Mahaparinirvana: A Conscious Surrender
A born rebel or a freedom fighter or a highly educated person or a top corporate executive or a sannyasin? Is it possible to find such a versatile being? YES! Everything is possible with the blessings of Osho for the authentic seekers who came to Him and remained at His feet, before taking the highest flight and dissolving into the Ultimate. Swami Om Prakash Saraswati is one such blessed being who scaled the peaks of worldly success and then surrendered unconditionally at the feet of the Master, dissolving himself completely. Lovingly known as “Swamiji”, he is the epitome of absolute surrender by a disciple to his Guru.
Born on December 31, 1918, in Faridnagar near Meerut in UP, India; Swamiji was a born rebel, questioning everything – any injustice or violence. As a resolute & earnest youth, Swamiji joined government service and was soon married. The absence of meritocracy and abundance of inefficiencies plaguing government service compelled him to quit his otherwise stable job; and he joined the renowned corporate DCM at Kota, Rajasthan; as a senior executive. During his stint as the Accounts Head, he was inspired by a series of magazine articles of Osho, then known as Acharya Rajneesh. Allured by Osho’s magnetism, he attended that momentous meditation camp at Mt. Abu, Rajasthan in 1971 and was initiated into sannyas. Guided by his Master, he integrated his family life and professional life with his inner journey with remarkable elegance. His life is truly exemplary of a sannyasin balancing a life of career, family, meditation and aloneness. He moved to Delhi to take care of his wife who needed personal and medical care and continue to work in the DCM. After his wife died in 1976 Swamiji took pre mature retirement from his work and was invited by Osho to relocate to the Ashram in Pune, a call that he was eagerly awaiting.
In 1978, Osho sent Swamiji to Delhi to start a meditation center and He also gave Swamiji the name for this new Centre – Rajyoga Rajneesh Dhyan Kendra. This is how the Centre (now known as Osho Rajyoga) came into being. Swamiji’s powerful presence made this Centre the fulcrum of Osho’s work for the entire northern India conducting meditation camps, distributing audio/video discourses, publishing magazines and more. In 1981, when Osho went to the United States, the Center began publishing a newsletter “Rajneesh Buddhafield” to connect people with Rajneeshpuram, Oregon. The creation of Osho Dham, a meditation campus on the outskirts of Delhi, was the culmination of Swamiji’s efforts to provide a suitable space for meditation for a large number of seekers with restful accommodation facilities. Swamiji’s commitment and love enabled the realization of Osho’s vision ‘to bring meditation to the marketplace’ when Osho World Galleria was inaugurated at Ansal Plaza, a fashionable mall in the heart of south Delhi. The creation of the website www.oshoworld.com a treasure chest of Osho’s audio & video discourses, ebooks, posters, meditations and articles; and the publication of monthly magazines Osho World Patrika and Osho News were further manifestations of Swamiji’s vision to make Osho available to a Seeker in any corner of the world.
As Swamiji blossomed in meditation, his inner growth manifested in his work. He is an inspiration to young disciples on the journey of meditation. Swamiji attained enlightenment on May 21, 2001. He continued to meditate, work and provide vision for the future to spread the message of his beloved Master till he attained his Mahaparinirvana on March 27, 2003. Like a drop that dissolves into the Ocean, Swamiji merged with the vast ocean of Osho.
“A disciple becomes almost a part of the very being of the Master. There arises an invisible connection between the two hearts. They dance together.” OSHO
If you enter deeper meditation soon you will realize that a sound is continuously happening there. It is the sound of existence itself, the humming sound of existence itself. And if you listen without interpreting it, if you don’t force any interpretation on it, if you simply listen and watch and observe, sooner or later you will realize it is aum vibrating inside.
IN THIS STAGE ALL ACTIVITIES… CEASE. THE WHOLE UNIVERSE IN THE FORM OF THE WORLD — VISWA, INTELLIGENCE — PRAJNA, AND RADIANCE — TEJAS, IS JUST AUM.
In this stage only aum exists — the sound, the ultimate sound. Or you can call it the soundless sound, the uncreated sound…
THE FIRST SOUND ‘A’ OF AUM, STANDS FOR THE WORLD — the universe; THE SECOND ‘U’ FOR RADIANCE — life, ‚ elan, vital; AND THE THIRD ‘M’ FOR INTELLIGENCE — consciousness, awareness. BEFORE ENTERING SAMADHI — that is, ultimate ecstasy, the final ecstasy….
This path has to be remembered well, it will be very helpful. This is the last advice of this Upanishad, the final. And only Hindus and Tibetans have used this advice for millions of years. This is their last secret. BEFORE ENTERING SAMADHI — that is, death with consciousness…. Samadhi means death with consciousness, dying fully alert. You have died many times but it was not samadhi, it was simple death, because whenever you died you were unconscious. Before death happens you are unconscious, it is just a surgical procedure. Because death will be so painful for you, you cannot be allowed to be conscious — just as a surgeon gives you anesthetic, chloroform, before he operates on you, and then his operation is just nothing.
Death’s operation is so big because the whole being has to be taken out of your body with which it has become so attached, identified. It is not simply removing a bone, it is removing the whole body from you. So nature has a process: before you die you fall unconscious, fast asleep, you are no longer in your senses, and then your being can be removed. This is not samadhi.
And remember, if
a person dies in unconsciousness he is born in unconsciousness, because the birth, the coming birth, will be the same, the same quality. If in this life you die unconsciously, in the next life you will be born unconscious in a womb. If you can die consciously then you can be born consciously. And if you can die with total awareness, the whole being alert, not a single part unconscious, then you will not be born at all. Then there is no need, then you can simply discard this body and become bodiless. BEFORE ENTERING SAMADHI — that is, conscious, alert, aware of death…. And only the person who has attained the seventh stage can enter it. He will be born no more, he will be out of the wheel of existence.
… THE SEEKER SHOULD CONTEMPLATE ON AUM MOST STRENUOUSLY, AND SUBSE-QUENTLY HE SHOULD SURRENDER EVERYTHING, FROM GROSS TO SUBTLE TO THE CONSCIOUS SELF. TAKING THE CONSCIOUS SELF AS HIS OWN SELF, HE SHOULD CONSOLIDATE THIS FEELING: I AM ETERNAL, PURE, ENLIGHTENED, FREE, EXISTENTIAL, INCOMPARABLE, THE MOST BLISSFUL VASUDEVA AND PRANAVA HIMSELF — I am the Brahman. Before entering death the seeker should try this.
Many things. First, before you enter death ordinarily you cling to the body, you don’t want to give it up. That is the ordinary reaction of the mind, to cling. Death is snatching everything and you cling, you start a fight with death. In this fight you will be defeated. This sutra says: Give up consciously. From the gross to the subtle to the self, give up everything. Just say to death, “Take it. This is not me. Take this body, take this mind, take this self, this ego. I am not this.”
Don’t cling, let your life be a gift to death. Don’t create any fight and resistance. If you create fight you will become unconscious and you will miss an opportunity again. Give up. Give death whatsoever you have — from the gross to the subtle to the very self, go on giving. Don’t create any resistance.
This is the foundational thing. Don’t create resistance, don’t fight with death. What will happen? If you can give up knowingly, consciously, blissfully, you will not fall unconscious, there is no need. Your clinging creates the problem…If there is no resistance there is no problem. Resistance creates conflict, conflict creates problem. So at the moment of death the seeker should contemplate on aum. He should feel himself as the aum, the universe, the very life, the very existence, the very awareness. And subsequently he should surrender everything — FROM GROSS TO SUBTLE. And this is not only for the seeker, even an enlightened person who has achieved the seventh has to surrender.
It is reported of Buddha that he told his disciples one day just in the morning, “This evening I am going to surrender my body back to nature, so if you have to ask anything you can ask. This is the last day.”
They were very worried, depressed, sad; they started weeping and crying. And Buddha said, “Don’t waste time. If you have to ask anything this is the last day. In the evening when the sun is setting I will surrender my body. I have used so many bodies and I have never thanked nature before. This is the last, now I will never move in a body again. This is the last house I have been living in, this is my last residence, so I have to thank nature and give the body back. It served many purposes, it led me really to this enlightenment. It was a means, and was a good means. It helped me in every way. So I have to thank nature and surrender the whole abode back, because it is a gift from nature and I must surrender it consciously. So there is no time….”
But nobody asked any question, they were not in the mood to ask. They were sad and they said, “You have said everything and we have not followed, so just give us your blessing that we may follow whatsoever you have said.”
Then by the evening Buddha retired. He went behind a tree to surrender. And it is said that a man named Subhadra who lived in a nearby town came running — there are many Subhadras always. He came running in the evening when Buddha had retired and he said, “I have some questions to ask.”
Buddha’s disciples said, “It is too late now, we cannot disturb him now. This is not good. You could have come before. Buddha passed through your village many times, at least ten times in his life, and we have never seen you come to him.”
The man said, “Every time Buddha was passing through my village there was something or other which prevented me. Sometimes my wife was ill, sometimes there was too much of a crowd in my shop, too many customers; sometimes I was ill, sometimes there was some other urgent thing to be done, sometimes there was some marriage going on — so I went on postponing. But now I have heard that he is going to die. There is no time to postpone now, and I must ask him. So allow me.”
They prevented him. They said, “It is impossible.”
Buddha came back from his retirement and he said, “Let it not be written in history that while I was still alive somebody came and knocked at my door and went away empty-handed. Let him ask.”
Then he again retired.
First he surrendered his body. It is reported that when he surrendered his body there was a radiance around the body as if the body had become energy and was moving into the cosmos — a conscious surrender. Then he surrendered his mind. It is said a fragrance spread, went on spreading. A buddha’s mind is a fragrance, the condensed fragrance of such a great and pure and innocent life, it was felt. Then he surrendered his self. These three things surrendered, he died. This was mahaparinirvana, mahasamadhi. But it was a conscious surrender, death was given back everything that nature had given. This man will never be back again. Only such a conscious surrender can become samadhi, the ultimate samadhi.
Even if you have not attained the seventh stage, wherever you are, at any stage,
when death approaches you try to be conscious, surrendering. Don’t fight with death. If you fight with death, death will conquer. If you don’t fight with death there is no possibility of conquering.
This is the way with death, to be in a letgo.
And this has been done even by buddhas who have attained the seventh stage. So try it. For you it will be an effort, but worth doing. Even if you fail it is good to do, because doing it many times you will succeed. And once you succeed with death fear disappears, surrender becomes easy.
This is the difficulty with surrender. Many people come to me — one girl was here just the other day and she said, “I feel very sad because everybody else seems to be surrendered to you, trusting, in deep faith. I cannot surrender. Meditation is good, I feel good, but I cannot surrender.” What is the problem in surrendering? Surrender is a death, you are afraid of dying. Whenever you think of surrender you feel, “Then I am no more, then I dissolve,” and you want to persist.
If you can surrender in death you can surrender in love, you can surrender in trust, you can surrender in faith. And the reverse is also true, vice-versa is also true; if you can surrender in love, surrender in faith, you will be able to surrender in death. Surrender is the same, the same phenomenon — and surrender is the key. Learn to surrender in death, and if you cannot surrender in death you cannot surrender in life also.
Those who are afraid of death are always afraid of life. They miss everything.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
Vedanta: Seven Steps to Samadhi
Chapter title: The Art of Dying
19 January 1974 am in Mt. Abu, Rajasthan, India
Osho has spoken on ‘Mahaparinirvana, Samadhi, Enlightenment, Surrender, Death’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses:
- Bodhidharma: The Greatest Zen Master
- The Diamond Sutra
- Come Follow To You, Vol 1, 2, 3, 4
- The Heart Sutra
- Nansen: The Point of Departure
- The Tantra Vision, Vol 1, 2
- Vigyan Bhairav Tantra, Vol 1, 2
- The Path of the Mystic
- Ecstasy – The Forgotten Language
- The Great Zen Master Ta Hui
- My Way: The Way of the White Clouds
- The Invitation
- Take It Easy, Vol 1