Anurag Shantam: The Flowering of Sannyas
Recently, in one of the sannyas group chat rooms, someone asked a very simple question: Had anyone become enlightened doing Dynamic Meditation? The silence was deafening...My own journey led me into isolation, and over the years I lost contact with the sannyasins I had known, as well as many others who had been a part of my life. As a result, my knowledge of what had happened and is happening in the world of sannyas is largely through the various sites I visit on the internet. While I realize the limitations of such exposure, I do not think my impressions are necessarily inaccurate.
To me, the world of sannyas seems to be moribund at best, calcified at worst. Whether America poisoned Osho or not is a moot point to me, for America crushed His soul, destroyed the very heart of Him, and sannyas has never been the same. That sannyas seems to be taking on the characteristics of a religion seems to me self-evident. The east seems intent on sanitizing Osho, as though preparing Him for the role of Avatar (or whatever is higher in the hierarchy of holiness) and one can’t have an Avatar inhaling nitrous oxide. Westerners, in their own way, exhibit religious tendencies, citing chapter and verse with the same fever of any Christian fanatic referencing the Bible. And like any Christians, the temptation to forge words of the Master into weapons to hurt, to shame, to humiliate is too strong to resist.
What sannyas needs, is a good dose of enlightenment. Not just the 50 or so we are told exist. No, that will not do.
The Master did not want to be worshipped, did not want to be deified, and He certainly did not want His words of love to be forged into weapons by the ego, to spread suffering to a world already drowning in it. He wanted to awaken the world. He wanted centers all over the world to make enlightenment available to all who are ready. His task was impossible, but that did not deter Him.
His was an instant enlightenment. He had done all His work (His path) in previous lives. The knowledge of His awakening, His path, literally how He did it, was lost to Him. He was awake, He was a master, but He had no path of His own to teach. Therefore He mined the riches of the east, bringing to life the teachings, the paths of the east. Problem was, the east was too rich with spirituality. With so many teachings, so many paths, so many approaches, that the seeker is as likely to find confusion as clarity. To add to His difficulty, it was westerners, not easterners, that were drawn to Him. He faced the daunting task of trying to find a way to dismantle a western ego that as an easterner was entirely foreign to Him. The eastern concepts of surrender, let go, silence, emptiness, nothingness, no one, no there, no goal, no one to attain it; all these are foreign to a western consciousness powerfully programmed to compete, to achieve, to aspire, to be somebody.
He began experimenting early on, and the techniques He was developing for westerners were designed to hammer on the rock that the western ego had become. He realized that the preferred technique of the eastern masters, satsang, wasn’t working with westerners, and He complained at times that He would prefer to just sit in silence with us, but He had to talk just to hold our attention, to prepare us for the day when we could receive the teaching in silence. In order for us to receive, walls had to be torn down, barriers dismantled, hardness softened. The groups, the meditations He devised were all to this end. He was experimenting, exploring, understanding the western ego the only way He could, from the outside, moving inwards towards the center. He was succeeding. The work I encountered in 1981 surpassed and went deeper than anything in America, but He was still exploring, still experimenting, for He hadn’t yet discovered the keys He was seeking.
Then came the move to America, and the end of the greatest, most promising experiment in human transformation that had ever been attempted. What remains is an unfinished work. It is as though He set out to design the perfect car for the world. As though He had the wheels, the chassis, and was in the process of designing the engine when His work was brought to a halt. The result is, that people have bought and are buying the car and wondering why it doesn’t work. Why it doesn’t run smoothly, why it won’t transport them where they want to go. They think they must be doing something wrong. Must be too stupid to understand how to get it going.
It is our job to complete the work, and the work will not be completed unless we are willing to make the necessary changes to the design. To experiment, to be open to the possibility that the Master’s work can only be completed through us, the Master’s vision can only be brought to fulfillment through us. Realizing the Master was constantly experimenting, embracing what worked, discarding what didn’t. I don’t believe that the Master intended for innovation, new ideas, new approaches, to come to an end with His death. I don’t think it a fitting tribute for His teachings to become another dead theology, with dead parrots reciting His words. He wanted awakened beings, He wanted the world to be awash with enlightened masters, each bringing a unique perspective, a unique teaching to a world enveloped in darkness, careening towards catastrophe.
Out of love and respect for the Master, sannyasins seem to be clinging to the techniques developed in the 70’s, almost sanctifying them. Dynamic is an example. Personally, I hated it, though I recognize its value in helping to shatter some of the ego blocks and patterns of the west. For many it is an important and necessary rung on a ladder. But I don’t think it alone will get many people to their goal (and if you are a westerner you need a goal!), and I have the feeling that for some disciples Dynamic has assumed the same role, and has the same effect as Christian flagellation, a spiritual means of self-punishment. I don’t think He ever intended it as a path, but for a Christian consciousness programmed for punishment it could easily become a seductive addiction. The bottom line for me is if a technique works, however bizarre, use it. When it becomes safe, comfortable, familiar, and ceases to work it is best discarded, so the next rung on the ladder can appear.
Sannyas could enjoy a new flowering, the centers could once again become the cutting edge of transformation. Osho could be vindicated, not sanitized, in a wave of enlightenment spreading across the world. It will not occur if sannyas stays stuck in the past, protecting the memory of what was.
What is needed is to take the best of what was developed in Pune1: the groups and meditations designed to break through the ego walls of thought and belief into the world of feeling, and combine it with a simple watching meditation. Once having got in touch with what is being felt, i.e. pain, fear, or anger, then simply add a simple watching meditation to teach people how to detach from the bodily sensation they are feeling, to begin to dissolve the feelings themselves, for they are the source of the ego walls, the ego separation, the ego darkness. To teach them simply to “feel” the veils without any technique to dissolve the veils risks making matters worse, for they will find themselves living life closer to the veils, closer to the pain, fear, and anger. That isn’t a pretty place to be. As though they would find themselves living more and more in the “darkness before the light” without ever enjoying the light. These veils are gates, they are tunnels, and they must be passed through, for what you seek lies on the other side. These veils are the vessels containing the light that you are. The vessels are dirty, encrusted with the filth of lifetimes. Osho, being very fiery, tended to focus on techniques to shatter the vessels. Anurag, being very watery, developed a technique to dissolve the vessels. However you do it, if you are to succeed in your quest, you will have to pass through, shatter, or dissolve the three veils of pain, fear, and anger. For these are the veils that contain and consume your light. The veil of pain imprisons and consumes your love-light. The veil of fear imprisons and consumes your trust-light, and the veil of anger imprisons and consumes your truth-light. But light is an abstraction, you are not an abstraction, you are someone searching, seeking to be liberated. You are a soul longing to be free of pain, you are a spirit struggling to be free of fear, and you are a God struggling to find clarity and truth through a blinding veil of anger. Before you can become nobody, you have to become somebody. In order to become somebody (a unity consciousness), you must uncover and integrate the somebodies that lie hidden within you.
I have presented a path in my book Awakening. It is an instructional manual on how to dissolve the veils and integrate the centers into one, in preparation for the final veil, the goddess, serpent, or mother veil. For an easterner this particular veil would be experienced as the dance of Kali. The particular paradigm I present is what is most familiar to western consciousness; the names I attribute to the centers, soul, spirit, and God, are important not in terms of any absolute truth, but important in terms of the western illusion, and how to get out of it. If I am trying to awaken someone from a coma, I will have a far greater chance of success if I know their name. For their name is linked to the consciousness I am trying to awaken. Names, as we know, have power. Almost everyone who attempts to read the book gets plugged in at the first mention of “God”. The name has power, in this case the name God immediately connects with the God center; someone who perhaps started reading in their soft dreamy soul center, suddenly finds themselves shifting into something hard and judgmental; the God center. I was aware this would occur, and many would be put off. Even people I have worked with encouraged me to use a less inflammatory word, like “father”. To me, the time of soft-peddling, of marketing a path to enlightenment without the inconvenience of suffering, is over. Humanity is on the brink of catastrophe, and anyone who cannot handle the word, the concept of God is probably not ready anyway. Since each center is experiencing a different sleep, with different dreams, each center requires a different message, a different key. Hence the importance of the names, and why I keep repeating them incessantly. I want to get the attention of the part I’m addressing. I want the message for the soul to be received by the soul, for only she will understand it, as only spirit will understand the message, the keys to help him awaken. And of course, the parts about God will only be understood by God. Were I writing for an eastern audience, I would use different names, and would have to alter the keys for an eastern consciousness. This would be a lot of work. I would have to research the trinity in eastern scriptures, as well as try to fathom the nature of the relationships between the three deities, and the kind of structure, or patterning, that would likely grow out of these relationships. And even if I succeeded I would be missing important subtleties that could only be grasped by an eastern, a feminine consciousness. If any Indian should be interested in this path, do the meditation and the centers, or deities, will reveal themselves as the veils dissolve. Hint: Shiva is the same as the father God of the west, Kali is the same as the serpent, or mother Goddess. Who the son and daughter are I do not know. The daughter will be a feminine deity; for the son I would look for an androgynous deity. In the west this center is masculine, in the east my guess would be an androgynous center. But I do not know.
The consciousness of the west is structured, goal oriented. We think in terms of goals, and the steps needed to achieve them. When faced with a problem to solve we need somehow to structure the problem, in order to understand it, to find a way to solve it. To tell a westerner to do nothing to attain the goal of enlightenment to me is simply insane. To tell a westerner to “do” nothing is simply to assure they will go nowhere. There is nothing wrong in having a goal, a desire, for enlightenment. I don’t see how a westerner can get there otherwise. The west is masculine, it is active, it is analytical, it is goal oriented, it is a problem solver. My approach is simple, and very western. You have a goal: enlightenment. You have a problem: the ego. How to systematically solve the problem and reach the goal? Divide the problem into three parts: pain, fear, anger. Divide the goal into three parts: soul, spirit, God. The tool to achieve the goals is already present: awareness. Become aware of the sensations in the physical body associated with the three veils. Detach and watch, neither for, nor against until there is no sensation to watch. The problems dissolve with the veils, the goals are attained, and the rest is automatic. Enlightenment requires work, focus and effort. And if you think you are going to sail into enlightenment without dealing with the suffering already present within, if you think some reiki sessions are going to magically dissolve it for you, then I’ve got a beautiful bridge I’d love to sell you for a song.
I am a simple country bimbo from Maine. If I can do this anyone can. The people I have taught this path to are very ordinary people, I am not aware of any virgin births, nor am I aware of any of them birthing from a lotus flower. They simply did the work, did the meditation, frequently bitching, as travelers are wont to do, and attained the goal. All I want for my fellow travelers, for my brothers and sisters in sannyas, is that they too should arrive home. I suspect that all that separates them from what they have longed for is a series of very uncomfortable sensations in the physical body. The have no meaning, they have nothing to teach, and they are the source of all human misery.
Any sannyasin who has done the work to get in touch with their feelings is adequately prepared to process the veils. Summon your courage, enter the veils “the darkness before the dawn”, watch the sensations, be open to the master’s guidance, and await your deliverance.
Swami Anurag Shantam
Space for sharing
|. .||Dharma Saraswati: RE:The Flowering of Sannyas||Mar 6, 2007|
|. .||Dharma Saraswati: RE:The Flowering of Sannyas||Mar 8, 2007|
|. .||Sandeep: RE:The Flowering of Sannyas||Sep 4, 2007|
|. .||Swami Shantam Anuragi: RE:The Flowering of Sannyas||Sep 12, 2007|
|. .||swami arehant: RE:The Flowering of Sannyas||Sep 19, 2007|
|. .||Hibiscus: RE:The Flowering of Sannyas||Aug 15, 2009|
|. .||Magic Man: RE:The Flowering of Sannyas||Nov 27, 2009|
|. .||nirwanbharati: RE:The Flowering of Sannyas||Jan 2, 2016|
|. .||tarangita: RE:The Flowering of Sannyas||Oct 26, 2016|
|. .||Marc Croteau: RE:The Flowering of Sannyas||Oct 10, 2007|
|. .||Swami Shantam Anuragi: RE:The Flowering of Sannyas||Nov 7, 2007|
|. .||saha: RE:The Flowering of Sannyas||Aug 23, 2009|