something about the mental makeup of the people who wear them. Why does someone choose loose garments for himself while another chooses tight ones? If a person is quiet and peaceful he will go in for loose clothing, he won't like tight ones. On the other hand, tight clothing is preferred by one who is disturbed, hot-tempered and sexual. Loose clothes are not good for fighting. That is why soldiers all over the world have tight-fitting outfits; they cannot be given loose uniforms. The job of a soldier is such that he needs to be tight and smart. His clothes really should be so tight that he is always ready for action, that he feels he can jump out of his body whenever he is required to do so. But a monk, a meditator, a sannyasin, needs loose and light clothes.
Orange clothes have their own utility. Not that one cannot be a sannyasin without being in an ochre robe, but the ochre robe does have its due place in sannyas.
And those who discovered it, after long search and experiment, had a good many reasons to commend the ochre color for sannyas.
We will come to know the significance of different colors if we make some small experiments with them. Our difficulty is that we never make such experiments. Take seven glass bottles of different colorsthere are seven colors in alland fill them with water from the same river and leave them for a while under the sun. You will be amazed to find that the colors of the glass have affected the quality of the water, each in its own way. There are now seven kinds of water in those bottles. The water in the yellow bottle will deteriorate in no time, while the water in the red bottle will remain pure for a long time.
You can ask, "What does the color of a bottle do?" The color of the glass affects the rays of the sun in its own particular manner when they pass through it. While the yellow color accepts a particular kind of ray, the red one accepts another kind, and the water inside the bottles is affected by those rays in a big way. The rays of the sun serve as food and nourishment for the water
Ochre is the color of the sunrise. When the sun is just emerging on the eastern horizon, when the first light of dawn begins to show itself, its color is exactly ochre. When you enter meditation, the first light that you see is ochre, and the ultimate light of meditation is blue. Meditation begins with ochre and ends with blue; it reaches its peak with blue. Ochre is the index of the beginning of meditation; a sannyasin encounters this color on entering meditation. So in the course of the whole day the color of his own clothes reminds him of meditation again and again. An association is established between the two, clothes and meditation. Ochre helps him in going into meditation, which is an integral part of the life of a sannyasin
If, while he is walking, eating or taking a bath, his clothes repeatedly remind a sannyasin of the first color of the meditative experience, then the ochre color has served a great purpose. It is a kind of conditioning, a knot to remind him over and over again that meditation is his way. But this does not mean that one cannot be a sannyasin without the ochre robe. Sannyas is such a lofty thing that it cannot be confined to garments. But garments are not altogether useless; they are very meaningful.
I would like millions of people to be seen in ochre all over the world. krishn22
You ask: Is there a special significance in wearing a mala given by you?
You want to know about the mala and its meaning. Nothing in this universe is meaningless. It is different if something loses its meaning through long usage. Everything wears out and becomes dirty after being in currency for a long time. The same has happened with the mala. But it is meaningful.
There are one hundred and eight beads in a mala. Do you know what this number stands for? There are one hundred and eight techniques of meditation, ways of meditation, and this mala will be with you to remind you of the hundred and eight possible paths to meditation. And if you and I continue to be related I am going to acquaint you with all the different techniques of meditation. The hundred and eight beads of the mala represent all the techniques of meditation there are.
And when a witness like me gives this mala to an initiate into sannyas, he only tells him through this symbol that while he has explained only one path to the unknown to him, there are really many others, as many as one hundred and seven. So don't be in a hurry to say that people who are on paths other than yours are wrong. And always remember that there are countless paths, all of which lead to the divine.
At the bottom of the mala hangs a large bead* which says that whatever path you follow you will reach, because all paths lead to the one, to the ultimate one. So all the beads, including the large one, are symbolic and meaningful
Whether it is a mala or a new namethere are many such thingsthey are very meaningful for the journey of sannyas. krishn22
*Note: The following year this large bead is replaced by a locket with Osho's photo.
You ask: Does the mala have healing powers?
No. For the sannyasins it can have thousands of meanings. For a non-sannyasin, no meaning, because it is a question of your love, your trust. Then anything can have healing power. If you trust me, then just a glass of water from my hand will have the healing power. It is not in the water, it is not in my hand. It is in your trust.
So to a sannyasin the mala is certainly of many meanings. In sickness he can have healing through it, just holding it. In fear, just holding it and he will feel courage. In a moment of loneliness, just holding it and he will not feel lonely, he will feel he is with me. But it all depends on his trust, it has nothing to do with the mala itself. The mala is only an excuse. last224
You ask: Is there a special significance in changing one's name?
Yes, it has significance, great significance. The change of name has great significance for a sannyasin. It is an index, a symbol. Everything in our life is symbolic. You have a name; you are identified with this name. This name has become your symbol; it is identified with your individuality. Your name has an association with everything that you have been before yesterday. Changing the name of a sannyasin means we disconnect him from his old identity, from his old associations. We say to him, now you are not the same as you were before yesterday. Now you are starting on a new journey with a new name, a new identity
The change of name is helpful in breaking your old identity. With the changed name you suddenly come to know that you are not the same person now. Every time, while you are on the road, somebody calls you by your new name, not by the old one, you will be startled to learn that vou have ceased to have your old identity. Every day your identification with your old life will wither; every day a new man will come into being in his place. You will be reminded again and again that you are now on a new journey. The change of name is useful for this purpose. krishn22
You ask: Why do you call your male sannyasins 'Swami', and the women sannyasins 'Ma'?
The path of the masculine is that of awareness, and awareness brings you to a point where you become master of your own being. That is the meaning of swami. The feminine path is that of love, and love brings you to an ultimate point where you can mother the whole existence. And that is the meaning of ma.
A woman in her ultimate flowering becomes a mothering energy
she can mother the whole existence. She feels blessed, and she can bless the whole existence. When a man arrives at the ultimate point he does not become a father, he does not become a mother, he simply becomes a master: master of his own being.
Love and awarenessthese are two paths. And when I say masculine I don't mean that all males are masculine, and when I say feminine I don't mean that all females are feminine. There are women who will have to pass through the path of awarenessI would like to call them swamis too, but that would be a little more confusing. As it is, it is already too crazy
so I resist that temptation. But sometimes it comes to me that I see a woman taking sannyas and I feel like calling her swami not ma. And then sometimes a man comes, very effeminate, and looks more feminine than any woman. melo06
Later in 1985 Osho commented:
Slowly slowly I started sorting out my people, and just to sort them out I started initiating them into sannyas so that I could recognize them and know who my people are. I started giving them names so I could remember, because it is difficult for me to remember all kinds of strange names from around the world. The real reason was simply to have names that I could remember; otherwise it would be impossible for me. Now, there are people from almost all the countries, of all languages: it is impossible to remember their names.
But when I give you a name it is a totally different matter. When I give you a name, I give you a name for certain reasons, for certain qualities that I see in you, for certain possibilities that I see in you, for certain characteristics that are already thereand all these become associated.
The name that I give is known to me, its meaning is known to me. Its meaning and your lifestyle, pattern, potentiality, all become associated. It becomes easier for me to remember you; otherwise it is very difficult, almost impossible.
I have given you the red clothes for the simple reason so that I can recognize you; all other excuses are just hogwash. Just to give you good reasonsbecause people will be asking you and you will have to give good reasons to themI have been trying to make a philosophy out of nothing. But the truth is simply this, nothing more than this. misery21
The day I started initiating, my only fear was, "Will I be able to someday change my followers into my friends?" The night before, I could not sleep. Again and again I thought, "How am I going to manage it? A follower is not supposed to be a friend." I said to myself that night in Kulu Manali in the Himalayas, "Don't be serious. You can manage anything, although you don't know the abc of managerial science."
I recall a book by Bern, The Managerial Revolution. I read it, not because the title contained the word 'revolution', but because the title contained the word 'managerial'. Although I loved the book, naturally I was disappointed because it was not what I was looking for. I was never able to manage anything. So that night in Kulu Manali I laughed. glimps23
My effort here is not to create disciplesthat is just the prefacebut to create masters, as many masters as possible. The world needs immensely, urgently, many people of awareness, of love, of freedom, of sincerity. Only these people can create a certain spiritual atmosphere that can prevent this world from being destroyed by the suicidal forceswhich are very powerful, but not more powerful than love. books07
If you have a Master things are simple. He can hold your hand when you are losing all track of your being. He can become your support. If you love your Master that love will be the last link. Every link disappears but that link remains. It disappears only when you have attained your own perspective, your own clarity. It is just like an umbilical cord. The child lives through the mother in the womb for nine months and if you cut the umbilical cord he will die He lives through it. That is the only link.
In exactly the same way, if you love the Master, a subtle silver cord arises between you and the Mastera very invisible phenomenon to others but very visible to the disciple. He can almost touch it. You become joined together with your Master from your navel. The Master is your mother, the Master is your womb. And this umbilical cord, this invisible silver cord, remains nursing you until you are ready and the pregnancy is ripe, until you are ready to be reborn and you can breathe on your own.
The Master is a must. If you can find one you are fortunate. Then he will interpret to you and the darkness will look like light, the illness will look like a new well-being; the curse he will transform into a blessing. In fact, it is a blessing but you interpret it as a curse. He is not doing anything, he is simply showing you what the case is. tao209
Old scriptures say that the master or the guruthe outer gurucan be helpful only in finding the inner guru. That is all. Once the outer guru has helped you to find the inner guru, the function of the outer guru is no more.
You cannot reach to the truth through a master; you can reach only to the inner master through a masterand then this inner master will lead you to the truth. The outer master is just a representative, a substitute. He has his inner guide and he can feel your inner guide also, because they both exist on the same wavelengththey both exist in the same tuning and the same dimension. If I have found my inner guide, I can look into you and feel your inner guide. And if I am really a guide to you, all my guidance will be to lead you to your inner guide.
Once you are in contact with the inner guide, I am no longer needed. Now you can move alone. So all that a guru can do is to push you down from your head to your navel, from your reasoning to your intuitive force, from your argumentative mind to your trusting guide. And it is not like this only with human beings, it is so with animals, with birds, with trees, with everything. The inner guide exists, and many new phenomena have been discovered which are mysteries. vbt77
A great deal of research has been conducted in the fields of telepathy and clairvoyance, and they have yielded good results. Without the help of any technical aids, I can communicate with a person who is thousands of miles away from here, which means that astral communication, communication without the help of any physical instruments is possible. krishn15
The name of my first sannyasin is Ma Anand Madhua woman of course, because that's what I wanted. Nobody has initiated women into sannyas like me. Not only that, I wanted to initiate a woman as my first sannyasin, just to put things in balance and in order.
Buddha hesitated before giving sannyas to women
even Buddha! Only that thing in his life hurts me like a thorn, and nothing else. Buddha hesitating
why? He was afraid that women sannyasins would distract his followers. What nonsense! A buddha and afraid of business! Let those fools be distracted if they want to be!
Mahavira said that nobody in a woman's body could attain to nirvana, the ultimate liberation. I have to repent for all these men. Mohammed never allowed any woman into the mosque. Even now women are not allowed into the mosque; even in the synagogue women sit in the gallery, not with the men
I have to apologize for Mohammed, for Moses, for Mahavira, for Buddha, and for Jesus too, because he didn't choose a single woman as one of his twelve apostles. Yet when he died on the cross the twelve fools were not there at all. Only three women stayedMagdalena, Mary and Magdalena's sister. But even these three women had not been chosen by Jesus; they were not among the chosen few. The chosen few had escaped. Great! They were trying to save their own lives. In the hour when there was danger, only women came.
I have to apologize to the future for all these people; and my first apology was to give sannyas to a woman. You will be amused to know the full story
The husband of Anand Madhu, of course, wanted to be initiated first. It happened in the Himalayas; I was having a camp in Manali. I refused the husband saying, "You can only be second, not the first." He was so angry that he left the camp at that very moment. Not only that, he became my enemy and joined Morarji Desai.
Later on, when Morarji Desai was prime minister, this man tried in every way to persuade him to imprison me. Of course Morarji Desai does not have that kind of courage; one can't have if one drinks one's own urine. He is an utter idiot!
Anand Madhu is still a sannyasin. She lives in the Himalayas, silently, without speaking. Since then my effort has always been to bring women to the front as much as possible. Sometimes I may even look unfair to men. I'm not, I am just putting things in order. After centuries of man's exploitation of women, it is not an easy task. glimps03
When my mother came to be initiated by me, I touched her feet because she proved to be a rare mother. To bow down to your own son is really arduous and hard. It is almost impossible to touch the feet of your own sonit needs great courage. It needs great risk to drop all your ego. I touched her feet not because she is my mother, I touched her feet because she dared! I touched her feet for the reason
I was immensely happy. It is rare, happens only once in a while. And I touched her feet also for another thing: because after that she would not be my mother and I would not be her son. The account has to be closed as beautifully as possible.
It was a drastic step. She had always thought about me as her son. Now, no more. Now she would be my disciple and I would be her Master. Up to then she had been giving advice to me, she had been directing me"Do this and don't do that." Now all that is not possible. Now I will be directing her, I will be giving advice to her, I will be ordering her to do this or that. The whole situation is going to be radically changed.
I respected her courage, I respected her egolessness. And the account has to be closed beautifully: this was the last time I would be a son to her; it will remain in her consciousness forever. Since that moment all the ties have been broken. It was the beginning of a new relationship. I touched her feet not only because she is my mother. I touched her feet because she dared, she dared a lot. She dropped her ego. sands08
To be a mother is nothing special. Every woman is doing it and all the animals are doing it. But to be a mother and yet to have courage enough to listen to one's own son is something special and rare and in that way my family is rare. My father was a disciple, my mother, my all brothers, my unclesmy whole family.
It needs guts. They have taken a great step. last502
But as I left the university and I initiated the movement of sannyas, a tremendous change happened. My initiation of the movement of sannyas created trouble. None of my colleaguesteachers who had been with me for yearswould even come to see me. Some were Hindus, some were Mohammedans, some were Jainasand I was a rebellious spirit. I belonged to nobody.
And the people who used to come to meI was still teaching the same meditationstarted spreading opposition to me, because now it was a question of their religion, their tradition, their church. They did not even come to understand that I am doing the same thing. Just because my people have started wearing red clothes does not mean that my teaching has changed. I just wanted to give an identity to my people so that they could be known all over the world and they could be recognized everywhere.
But they stopped comingnot only teachers but even students who had loved me. And then I saw that all our love and all our respect, all our friendship is so shallow that if our tradition, our convention, our old, ancient beliefs are in some way attacked, all our love, all our friendship disappears.
You will be surprised: even the friend who had given me his bungalow and had the marble temple made especially for me sent a messagehe could not face me himselfhe sent a message from his manager that because I did not belong to any ancient path, I should not use his place for my meditation school
as if anything old is bound to be gold. Most probably the older it is, the more rotten it is.
I sent him a message, "I will leave your house and the temple, and you can do whatsoever you want with it. But I am with the sunrise; I am not with the sunset. And I want the whole world to be with the new and not with the old."
Truth always moves with the fresh and the young and the innocent. It dies with the knowledgeable, the scholarly, the clever, the so-called wisewho are really otherwise. transm07
Sannyas is a decision, a resolution which brings results. It is beneficial. People ask me what is going to happen by switching to orange clothes. I say, "If you think nothing is going to happen, then wear them for three months."
They say, "People will laugh at us."
I say, "Certainly that will happen. And if you can tolerate their laughter for three months with a cool mind, much will happen to you. Don't bother about the laughing of others
and it triggers the beginning of many things."
People ask me, "What is going to happen by these external changes? Please show us how inner transformation can happen."
I tell them, "You do not have the courage for even transformation of the outer, and you dare to talk about inner transformation? You begin to die, as it were, when only your clothes have to be changed; it will be very difficult if I begin to change your skin. And you talk of the inner?" But we are clever at deceiving ourselves. And one who is deceiving himself can never become religious.
Remember, a person who deceives others may become religious, but one who deceives himself can never become religious because then there remains no way for transformation. finger15
Now in India particularly, where other religions have their sannyasins in the same color, in the same robe, they are finding it difficult. My sannyasins are moving hand in hand with their girlfriends, and Indians are shocked. Sannyasins?
One of my sannyasins who lives near Bombay and commutes every day to Bombay and back, took sannyas. After the second day or third day he came and told me, "You will have to give sannyas to my wife too."
I said, "Why?"
He said, "Why? People will kill me! Yesterday they caught hold of me on the railway station and a crowd gathered. And they said, `Whose wife is this? This sannyasin seems to be escaping with somebody else's wife'because sannyasins are not supposed to have wives. I tried hard to explain to them that this is not the old sannyas. They said, `There is only one sannyas, there are not many sannyases. Don't try to deceive us. You have to come with us to the police station.'"
He said, "I had to go to the police station. Fortunately the inspector knew me, and he said, `She is his wife, and this sannyas is absolutely non-serious. Don't be bothered about it.'"
So he said, "It would be good if you give her sannyas also so no problem arises, because anywhere we can be caught. It was good that I was caught at the station where I live, so the inspector knew me."
I gave sannyas to his wife. Two, three days afterwards, he was again there with his wife. He said, "Now give sannyas to my son, because yesterday in the train it became a trouble."
It is a well-known fact in India, and a certainty, that many people go on stealing children from other people. Then they cripple them, blind them, and make them beggars, and whatsoever they earn comes to the man who is doing this business. Beggary in India is now a very strange phenomenon. The blind man to whom you are giving money will not get ithe will get only food enough to live. All the money will go to the boss who is running the whole factory where he creates crippled people.
"So the crowd," he said, "caught us both and they said, `They are stealing somebody's child!' We tried hard to convince them that it is our own child.
"They said, `Your child? Sannyasins have to be celibate. We cannot believe it. In the first place, this is wrong, that you are moving with a woman sannyasin. Woman sannyasins have to move separately from man sannyasins. And not only are you moving with a woman, you are moving with a child. This child is not yours.'"
He said, "It was so difficult. Just because the child was not too small he said, `They are my father and mother and they are not stealing anybody!' Because he spoke we were saved. But please, give sannyas to him also, so there will be no problem left."
I wanted the old idea of seriousness, which has dominated sannyas for thousands of years, to be completely eradicated. And the meaning that has been given to sannyas has to be completely changedfrom renouncing, it has to become rejoicing. dless25
A professor used to come to mehe was a professor in the same university as I was, and he said, "I would like to be a sannyasin"he was immensely impressed"but the only fear is that after becoming a sannyasin I cannot go to the pub, and you know that I am addicted to alcohol. Wearing the robe of the sannyasin it will look very weird and other drunks will start laughing."
I said, "There is no harm. Drink anyway. Become a sannyasin and give it a try."
He became a sannyasin and the second day he came"You have put me in trouble. I was thinking there is only one trouble, the pub; there are many. My wife now touches my feet! She says, `You are so spiritual!' Now I cannot relate with her in any other way, except by giving her a blessing."
He was very angry, he said, "You! You must have known and still you did it to meand I have been your friend for so long. Last night in the dark I sneaked towards the pub, hoping that everybody must have left by this time, but the bartender was there. He immediately fell on the ground, touched my feet and he said, `What a great transformation!' Now I feel like killing you!"
I said, "It is strange
You asked for sannyas. It certainly brings troubles, but if you can be a little patient it will also bring blessings, ecstasies, which are far more important than the wife or the pub or your friends."
He said, "I have to be patient because I cannot go backward; that would be very humiliating." livzen10
It happened once that a great political leader came to attend one of my camps in Mahabaleshwar. He was known in India as the father of the Indian parliament because he remained an MP for fifty years. The first day he watched. By the evening he came to me and he said "Everything is okay, but a few things offend meI have seen four of your sannyasins playing cards. How can a sannyasin play cards? What kind of sannyas is this?"
He was really offended, and I can understand his discomfort, his uneasiness. Sannyasins are not expected to be playful; they have to be serious, they have to be long-faces. They are not expected to laugh, they are certainly not expected to play cards. And when I said, "But what is wrong in it? If they are enjoying playing cards, it is perfectly right, it is meditative", he immediately left the camp. He became so angry; he could not conceive of card-playing as meditation. And all meditation is nothing but card-playing. Meditation means playfulness, meditation is not a serious phenomenon. But he had come seriouslyhe was getting very old, he was seventy-five and death was coming near, and he wanted to have some security beyond death. He had lived a very very successful life here, now he wanted to succeed in the other life; he could not afford to be playful. Time is short, and time is money; time is fleeting fast. He had come there to learn some way how to have a successful life in the other world. He could not understand that the other world is not a separate world; the other world is intrinsic in this world. It becomes available to non-serious minds. sunris07
With me Krishnamurti is really cross, particularly because of my sannyasins. Wherever he goes, anywhere in the world, they are sitting in the front row. And the moment he sees their red clothes and the mala, he freaks out. Then he forgets on what subject he was going to speak. Then he starts speaking against me, against sannyas, against the rosary, against disciplehood and against Masters.
In Bombay I have many sannyasins and they used to ask me what to do. I said, "Just go and sit in front. There is nothing you have to do, just smile and enjoy it." And the more they enjoyed it, the more he would beat his head; he would just go out of his senses. He would forget all awareness. He would act just like a bull does when you wave a red handkerchief or a red umbrella or a red flag: the bull becomes mad. I think Krishnamurti must have been a bull in his last life. ignor27