The word 'unique' is pale from overuse yet for describing this book there is no better adjective. As a record of the enlightened master Osho's work with his disciples during the -70s and 80s it is certainly a 'one-off''. Osho conducted an intense experiment. attracting seekers in their thousands from every corner of the globe, at a time when the Internet was embryonic and the only 'search engines' word of mouth, books, and magazines, In working with the complex minds, polished egos, emotional, and psychic armouring of 20th century seekers, Osho created powerful meditation techniques which he used alongside structures and processes from the thriving contemporary Western growth movement.
Osho's sannyasins were adventurers - on the move, seeking depth, insight, connection, and meaning while shaking off cultural and societal conditioning.
Into the vibrant and dynamic community known as the Pune 1 ashram, swept a flamboyant Italian. Carlo Silvestro, who was swiftly renamed by Osho Swatantra, Sarjano-Divine Creativity. Sarjano received more attention, commentary, feedback, grooming, stroking, and Zen-Whacking than any sannyasin ever documented in Osho's work.
Why did this 'crazy Italian' get so much attention from the Master?
Was Sarjano 'special? This account of his life and journey as a disciple, his escapades, theatrics, and adventures, provides compelling reading and fascinating insights into the playful profundity of the work of the extraordinary mystic master Osho.
Swatantra Sarjano was born in Italy and already as a youngster, displayed a general avidity in learning. As a teenager, he travelled to Paris and met Jean- Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, in Rome, together with Allen Ginsberg read 'HOWL' in the underground club 'Beat 72'. He initiated 'NO', the first alternative magazine in Italy, and later staged pop music events throughout Europe. While working for BIG, the first Italian Rock magazine, he interviewed and photographed Jimmy' Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Cream, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley', Led Zeppelin, Who, Bob Dylan…
After the 'Palermo Pop 70' Rock festival featuring Aretha Franklin, The Black Sabbath, Bobby Solo and even 'Duke Ellington's Band', he set out to create a commune in Sicily, Several years later he heard much about Bhagwan from friends and felt to meet him. He left for India, took sannyas in 1978 and worked at Osho's ashram as a photographer, translated Osho's discourses into Italian, and became famous for his cooking skills. He is the author of Food Is Home and Dalla separazione all' amore (491 Questions and Not a Single Answer). He has a restaurant in Vagator, Goa, called Buon Appetito and presently resides in Rome, Italy.
It has been more than twenty years that I wanted to write this book, a book about the ineffable and mysterious relationship that exists between a disciple and his Master. After starting several times, I always dropped the whole idea and forgot my noble intentions, and for a very simple reason, and that is the inadequacy and poverty of our language.
Let's say the truth about this: it is very difficult to communicate with a written language, much more than with an oral transmission, because when you talk, you have the help of your expressions, the tonality of your voice, the movement of your hands, the laughter that you can have between a sentence and the next, while writing is a 'cold medium', as acutely pointed out by Marshall McLuhan and fully subscribed to by Osho, my Master.
You can look for yourself: when you have an extraordinary experience, out of the blue, don't you usually say, "I have become speechless," or "I had no words... ?" And you don't even need to go that far away, because you just have to think about the first time you have kissed someone's lips: have you later told everybody, or did you try to explain to your partner how beautiful it was? No, because normally we have no words to describe the experiences that have touched us deeply, and we don't even try to find them!
I would have loved to narrate my thirty years with an enlightened Master, but the project was a little embarrassing to say the least, because I didn't really know which language to use, which metaphors, which literary artifices. At a certain point I had adventured towards a sumptuous 'Phenomenology of Enlightenment', just to make all those secondhand intellectuals that I used to hang out with before meeting Osho happy, but then I simply gave up, because it was not reaching anywhere and it was not possible to explain deeply what I was trying to convey.
I even tried with 'mystical language', comparing the Master to a light on the path, to a silent oracle, to a modern Jesus Christ - but much more articulated - defining him as 'far superior than Buddha!', but they were all terms that made me laugh; therefore you can imagine how much they would make the readers laugh!
I have tried in every possible and impossible way to narrate this experience, to communicate in which way a Master works on his disciple - and how this person defends himself but I have always failed. I admit this openly and with no shame, but one day I said to myself, "And what about if we let the Master himself tell the whole story?"
In fact, during all these years the Master did nothing else than seduce me, hit me, flatter me, caress me, giving me some heavy slaps - metaphorically speaking - just to lift me up a minute later, maybe just in order to hit me again with another Zen stick, followed inevitably by another caress, a kiss, a twinkle of his eyes, then another hit ... and all this for thirty years and more!
I then decided to collect all the answers the Master had given me during our relationship, and even those discourses when he suddenly would bring up my name, just to give me a pat on the head or to hit me again with one of his fatidic hammerings, and offer all this to you.
I'm presenting his words on a plate made of bamboo leaves, hoping that this will help you understand much better than I could write myself what this 'exemplary relationship' between Master and disciple is made of, and how it works. I call it 'exemplary' because, in spite of my effort to put myself down, out of ancient modesty and healthy realism, I finally realized that my relationship with Osho has been quite 'special', hence exemplary.
I always refused the assumption that my Master could possibly love one of his disciples more than he would love any other one, because I was perceiving him as pure love, indiscriminate, choiceless, and most of all total towards all and everyone, and yet Osho seemed truly to have a special affair with this Sarjano, and he was showing an inexplicable sympathy towards this crazy Italian and an even more inexplicable perseverance in hitting him.
Sometimes I would say to myself that I probably reminded him of his childhood, perhaps he had some friend resembling me or he himself had been very similar to me, because we both grew up - even if in different circumstances - without a solid father figure to break our balls and teach us all the bullshit that usually fathers teach their children. Moreover, we both used to spend our days by the river - which were two different rivers, but we all know anyway that it is always the same river - and we swam in those dangerous waters, or we jumped into the river from some trees, or we were chasing the snakes to place them in our pockets and scare our friends later, on the way home.
There are many points we have in common about our childhood, and even where our adolescence is concerned, from the enchantments of the river to a premature passion for philosophy and the great questions of life. In fact at the age of twelve I was reading La Nausee by Jean Paul Sartre, while Osho was reading the scriptures of Buddha and the chants of Mahavira - to each of us his own way of searching, but the fact remains that both of us had started to search for their inner truth very early.
Perhaps, as the Master had repeated many times, we have been together in some past life too, but what matters is that this turbulent Italian has been the person to whom the Master has spoken more often during his holy career, amongst his disciples - and he was not only the one that had posed the largest number of questions but even the ones that got more answers! I would have loved to publish the words of the Master to his disciple just like this, with no comment, one after the other, but some close friends begged me to narrate at least briefly, in my own way, what was happening to me and to the Commune during the days when Osho was addressing me with those words. So I surrendered and I did just that.
I have kept the narration in the third person for two reasons: firstly because it feels much better in this way and secondly because I simply want to be a witness, someone who just watches and then tells you what he has seen! Besides the joke (and who is joking?), what I'm trying to say is that in the end I decided to limit my personal story to a minimum, and to report only the most significant moments of it; hence I must have forgotten many people who were very dear to me, just to let the Master himself speak more, with his infinite simplicity and his infinite love.
His style of expression has been represented here as faithfully as is possible, with all repetitions and all reiterations, because I certainly do not wish to get another stick from him! Once, during my job of translating one of his books from English to Italian, I had started to cut a little here and there, to erase all his repetitions, the most redundant sentences, and even modifying lightly - but only for the peace of mind of the reader - his more risky statements! Osho got to know about it - I can't even imagine how - and he slammed me openly, saying that Sarjano was trying to make his words more digestible!
A friend helped me track that discourse which was given some time during 1980, and I'm giving you the most salient parts so that you can have a little taste of how things were functioning in this place!
"Just the other day I received a note from Arup (one of his secretaries) that 'Sarjano is translating your book into Italian, but he changes many things. He drops few things, he adds few things from his own knowledge.' Of course he is trying to do some good work; his intention is good! He wants to make it more logical, more intellectual, more sophisticated. And I am a little wild type of man! He wants to trim me here and there. You look at my beard! If Sarjano is allowed he will trim it like Nikolai Lenin, but then it will not be my beard. He is trying to make it more appealing. There is no doubt about his intentions, but these are the intentions which have always destroyed.
When he was told my message that he has to do exactly as it is: 'Don't try to improve upon it. Leave it as it is. Raw, wild, illogical, paradoxical, contradictory, repetitive, whatsoever it is, leave it as it is!' It is so difficult for him. He said, 'Then I will not translate. I would rather like cleaning work.'
You see how the mind works? He is not ready to listen to me; he would rather like to do cleaning work. Otherwise he has to be allowed to interpolate, to change, to color things according to his idea.
Now, whatsoever you will do you will do wrong, because what I am saying is from a totally different plane and what you will be doing will be a totally different effort - it won't belong to my plane, it won't belong to my dimension. It may be scholarly, but I am not a scholar. It may be knowledgeable, but I am not a knowledgeable person.
Knowledgeable people have their own ways. Just small things they will do ...
For example, I had said that Saraha is the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. Now, no scholar will say so decisively. Only a madman can say so decisively because you have to give proofs, you have to give footnotes and you have to make a big appendix in which you have to give proofs. I never give any proofs, I never give any footnotes, I never give you any sources from where. I know only one source, the Akashic records!
So just to make it more appealing, more digestible, he had changed it just a little, not much, that 'Saraha can be said to be the founder of Tibetan Tantra, Tibetan Buddhism.' '... can be said ... ' Now this is a scholarly way, a legal way, but it destroys the whole beauty of it. It destroys its whole certainty, its decisiveness, its hammer-like quality. And hammers are not supposed to be digestible!
Sarjano, it is not a spaghetti! He is a good cook and makes beautiful spaghetti. I don't know anything about spaghetti, but I know Saraha is the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. And I will not give any proof about it. I don't believe in proofs; I simply know. I know Saraha; it is a personal friendship with Saraha. Even if the historians prove something else, I won't listen. I won't pay any attention to them, because I know Saraha."
Tao: The Golden Gate Vol. 2, Ch 4, Q 1, Excerpt
This is just a little taste of what is waiting for you, besides being a good excuse in order to justify the repetitions of my Master!
Try to understand this simple thing: when he was speaking to his disciples he was not reading a written discourse, neither was he thinking about the posterity that one day would read his words; he was just chatting with a few thousand friends that had come to listen to him. Hence it's natural that his elocutions are repetitive and fragmented by long pauses and infinite repetitions, because - I repeat it - his intention was not to make a nice book but to manage to communicate to some thick heads like ours his simple truth!
I hope that this will help you understand the journey a little better - the journey towards oneself, I mean, the journey to come back home, in the eternity that created us, and where, like it or not, we will all come back to one day, each of us with their own timing of course!
To find a living Master can be of immense value for your growth. But you don't have to worry about finding a Master, because it is not the disciple who chooses the Master (and how can he - with which criteria?) but it is rather the Master who chooses his disciples. It will be sufficient then that you prepare yourself and get ready to start your inner journey.
For this purpose it will be useless you start searching for Osho because he is no longer in his body, dead, and alive only in the hearts of his true disciples. For the rest, the organization that carries his name is nowadays in the hands of a little group of common delinquents who are destroying unopposed his entire heritage. But even if these miserable people step on everything, or even cancel the name of Osho from the earth, they will never be able to cancel Osho from my soul, and that's enough, more than enough!
And for those who are deaf to the call, I have here a little invocation written by Ronald D. Laing as the conclusion of his famous book The Politics of Experience. I offer it to you with all my heart:
"If I could turn you on
If I could drive you out
Of your wretched mind
If I could tell you
I would let you know ..."
Have a good trip, my fellow traveler!
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