WHEN DOES A LOVE STORY START?
SWAMI SWATANTRA SARJANO (Freedom and Creativity)
Born in 1943 in Pordenone, Italy. Sarjano took sannyas in 1978 and presently lives in Rome, Italy.
That’s how I met Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, as he was called in the 70s, and these were the first words I uttered to him, and it says it all. As simple as that. Is there anything else to say? I truly can’t say anything more about ‘the meeting’, or about the Master, who is still speaking for himself, but I can tell you more about the rebel and about the circumstances where and when a meeting such as this happened. And I’ll have to start from faraway… or was it yesterday?
At the tender age of 2, I realized that all the children around me were suffering from a “strange disease.” Strange, because I couldn’t recognize what it was until it became absolutely clear on my first and last day at school. What I recognized in horror was the simple fact that all these children were afraid!
They deeply knew about something that was unknown to me, like to every child at birth, and that is fear. In that case, the fear was “fear of authority”, but I remembered instantly that it was the SAME fear, the same anguishing feeling that I had noticed in every child for years, even at home and even in relation to their parents. I simply knew the name of the disease. I suspected immediately that it was coming from ‘the father’. For everybody I knew had a father, except me, and those who didn’t have a real father, had at least a ‘substitute’ or even a couple of grandfathers, to teach them the matter. Except for me. After the horror of my first day at school, I simply quit because I just couldn’t stand the idea of someone to whom I could only “listen and obey.”
I’ll make short of my young years spent at the local library, my passion for writing poems and cooking food, and my avidity for learning. How does a rebel learn? Easy and beautifully. He chooses his teacher among some big guys that he admires and from whom he would like to learn the art. Whatever art. As a teenager, I wanted to know about philosophy; that was my FIRST issue, so I made my first trip hitchhiking to Paris, just to meet Jean-Paul Sartre and have some philosophical exchange with him and Simone too.
We talked over a café-au-lait about the most fascinating subject for me: “Entre le neant et la douleur, je choisi la douleur.” Of course I was speaking French at the age of sixteen; why, didn’t you? Back in Rome, I met Allen Ginsberg, and we read “Howl” together in an underground club called “Beat 72”. The music was provided by Don Cherry and Gato Barbieri, and when finally, at the end of the evening, I read my poems, people were standing up and clapping and shouting my name. The next day, The International Herald Tribune wrote: “We heard last night the Italian version of Lenny Bruce, just a little spicier, Mediterranean style.”
With this encouragement, I started the first alternative magazine in Italy, called NO. It was to be the mouthpiece of our political group, “PROVOS ROMA ONE”, a wild bunch of long-haired freaks, poets, artists, and visionaries who could stage “a political theatre performance” at any time, anywhere, and for any reason conceivable.
We staged many events that made me quite popular among the pop rock generation and eventually got me a job at BIG, the first Italian rock magazine. That meant five years of rock concerts and rock festivals all over Europe, interviewing and photographing the likes of Jimmy Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Cream, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, Who, Bob Dylan, and, in short, everyone I liked. Rock bands that I didn’t like, say, Deep Purple, I would refuse to meet.
I decided to have a short yet educational stint in Berlin, the city that hosted the last “Paradise Now”, and where we met so many beautiful and creative people. Every night, after our performance, hundreds gathered in our dressing room with sweets, chillums and other comforts. There was an incredible blossoming of this lifestyle; many people were choosing to live in a commune rather than in a family or alone, so I visited a few of these communes, but I found out that they were very much “politically oriented,” and their staying together was based more on ideology than on feelings, creativity, or spiritual orientation.
I was not the only one to lament this discovery; there was another “living orphan”, a coloured guy from some strange island in the Caribbean, who suggested we move to Hamburg, where, he was told, there was the same huge number of communes, but, in contrast with Berlin, they were all creative communes. True. I found out quickly that there was an “Underground Film Coop” in Hamburg with more than 250 members, among them some kids called Werner Herzog, Rainer Fassbinder, and Dore O. There was a commune on Innocentia Strasse. I remember this name because a young musician named George Deuter (later Chaitanya Hari) and his girlfriend of the time were both living there!
The people in Innocentia were creative in a multi-dimensional way, just as I like it, so I finally decided to live there for a while because there were some filmmakers, some photographers, some writers, and some musicians, and they were working all together on whatever the common project was. At the time, they were publishing an underground magazine called Die Neue Scheisse (The New Shit), which was hilarious and provocative, plus they were contributing regularly to a political, leftist magazine called Konkret, particularly with photo images. They were organizing “underground film festivals,” and all in all, they were keeping themselves quite busy with creativity.
This German experience was very educational in the sense that it gave me more inspiration, strength, and confidence to pursue my idea of creating a commune in Italy or in North Africa, like on the Tunisian or Moroccan coast. It was after the “Palermo Pop 70” rock festival, during which such greats as Aretha F., The Black Sabbath, Bobby Solo, and even old legends like “Duke Ellington’s Band” had performed, that several of the kids gathered around me at the end of the concert to chat. When they heard about the intentions of my girlfriend Silvia and me to find a place to create a commune, they just said, “Your commune is here, in Sicily! Have you explored Sicily before thinking of going to Africa? Sicily is so beautiful and very similar to North Africa too, and it is full of magic places!”
Someone offered a car, a real Land Rover, for our search, so it was quickly decided that Silvia and I would hit the road and explore every niche and corner of Sicily, and several of the kids would be joining us on their motorbikes. After three wonderful weeks, we had seen at least a dozen of places worth considering, but nothing with that “magic”, which really clicks something inside of you.
One day, some of our friends suggested that we take a day off from the search and simply relax at some magic beach in Sicily, so we all gathered with bikes and cars, heading towards “Cala Rossa”, a piece of coast just 30 miles away from Palermo, just after “Punta Raisi” airport. The name comes from the fact that the mountains around it become totally purple during sunset, and what a stunning sunset it was. We had found a small, natural bay carved out of rocks and surrounded by little caves that looked like rooms at a beach resort. It was simply too beautiful to be true, and the colours of the sunset were making us sing the eternal words of Jim Morrison: “The night comes with her purple legions…. Tomorrow I’m entering the city of my birth… I want to be ready!”
When we took the way back to our cars, we followed a little path among orange and lemon trees, for it was a shortcut, until suddenly a dream appeared in front of my eyes.
There, among thousands of lemon trees, surrounded by a huge porch with columns and palm trees, including a romantic well, stood an old castle, with a tower and everything… clearly ‘abandoned’ to itself. I simply couldn’t believe my eyes… everything was too beautiful to be true. The ocean, the little, private bay, the colours of the sunset… and now this castle with palm trees and surrounded by lemon fields on every side, for 360 degrees. After exploring the inside and having counted 8 bedrooms, plus a huge kitchen, an enormous living room, and a few little cells on top of the tower (which I had already chosen as ‘my personal residence’), I started asking my Sicilian friends about the property: who is the owner, and will it be possible to rent the castle?
The click had happened, and it was simply destiny.
It will take a substantial book on itself to narrate those seven intense years we lived there; we really did EVERYTHING, from a huge number of children to a few music bands, from movies to theatre productions to harvesting olives or grapes (according to the season), to singing our own songs at the local ‘Sagra’ (village fair), and you name it… I can much more easily tell you what we did not do in those seven magic years: we did not take drugs; we were all out of it. We did not kill animals or eat meat, except for the fish that was offered daily by the local fishermen. We did not have fights, jealousies, or arguments about the occupancy of the rooms, financial reasons, or this kind of stuff.
I could tell you stories ad infinitum, but the most interesting story about the commune – the only one truly worth remembering – is why people started disappearing one by one! And with no apparent connection with each other. The first person was one Marco Salghetti, an engineer by family tradition and a carpenter by choice. One day I saw him packing, and I asked where he was going.
“I’m going to India; some friends invited me….”
“I didn’t know you had friends in India,” I replied.
“I didn’t know either,” he said.
And, after that, he disappeared for three years. I had to go in search of him, actually.
Then came Gianna Stoppani, a therapist from Switzerland, in the sense that she also disappeared and was found later in Poona, along with Andrea Valcarenghi, my pal of thousands of adventures and battles, the “father of the Italian underground”, as he was known then, while Carlo Silvestro would be “the mother of the Italian underground”! It was getting really too much for me. By now, I had started to realize that our desperados had all turned up in the same place! Poona! Isn’t this fantastic? Isn’t this unbelievable? Isn’t this disquieting? I started to receive some books by this Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, some in English, some translated into horrible Italian. I immediately thought that this guy should have a better translator because his way of thinking was quite interesting. I would have called him, at that time, an “organic philosopher”, or a “holistic thinker.”
The guy was interesting, to say the least, yes, but attracting all my friends to come there and never returning them? There was something eluding me. Something deeply disquieting. It was a strange summer, yet I would never have imagined that the end was coming soon, on velvet feet, like a thief. First, I let Terry, my girlfriend at the time, fly alone to Malaysia. Now I was missing her, and I was feeling tremendously guilty for not having gone with her. My self-esteem was low, and I was getting more depressed day after day. I was feeling like a true piece of shit, and I just couldn’t manage to forgive myself. My mood was getting suicidal while pondering over the tremendous words of Cesare Pavese: “A woman, any woman, can reveal the failure of a man, any man.”
Just during those days, Joan Fiore arrived. She was one of the leading therapists at “The Esalen Institute”, and I’ve heard that later on she became the director of the institute. At that time she was touring Europe to present her peculiar form of Gestalt therapy, and she had been invited to Italy by a friend of mine called Luigi De Marchi, a brilliant sociologist of Reichian formation and President of “The Reich Institute” of Italy.
Gigi, as I was fondly calling him, had invited me to meet Joan in Rome and maybe take part in her group. I signed up for the group. It was my first experience with therapy, and by the end of the group, I had managed to forget and forgive. Particularly myself. In the intimacy of after-dinner, with a glass of passito, Joan revealed to me that: “I’ve been watching you during the group, Carlo, and I’ve been ‘using you’, as you may have noticed! I wanted to tell you that your ‘contact’ with people, even your ‘encountering,’ is just too beautiful, so clean and sincere. I’ve rarely seen such a beautiful heart in my groups. You have the heart of a poet, the heart of a friend, and the heart of a lover. I firmly believe that you are a born therapist, Carlo, and you should go for it, as simple as that. There are two schools in the world worth considering if you want to become a good therapist. One is “The Esalen Institute”, and the other is in Poona, around Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. You may choose where to go between these two, but please do it!”
Again, this name, this “Bhagwan” comes into my life. What is he, a therapist now? Something inside me mysteriously tells me that he is, that he must be a sort of therapist, a real therapist. He must be healing people; otherwise, why would my friends go to him? Anyway, needless to say, Joan’s words moved something else in me, and before she left, I had made my decision: as soon as Terry is back, I’ll ask her to go with me to Poona.
In fact, there was no need to convince Terry. First, she was usually ready to go anywhere with me, and second, she was coming from a very sad and heavy adventure. A few months before, when she was selected as the heroine for the sequel of Sandokan with Indian actor Kabir Bedi, she had to go for three months to Malaysia and Sri Lanka for the shooting of the movie, and since she was feeling quite lonely there, she became slowly anorexic, ending up losing ten kilos of weight in only three months and without even noticing it!
We left Rome on the first of February 1978, boarding on Air India, with a fixed return for 14 days later, and never would I have imagined that there would be no return for me and Terry would go back alone.
When we landed in Poona, I didn’t even bother to find a hotel, so we went straight to the ashram. What I saw was a small compound, about 18 acres in all, with a lot of green and a few houses here and there, a huge, presumptuous wooden gate as an entrance, and a tacky pseudo-crystal chandelier to add some more kitsch to the first impression. “This must be a trick!” I thought. “It must be something like the ‘Bardo Visions’ – simply our own illusions or the result of our projections, a damn trick!”
While I was pondering over those kinds of spiritual matters, my old friend Marco, now renamed Asheesh, came out of the gate, holding a plate with a few pieces of cake. When he saw me, he displayed no surprise and the maximum of cool. “Ah, here you are! Just in time for your piece of cake, have a piece, please!” I decided to stay in tune, and I just asked what the cake was about and what kind of anniversary we were celebrating. I would have liked to ask what he had been doing there for the past 3 years, and why he had disappeared like that, and if he was happy in India… and much more, but his face had never been so serene, his body language never so relaxed and fluid, and his only eye never so sparkling and shining, so what was the point of asking anything. I ate my cake. In silence.
Asheesh was keeping on playing cool while quietly informing me that today was just 3 years since he had been “initiated into sannyas.” That was the celebration, and he had been waiting for me all this time, and now he said, “I’m going to cancel your name from my little list, for the first has come. The rest will follow, I’m sure!”
“C’mon, I’m just in transit here with Terry; we are having a two-week Indian tour, and I wanted to come here to see what happened to you guys. I mean you, Andrea (Deva Majid), Simona (Yatra), and Gianna (Swiss Pratibha)… that’s all!”
Ashish had a funny, I would say now, “prophetic” smile and told me, “So, you came to find out what happened to us? Well, now you are going to see how many people will reach here to find out what has happened to YOU!” It sounded like a cute punch, but more poetical than realistic, at least to me. After a few pieces of cake and a few more hugs, I entered the gate. It was getting hot, and I was still dressed up like a traveller, with jeans, a black leather jacket, and boots, while a bunch of children were playing just in front of me.
I had reached the space called at the time Radha Hall, and it was full of kids, at least 30 of them, of any age, ranging from 5–6, to teens up to 16–17 years old. I love children, you know, and, most importantly, they love me. I can fight with everybody in this world; I probably did, but I never had an argument or a fight with any child in my entire life. No child has ever told me that I’m crazy! Nor that I’m overwhelming, and not even that I’m Italian! Children are like a clean mirror, and they are the only indication I trust when I reach a place. I knew instantly, looking at those kids, that I had landed in a “different space.”
I just undressed myself there and then, wrapped a lungi around my nudity, and started running with the kids, totally oblivious to the fact that I had been travelling for over 24 hours and that I had my girlfriend with me! Poor Terry, I think I lost her the same moment I entered the Gateless Gate, but what to do, isn’t the spiritual path a way of renunciation?
How could I have imagined that one day I would meet a human being more beautiful than her? And not even a woman, for that matter, with the result that Terry, eternally afraid to be left for another greater beauty, lost her prince for an old chap with a white beard. Life is so funny, you know? She even tried to follow my footsteps and bowed in front of Osho in order to be initiated ‘like me’ into sannyas. The Master gracefully obliged and called her Tarun, but she left the next day and never came back. Was the seed planted anyway, or is she still a lost soul? If I only knew the answer!
Back at the gate, oblivious to Terry, I got lost in playing with the children there till sunset, when the ashram activity started flowing towards the auditorium, signaling that it was time to move and go in search of a room for the night. We ended up at the newly built Blue Diamond, the only 5-star hotel in town, but for the first time, I didn’t like to stay in that tacky luxury.
I was also strangely excited during the whole night because the first impression and the children had already told me that I had landed in a “different space.” This was already an absolute certainty for me, and now I just wanted to see with my eyes the core, the centre of all that, and in the waiting, I couldn’t sleep. Terry was fast asleep at the first light of dawn, but I was ready to jump in the shower and get dressed in a minute. In fact, it took less than a minute to wrap a lungi around my waist, and with that, I crossed the lobby of the Blue Diamond until I was on the green road to the ashram.
I saw flames of orange in different shades floating and dancing in the misty morning, walking in the same direction. “We are going in the direction that never started and never ends…” the poet will write later on. But in that moment, I was only excited and curious to the max. The ashram gate was looking even tackier in that early morning light, but I remembered it was a trick, so I went on without getting caught in judgment. I proceeded towards the auditorium until I managed to sit somewhere at the very back of it. I felt quite relaxed, getting ready for the clou, for the great apparition of Le Grand Séducteur. I didn’t know how to explain otherwise why my friends had left the commune, or the revolution, or the free radio, or the underground press, or their girlfriend, or all this together, to sit with this guy.
Then he entered.
A man with a long grey beard dressed up in a long white robe with long sleeves and a smile.
He stopped in the middle of a little podium, where a chair had been placed 10 minutes before his arrival, and from there he offered a long namaste, rotating gently, as in slow motion, to give his blessings in every direction. I was looking at him carefully; I think I was trying to analyse him, to see into his mind, into his psyche, and into his personality, which I expected anyway to be very beautiful.
There was nothing to analyse. There was no mind, no psyche, and, of course, no personality. I had never met anything like this in my whole life, and there was something almost scary in this absence – something abysmal, bottomless, and certainly alien to my experience. I tried my best to penetrate him, to look inside of him, to catch at least some hidden sign of his psychology, you know… a little tic, the print of a habit, a repetition, an insistence, a gap, but to no avail.
God, I always KNOW everybody at first ‘contact’ (but don’t tell anybody, please!); I can read through them, no matter how refined and cunning their posture or their mask. And I can say it loudly; I always did it, for I’m the boy who shouts, “THE KING IS NAKED!”
And now, there was simply nothing to read… And I was the naked one, for once! I had to give up, and before he got seated in his chair! It was like a sudden, unexpected surrender to the mystery of existence. Me, the Great Demystificator, couldn’t do anything else but accept the ‘anomaly’ in front of him. The matter of fact was that I had simply never seen anybody like that. I remember an instant of “verbalization”, when I said to myself, “So, man, Buddha exists; it’s not a fairy tale, and this nothingness in front of me can only be one of them!” In the space of a namaste, I knew with absolute certainty that in front of me there was a ‘no mind’. As simple as that.
“Okay,” I said to myself, “let’s see how it feels.”
How does it feel?
If I tell you, will you understand?
Okay, the first taste of nothingness in my life felt simply fantastic. And, it is contagious too!
The more I was letting go of my analytical process, the more I tasted the honey of this no-mind state.
The more I was letting my personality disappear, the more I felt like I was part of an ocean of silence and beatitude.
The more space I was leaving to him (a nothingness), the less of ‘me’ was left there with the time passing by. Till even time disappeared completely, and in this pure absence I knew since forever that:
“If this is love, oh my love,
I will have eyes
for nothing else,
I will have no other thirst.
I will have no other way
but the path
that leads to myself….”
And finally, as soon as I could get to pen and paper, I wrote to him:
“When a real lion meets a real Master
he recognizes him,
and he decides to be defeated,
and he decides to drop his ego,
because he knows that this is the path,
the only way to go lightly,
but I’m afraid that it is my ego again,
deciding for me.
Please throw some light….”
Osho answered during discourse:
“Carlo, the decision to take sannyas has to be of the ego. But it is a decision to commit suicide. These two things have to be understood.
When a man decides to commit suicide, life is deciding for death, in favour of death. When a man commits suicide, what happens? He has lived and found something is lacking in life, it is not worth living; he moves in the opposite direction, of death. He searches for death.
The same happens in sannyas too: it is the ego deciding to take sannyas. Sannyas means the suicide of the ego.
The ego has lived and found only agonies. The ego has searched, groped in the dark, and never has anything happened to it, only tension, anguish, misery. The ego has lived through hell. The ego is hell!
Jean-Paul Sartre says ‘The other is hell’ – that is absolutely wrong. The ego is hell! Not the other, but the I is the hell. And when you have felt this in the very guts of your being, in your bones, in your blood, in your marrow – when the ego has utterly failed you, the ego decides to commit suicide. That’s what sannyas is.
But once you take sannyas, a totally different world, a totally different vision, starts in your being. You start living egoless, and suddenly you are surprised. It is not life that was wrong, it was the ego that was wrong. Life is immensely fulfilling, it is SHEER joy, it is made of the stuff called bliss. It was ego that was a barrier and was not allowing you to live. Once you surrender, even for a moment if the window opens in that surrender…. And that’s what sannyas is, initiation is looking into the eyes of the Master, for a moment you disappear. For a moment you start seeing through the eyes of the Master. For a moment you are not separate, you vibrate with the Master. You take his colour, you take his vibration, you pulsate with him, you breathe with him. It is a single moment, but in that single moment you have come across the gap from where the door opens, and you can see a totally different world. The same world, but yet in a totally different perspective.
This is initiation – looking through the Master’s eyes. You have looked through your eyes and you have not found anything. Now you close your eyes and you look through the eyes of the Master. This is obedience, this is surrender. This is trying to put aside your past patterns, and learning of something new. It is an unlearning process, unlearning as far as the ego and its ways are concerned, and a learning process as far as the ways of non-ego are concerned.
The Master is one who has no ego. The disciple is one who has come to understand that the ego and its ways are false, they lead only into cul-de-sacs. The disciple is one who is ready to drop the ego and wants to know, ‘How to drop it?’ He has suffered long with it, he has carried the burden long. Now he’s tired of it! He wants to be unburdened. He does not know how to put it away, how to throw it. He has been clinging to it for so long that he has forgotten that it can be put aside. He comes to a man who has put his ego aside, looks into those eyes, starts trembling in a new way. A new streaming energy is felt, and suddenly a link is broken between the ego and you. This is what initiation is. It is just a beginning certainly, much will have to be done later on; but if you have taken one step, half the journey is complete. Yes, I say half the journey is complete, because the first step is the most difficult step. All other steps are going to be the same, repetition of the same step again and again.
Carlo’s question is significant. He says, ‘When a real lion meets a real master, he recognizes him….’
That is true. Camels cannot recognize a Master. The camels have to be persuaded. And sometimes a camel comes to me and I persuade really hard.
Just a few days ago, I was persuading a woman really hard. I could see that she could become a lion, but she persists to remain a camel. I could see the potential, that just in a single step she could become a lion. Ordinarily I don’t persuade too much, because persuading a person for sannyas too much can become a barrier. The person can start thinking that he or she is so important, that’s why I am persuading. That feeling of importance can enhance the ego. But when I see that somebody is just on the verge, a push IS needed. I go out of my way to give a push. But it is always moving into the unknown. One never knows how the person is going to react.
I persuaded her. She became a sannyasin, but missed the point. While looking into my eyes, she was not looking into my eyes. She was still afraid, she was clinging to the camel. A great opportunity was given to her, she missed it. I have given her a message that she can drop sannyas, because really it has not happened. She wants to remain a camel, so let her be happy as a camel. A camel cannot recognize, a camel is blind. The camel is the larva, a stagnant pool.
But a lion can recognize. That’s why almost always it happens that those who have any kind of courage in them immediately take the jump into sannyas. Not that they will not have to face the world, not that they will not have problems – they will have problems, but that is secondary. Those problems can be tackled, that world can be faced. But when a moment arises when one has to take the risk, the lion takes the risk. The lion recognizes the Master.
The camel cannot recognize, the camel has to be persuaded, goaded into sannyas. The lion can recognize and accept sannyas, ask for it, take the jump on his own accord. And in that very jump the lion starts moving to the third stage: the child.
In surrender you become a child, you become soft, feminine, you allow the Master to penetrate you deeply. You allow the Master to make you pregnant, you become pregnant with the divine. And the state of child is really a state of pregnancy. You die and you are born anew as a child, out of your own womb.
It is the greatest miracle in the world – man being born out of his own womb.
But the decision is going to be of the ego. Just as suicide is the decision of life, sannyas is the decision of the ego. But once you have decided the ego starts disappearing, the ego has committed suicide. In fact, sannyas and suicide are very similar. Suicide is a false sannyas, sannyas is a real suicide – because in suicide only the body dies and you will be born again. In sannyas the ego dies, and if you work it out totally, you may not be born again.”
Osho, The Wisdom of the Sands, Vol 1, Ch 6, Q 7
The date for my initiation into sannyas, or the suicide of my ego, was scheduled for March 3, 1978. Since I had to wait for nearly two weeks, I decided to have a taste of some meditations happening in Buddha Hall Auditorium, beginning with the most notorious Dynamic Meditation, which started at 6 am sharp. It was okay for me, I even liked it to a certain extent, but I felt almost like I didn’t truly need THAT kind of medicine, or perhaps I was too undisciplined for it; who knows. In fact, I was truly enjoying only the last part of it, the dance of celebration that ends the Dynamic. So, since I had the habit of getting up early, I started running around the misty and deserted roads of Koregaon Park from 6 to 6.45 in the morning, when I would enter the Gateless Gate, and start dancing like a wild animal to the final music coming from Buddha Hall. That was more or less my morning meditation!
Around 10 am there was my favourite one; it was called at the time Sufi Dance, and was led by Ma Aneeta, for Aneeta was the real ‘Sufi Wing’ of the Master, while the music was provided by Swami Anubhava and friends. I became such a regular and hot feature in Sufi Dance, that every time people were sleeping or not truly total in their dancing, Aneeta would stop everybody, call me to the centre and ask everybody to imitate me:
“Just let him be your leader for 5 minutes and do what he does!” Too bad that the first time my lungi fell down, exposing ALL my nudity. People looked at me, then hesitantly looked at Aneeta, wondering if they had really to imitate THIS, and before Aneeta realized what was going on, a dozen other people had already removed their lungi too!
I had a lot of fun and meditation while waiting for the big day. The day came, just like any other day in my life. I was ready. In my mind, the story was running like this: “This ego, for the way I know it, is going to commit suicide. After that, the real self will declare its birth, and that’s the real birth.” Waiting inside of me was this metaphor of “the death and the resurrection.”
When my name was called in Chuang Tzu Auditorium, I was wearing the most simple and cheap robe I could find. Still, I was feeling naked, like a new-born child, and naked I was when I sat in front of Him….
For now, it will suffice to say that once I sat in front of Him, Bhagwan looked straight into my eyes, and in no time He placed his thumb on my third eye, asking me to look into His eyes… and for a moment I was caught in dreams, expectations, fantasies… again! I remember that I thought full of hope that “now a big ray of love will penetrate me, now an immense cascade of love will pour over me and wash away all my shit; now I will be inundated with so much compassion and love that I could drown in it!”, and this kind of stuff, you know. Then, when all my thoughts disappeared and I finally tuned in deeply with Him, again, there was NOTHING to grasp. There was no love, no beauty, no compassion, no affection, no feelings whatsoever; there were no celestial trumpets either; there were no angelic melodies; again, there was NOTHING emanating from this human being, not even sympathy or likeness! It was the scariest “trip” of my life, for there was no love, just a pure abyss.
There was no sympathy, consolation, or sweet feelings; just a bottomless, abysmal emptiness, a vacuum, a cosmic black hole, and an eternal death. I knew that if I could take the jump, I would simply die. Just die. Really die. Not metaphorically or poetically. I could jump. There was nothing else to do, and fear has never been a factor in my life. So I jumped, and I died. Can I explain THAT?
How are you supposed to narrate your own death? There are no words there, no feelings, and no stories to tell.
I just know I experienced that because “I” was not there anymore. I was totally gone, as one would normally say. I was invited to melt for a moment with the emptiness, with the no-mind state of the Master, through His eyes.
I accepted the invitation. I died.
Never could I be the same again.
From the book, Past the Point of No Return by Ma Anand Bhagawati