Saturday, February 14, 2009

"I am not a Guru", Swami Anand Arun.

"..My main objective is to open centres and communes and inspire people for regular activities so that the work continues even after I leave this body. So that's why I am interested in travelling...."

(Sw Arun was interviewd by Swami Aatmo Neerav on Osho’s Mahaparinirvana day on 19th January 2009 at Osho Tapoban.)

18 years have passed since Osho left his body and much has changed inside, outside and around the sannyas world. The wild dance of his energy, the wisdom in his words and the flight of his movement is reaching many and is taking its pace in acceleration. We sat down and discussed the controversies, the happenings, the poignant moments of this movement of the new man with Swami Anand Arrun, an old disciple. Here are his words.

What is the difference between Nirvana and Mahaparinirvana?

When a person attains nirvana or enlightenment he becomes free but remains in the body due to his past karmas and sanskaras. After a master attains nirvana he works for the world and makes connection with the people before dropping the body or mahaparinirvana. At the same time a part of his energy is also engaged in maintaining the body and body related relationship and work. Before mahaparinirvana, ultimate freedom is not possible because we remain confined or centered with the body. Osho has mentioned that remaining in the body was an imprisonment for him and he sometimes felt suffocated. Once the master drops his physical body his energy becomes totally free and available for a disciple. His consciousness becomes one with the existence and then only he becomes all powerful and universal in true sense. When Osho was in physical body it was a great task for us to reach him, in Rajneeshpuram it was very difficult for the Asian disciples to get the visa and to arrange for the travelling expense. But now you don't have to travel to any specific place to come in contact with him. You just have to close your eyes and remember him with love and trust and he will be available anywhere you pray for his presence. This is the difference.

Its almost two decades since Osho left his body and the work has still continued. Do you see any difference?

Yes there are differences. Superficial people who were connected only with his words and his physical body thought that the movement was over. They started searching for another master and dropped sannyas. When I travel in the west people are surprised when I talk about Osho in present tense. People ask me, "Movement is still alive in Nepal? Do you still wear mala? Do you still have commune? Is sannyas still happening like the old days? We thought it was finished." For those who thought that his physical reality is the only reality, his physical absence has made a difference.

But for us who trust in him and his energy it has become easier to contact him. Before when he was in Pune, I used to visit him three times in a year. But you couldn't go near Osho because of the crowd. In Pune II, darshans or interviews were not possible and we saw him only during the lectures. We could only send him letters. So for us he has come closer after dropping the body. It has become easier for him also. When he was in the body then also he was travelling out of the body to help his disciples but only for a short period because you can't travel out of the body for a long time. A lot of care had to be taken because the temperature of the body should remain the same when you leave and re-enter the body. That's why his room was on air condition between 18-20 degrees centigrade all the time. Before starting sannyas Osho preferred to remain in open air but after sannyas he had to confine himself to air condition. That's why a yogi moves to the Himalayas because the temperature there always remains the same. It's cold there and prevents the body from decaying. So these are esoteric facts which are difficult for general people to understand and spiritually I am not permitted to go in details. But I can tell you that after Osho dropped his body he has become more active, more available and his work has accelerated. So spiritually we have not lost anything.

The leading Osho communes don't seem to be in harmony with each other each claiming that they are doing the right Osho work. What is your view on this?

It is natural. It always happens when the master leaves his body. When Buddha left his body his disciples immediately divided into 36 sects even though Buddha had already declared his successors. But in Osho's case Osho did not declare any succesors. He didn't do that for certain reasons. So there is no central figure and unfortunately the most important ashram, The Pune Ashram (currently known as Osho Meditation Resort) is being managed by efficient resort managers who don’t care about spirituality. They created as much confusion as possible about sannyas, mala or calling yourself ma or swami. They instructed meditation centres not to hang Osho pictures or play Osho songs. So when such instructions came from the "headquarters" it created much confusion around the world. A lot of Osho disciples dropped sannyas and went to other masters and most of the centres got closed in the West. The remaining centre leaders and therapists also started giving their own instructions. Therapists started claiming themselves as enlightened and real Osho succesors and started inventing their own therapies which were not even approved by Osho. In India also a new sect Osho Dhara came up and other centre leaders also started giving their interpretations. When there is no guidance, no central figure to give you guidelines this happens. This is natural and I am not surprised.

Recently the American court made a decision against the Osho International Foundation suspending their hold over the word Osho as their business trademark. Please comment.

This is a rather late decision. It should have come much earlier. Because of the confusion created by the management of Pune resort, uselessly for ten years sannyasins had to fight a court case. Pune resort also spent a lot of money to protect their trademark and Sw. Atul and sannyasins also spent a lot of energy and money to make Osho free. So a lot of money and energy was wasted in something which was useless. Right hand had to fight with the Left hand and the energy which could have been put into Osho work was wasted in fighting. It was a nonsense decision to create Osho as a business trademark and have copyright over it. But thank god that truth and justice has prevailed and Osho is free from this trademark. All over the world people are happy except for a few managers who want to make a business out of Osho. This is a good decision.

There are a few controversies attached with your name. One is that you claim that you are enlightened.

I am only a seeker on the path and I am honored to be his disciple. And I don’t need any other adjective other than that. I have never claimed that I am enlightened. In 1984 Osho declared few people as enlightened, Bodhisattvas and Mahasattvas. My name was also declared as a Bodhisattva and Acharya he said that all his Boddhisattvas will become enlightened in this life and they will not have to take another life. And I am one of the oldest centre leader. So I have all the ingredients to declare myself enlightened. But I have never said that I am enlightened. People are with me since a long time and nobody can quote me say that anywhere. I am against anybody who's making this claim because I know many of my friends who have declared themselves enlightened have done it because of some inferiority/superiority complex or because of impatience. They cannot wait. All of us will become enlightened, we are on the path and I can wait. And when the journey is so beautiful what is the need to claim that I have achieved to the goal. So these people who are making this allegation on me, maybe they think that I am enlightened.

Are you a self-proclaimed guru?

I have seen Osho go through so much torture just because he was trying to help people. The first thing is that after he started giving sannyas his health deteriorated and he had to be confined to his air conditioned room all the time. He was criticized all over the world because he declared himself a master or Bhagwaan. He was not only tortured in America but many parts of the world because he wanted to help this dying humanity. If he had lived by himself, he could have lived a very comfortable life for a century just from the royalty from his books. But he suffered because he wanted to help this humanity which is MAD, SICK, which doesn't understand compassion and always misbehaves with the masters. Anytime any master is born in any part of the world, this humanity will always crucify him whether it is Socrates, Jesus, Rajneesh or Mansoor. It could not even tolerate a simple and honest man like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. who were murdered simply for telling the truth and didn’t even claim themselves enlightened. So I have seen how this world behaves with a real guru. And the torture I have seen Osho go through in American jails, in Indian media, it is horrible. Still people are devaluating Osho and they haven't been honest with him. In India, anybody who writes two or three popular books or serves the Indian language gets a lot of respect; he gets Padmashree, Padmabhusan or Gyan Pith Puraskar. Osho has given about 300 classical books in Hindi and 400 classical books in English that havev been translated in all major languages and are bestsellers and yet he was not duly recognized even as an author. He has designed 300 beautiful techniques of meditation for this sick society, do you see anybody giving him thanks? I have seen how this cruel society, how his own disciples have misbehaved and tortured my master and are still damaging his work. So looking at the whole drama only an idiot will try to become a guru and I am not an idiot. I will be the last person to become a guru.

Why are you so much interested in the media?

Yes, it has some truth in it. Through media I have made Osho popular in Nepal. I have used the media. I have regularly spoken on television, given interviews on radio, published books, written articles in newspapers and magazines. I have worked hard otherwise how I could reach all the people in Nepal and I have no power, no personal radio station or newspaper. It is a torture to write articles spending hours sacrificing your meditation time. It is a torture to face mundane questions of journalists. But that is how I have made Osho popular in Nepal by using the media. Osho started sannyas in 1970 and in 77 his words had reached all parts of the world. This happened because of the power of media. So I have learnt from my master. Because of active support of the media we have over 50000 sannyasins in Nepal, 4 active communes and four upcoming communes and seventy active meditation centres.

Why are you always surrounded by the crowd?

Living in a crowd for a meditator is a torture. You lose your inner balance and your energy in the crowd. I am not a politician and I don't need any vote from the crowd. Being in the crowd is a torture for me but I am in the crowd because I can help people. How many people can I meet in a day if I meet them individually? If I want to share Osho I have to remain in the crowd as long as my body permits me. But it is becoming difficult every day. It is not a pleasure for me to be in public, it is a torture but sometimes you have to go through it.

It seems that you like foreigners otherwise why do you travel so much.

There are no foreigners for me. I believe in universal family and in universal brotherhood. We all belong to the same planet and this term is not applicable for us. It is applicable only for politicians who keep the world divided. And Osho has instructed me to take his message to different parts of the world. Unfortunately in the west there are not many leaders who are conducting meditation camps. They are only doing therapies. In the west it is difficult to find people interested in expanding Osho's message, opening centres or spreading sannyas. Our meditations are group meditations and our work is school work and without centres and communes the work will not have roots and spiritual growth is difficult. So looking at this I started travelling in the west conducting meditation camps and opening centres. My main objective is to open centres and communes and inspire people for regular activities so that the work continues even after I leave this body. So that's why I am interested in travelling.

People claim that you are only interested in the rich and executive.

Although I have been trying to, unfortunately I have not been able to reach the rich people otherwise we would have had a lot of centres and communes in the West. Those who come to my camps are young professionals and young professionals don't have much money. Business men have money. Politicians have money. Those who come to my camp are rich in soul, they are rich in consciousness, and they are rich in understanding. But if I meet people who are rich in pocket I'll be happier.

Osho devoted his whole life for the new man and you have already given four decades of your life. Has it been worthwhile? Do you see that light of hope?

Yes, I see that light of hope. You are young and I see a lot of hope in you that's why you are here asking me these beautiful questions. Although my beard and my hair are getting white all my friends are young. And I see much hope in young people. For instance when I was in Canada I met Amrito who is of your age. I inspired him for Osho's work and now he is full of spirit. He's working hard running a centre, conducting meditation camps and when somebody writes against Osho, me or Tapoban on any media he is the first one to respond. So the new man will come and we have to wait because it is not like a seasonal flower. People have to be free from their old conditionings and mature in meditation and understanding, it takes time. Osho worked so hard for 39 years. When I first met Osho I was one of the most miserable person. He gave me the hope to live. If I had not met him I would have died a miserable death much earlier. But he helped an ordinary miserable person like me and today I see myself as one of the happiest person on Earth. I see hope because if my life can change a lot of other people around the world can also change. And I have seen it happening. Whenever I go back to cities where I have taken camps and initiated people into sannyas, I see that they have become happier, wealthier, and are more loving. I know I can't change the whole world but if I can change even a person like you my job is done. He will make the other mad person like me and the chain will continue. People are changing and it takes time.

Please share with us one of your most memorable moment spent with Osho.

There are many but I can tell you one. When Osho was in Manali after Rajneeshpuram he stayed there for one and a half months and I was there with him. There were only 18-20 disciples. Every morning at 9 o' clock he used to walk near the Vyas River and sit in silence watching the Himalayas and the river for an hour. Sometimes he used to call somebody to sit with him in meditation or talk intimately with him. He called me on the very first day I arrived and I was the first person who was given this privilege. He was sitting on a wooden bench and I was sitting on the sand near his feet and I was free to ask him any question. Just sitting in his presence was a blessing and I can't describe it to you in words. I can't create that milieu. You are immediately transported to some other plane whenever you are in his presence. So a few times he called me and I was with him for an hour. Those were the golden moments of my life. No river can be compared with the beauty of a Himalayan river and no mountain can be compared with the energy of the Himalayas. So amidst this beauty I was sitting with Osho, something I had not even dreamt of. I asked him many personal questions because it was just two of us. I asked him one question which I would like to share with you.

It had just been two days after he had come back from Rajneeshpuram where he had access to all the luxuries in the world including his palatial bedroom, bathroom, and his 99 Rolls Royces. And now here he was in Manali living in a small room which was around 12sqmtr. His bathroom had a geyser but there was not enough power to heat the water. He had come from the airport in an old ambassador car and you know how dirty Indian taxies are. But he had no complaint and he was not missing anything. I missed Rajneeshpuram and I was sad and everybody else was sad except for Osho. He was damn happy in the Himalayas. So I asked him, "Osho don't you miss anything?" and he replied, "Why should I miss anything? You look the mountains are so beautiful and see that cloud over there. Do you have this type of cloud in Nepal? Oh I love the Himalayas and I had always dreamt to come here and finally the existence brought me here. I am so happy in Manali." That was his statement.

I said to Osho that when I was in Pune I had purchased a second hand bicycle in 40 Rupees and somebody stole it. It was my entire saving and after that I couldn't even afford to take a rickshaw. I missed the bicycle for a long time. I asked Osho, "You had 99 Rolls Royces, don't you miss the cars?" Bhagwan said, "No, I don't miss them because I had never thought that they were mine. They were toys and I played with them. The play is over. You miss your bicycle because you thought they were yours. I never thought that the cars belonged to me. I was not attached with them but you were attached with that old bicycle. That is the difference and this is the lesson that I want to give to you. Don't get attached with anything but enjoy everything that life gives to you. And in that way you will always remain free." That was his message.