Born in 1943 in Berlin, Germany. Navanit took sannyas in 1976 and presently lives in Witzenhausen, Germany.

41 Swami Deva Navanit

In 1973, I lived in a Berlin commune together with five men. Having put our wild political phase as students behind us, we were totally frustrated with the self-mutilation of the ever-fighting leftists. So we again started thinking about the movement that had begun with Wilhelm Reich, who had demanded that man should first realize his own habits and behaviour patterns and work on them before he would be able to act politically mature.

The next step, therefore, was self-experience. The leader in this was Robert (later Prem Prasad), who had booked a one-week psychotherapy group in Holland together with Rudi (later Purohit). During that time, my girlfriend Birgit and I were going to have a holiday on the Dutch coast. On the way to our holiday place, we visited our friends at the seminar centre in a small Dutch village, where we spent the night in a large room with bunk beds. I was rudely awakened quite early in the morning by people stomping through the bedroom, followed shortly afterwards by a tremendous noise, which I thought was the water pump. But then I heard wild screaming and shouting, which sounded more human, followed by strange ‘HU’ sounds. Sleep was no longer an option.

Over breakfast, Rudi explained to me that this had been a meditation invented by a guru called Backwahn or similar. He was very enthusiastic about this method and suggested I should try it out. Later, we drove on to the seaside, and I forgot all about it.

But back in Berlin, I decided to find out more about this Dutch centre and a few months later I participated in a group they offered called ‘Encounter’. The leader of this group was Poonam, who often spoke about her Master, Bhagwan, and made us participate in Dynamic Meditation. At that time, I remembered the sounds I had initially heard on our stopover in Holland months ago.

I got turned on to the Encounter group method and wanted more. The ultimate peak of the process was called Marathon Encounter, a 48-hour non-stop group event offered by Denny Yuson in ZIST, a therapy centre in the south of Germany. I signed up, and when I arrived at ZIST shortly afterwards, I met a small, dark-skinned American dressed in a red robe, grinning widely and saying he had just arrived from India, where he had been with his Master Bhagwan, and his name was now Veeresh.

The Encounter Marathon turned me inside out, and to me, it seemed clear this was where I was going, in particular as working as a medical doctor in the ER at the hospital had worn me out completely. I still felt suspicious about Indian gurus, however. I gave notice at the hospital, and six weeks later I was in London, where Veeresh was starting an Encounter training group. Every weekend was a Marathon, and during the week groups were held during the day or in the evenings, with much Dynamic Meditation and a myriad of other dynamic processes, in addition to bio-energetics, psycho-drama, and all else that was en vogue in the scene at the time. Bhagwan was hanging over everything as a large photograph, but I didn’t want to have anything to do with that.

As the peak of the training, Veeresh conducted a ‘total isolation’ event in the South of England. For four days, I sat alone in a room with eyes closed and ears blocked. Three times a day, a piece of fruit was handed to me. The days became extremely intense; with every thought, pictures appeared inside of me that were like answers from another dimension. With the word ‘Bhagwan’, the earth opened to reveal a golden, shining lake, from which slowly a beautiful flower arose. At that moment, I knew that I had to meet this man.

When I returned to Berlin and spoke to Birgit about Bhagwan, she became angry, as if I wanted to hurt her personally. So I stopped talking about this subject. But I often visited the Anandlok centre there, did Dynamic Meditation and stayed in touch with the scene.

In the spring of 1975, we both moved to Bremen because Birgit, who was also a medical doctor, got a place in paediatric training. I found a job at a hospital, and besides that work, I organized bio-energetic groups and used my contacts with England to invite therapists from there, who of course were sannyasins such as Veet Asmi, who was linked to Quaesitor, the main therapist centre in London at the time. I began to read more and more books by Bhagwan and was fascinated by his clarity and directness. I wanted to go and meet him. During that time, Birgit read Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha, which resulted in creating a longing in her to also go to India. But Poona was only to be a stopover on this journey, at best at the end of the trip.

In the summer of 1976, we flew to Bombay to embark on a grand India tour. Although I felt an urgency to go directly to Poona, Birgit was not at all in a rush. One of our first stops after Bombay was at the monasteries at Ajanta and Ellora, and we were very impressed by the grandness of the temples hewn out of rock. Shortly after that, we both came down with diarrhoea and couldn’t leave the hotel for days. Feeling very weak, Birgit surprised me by agreeing to my suggestion to go straightaway to Poona.

Barely arrived, we met Robert from the commune in Berlin, who, now with the name Prasad, had already made a career as a therapist. He organised for us to get a darshan with Bhagwan within three days. To me, this felt a bit too fast, and I was hesitating for two days about the decision to take sannyas. But the daily discourses Bhagwan gave in Lao Tzu House made me more and more certain. This man fascinated me completely. Birgit didn’t want to know about it and kept insisting that she only wanted to meet the Buddha, like Hesse’s Siddhartha, and then continue on her own path. I was deeply impressed by this man, who combined calmness with total presence. Especially his answers to personal questions showed me that he looked behind the question and could see the whole person in it.

The darshan night came. I was one of the first ones to be called up because I wanted to take sannyas. He gave me the name Navanit and spoke about the milk, which becomes more and more purified when it is processed into ghee, which then becomes the pure essence of milk. And to remember: out of ghee, you can never again make milk. That was that, then. During the entire time he spoke to me, I felt totally recognised; I felt that I was unable to hide myself in front of this man.

Then Birgit was called up, pretty much towards the end. She sat down in front of him and said that she had only come to see him and that now she felt afraid. She started to cry and collapsed in front of him. He laughed, put his foot on her shoulder, and spoke to her for a long time. He more or less told her that if you are afraid, it shows that you are ready. In the end, he asked, “Are you ready now?” When she nodded, he placed a mala around her neck and gave her the name Ma Prem Kadambari, which means Wine of Love.

When we left this darshan I felt something very deep had happened to me, something which would change my entire life.

“Deva means divine and Navanit means essence, essential. Divinity is our essence. We may have forgotten it, but we cannot lose it. We may have become completely oblivious of it, but there is no way to get away from it. It is not accidental, it is essential. Anything accidental can be taken away from you. You may have it, you may not have it – it depends. But the essential is that which cannot be taken away from you. You have to have it. At the most you can become forgetful about it, or you can remember it. And that is the only difference between an enlightened person and an unenlightened person.

The difference is not in their nature. The difference is in their remembrance. One remembers, recognises oneself and who one is – and the other is in a stupor. Of course he is also that because there is no other way to be. God is the common most thing, the universal essence of everybody and everything. Not only persons but things are also divine. That is the meaning of Deva Navanit. Navanit has another meaning also.

It means as out of milk you can create curd, out of curd you can create butter, and out of butter, in India we create ghee, but out of ghee you cannot create anything – that is the last flowering – so Navanit means also ghee, the last flowering of being. There is no beyond to it. It is the beyond. And there is nowhere to fall back. Out of milk, you can create curd, but out of curd, you cannot create milk. Out of curd, you can create butter, but out of butter, you cannot create curd. There is no way to fall back. You are always going ahead. Whatsoever is learned, is learned.

There is no way to unlearn it. And whatsoever you have become, you have become.

Only evolution exists. There is nothing like devolution. That too is also the meaning, and both the meanings are beautiful.

[Navanit says he is a doctor but training for group-leading bio-energetics.]

Bio-energetics? Very good. That’s a good combination. You can bring all your understanding about the human body and physiology into your bio-energetic training, and it will be a beautiful combination. It is always good to bring two branches of knowledge together; then something new happens. It is like cross-breeding. Original insights come only when two branches of knowledge come together. For example, if a poet becomes a mathematician, something new is going to happen. Or if a mathematician becomes a physicist, then something new is going to happen. If a chemist becomes a poet, it is bound to impress his poetry, and there will be something new which no other poet can do. If you know two branches of knowledge, then deep in your heart, a synthesis arises. There is no need to work it out. It happens on its own.

In the beginning sometimes it may look like chaos, because when you are moving in two directions, they have very different gestalts. Their working patterns are different, their structure is different, their worldviews are different. So sometimes, it is very chaotic – that’s why people don’t want to jump from one line to another. They stick to one line – that is convenient. But if you can take the chaos with ease, something new will be born in you.

All new insights have happened down the ages only because a few people moved into different branches for which they were not really trained. All pioneers are amateurs. They were trained for something else; they were meant to be something else. Then they entered into something for which they had no training, so their old training and their new direction combined together makes something beautiful flower. So, very good.

But I would suggest that you don’t stop practicing medicine. Continue. Practice medicine also by the side, otherwise you will lose contact. Medical science is such a growing science that if you lose contact, you lose contact. It is not something very static, very stable. Each six months things are going so fast. Keep in contact and go on learning bio-energetics, and something beautiful will come out of it.

And I’m going to be there also, inside you. You have invited danger from now on!”

Osho, The Passion for the Impossible, Ch 7

From the book, Past the Point of No Return by Ma Anand Bhagawati

Book Cover Past the Point

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