Osho Initiates Sarita Into Sannyas

The serendipitous journey, which led me to Osho had many ‘coincidences’ as signposts to help me on my way. Age 13, I met a world renowned artist who said, “Out of all my varied life experiences, I can offer you this one piece of wisdom; go with the flow. Don’t question it, just follow it and go with it.” Following his advice, I hitchhiked overland to India

, and on arrival dived into Vipassana meditation. The night before a month long Vipassana retreat in Mumbai, I bumped into Krishna Prem who invited me to a talk Osho was giving that evening on the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra. The next morning, I found myself in Dynamic Meditation followed by Shaktipat with Osho.

Sarita in Mt Abu camp 1973

Sarita in Mt Abu camp 1973

This meeting affected me so profoundly that Osho’s presence took up all of my inner space as I diligently sat through the month long Goenka Vipassana retreat. When the retreat ended, I went to Mount Abu to participate in Osho’s Samadhi Sadhana Shibeer, which I heard him translate as meaning, ‘Camp for Inner Ecstasy and Enlightenment.’ The night before the camp began, I met Susheela, a fat and jolly American woman with stunning blue eyes. She asked me if I was going to take Sannyas. I answered her that I didn’t know what that meant. She was shocked and replied, “Haven’t you ever read any of Osho’s books?” “No”, I answered. “I didn’t know he had any books.” She said, “Well, before you go to see him tomorrow, you better read at least one of his books!” She gave me ‘I Am the Gate,’ which I devoured in one reading, finally going to bed at two in the morning. I was up at 5:30am for Dynamic, led by Osho. He had a whole row of drummers whose job it was to create an absolutely wild rhythm for us to breathe, cathart and jump to.

Osho in 1973

Osho in 1973 when Sarita took Sannyas

During the lunch break, people could have appointments to see Osho privately. I joined the cue. I was wearing my long hair in many tiny braids, which made upkeep while travelling easy. My comportment and manner of dress revealed arduous years spent on the road, sleeping in ditches, eating what came my way, living in the desperate determination to discover the ‘essence of life.’ When I entered the room, Osho asked very sternly: “Where have you been?” “With Goenka,’ I replied. “”Are you ready for Sannyas?” he queried, looking at me with profound amusement. ”Yes,” I answered, dropping down to kneel at his feet. “Look into my eyes,” he intoned softly.

He then touched my third eye centre and put his mala around my neck. Suddenly, the space I often visited as a child opened up. I was expanding to become as big as the universe, and all of creation was inside me. It was so sudden and so total that both time and mind disappeared, and there was simply eternity. From a long way away, and at the same time, from deep within my heart, I heard him say: “This will be your new name, Ma Ananda Sarita. Ma means Mother of the universe. Ananda means bliss, and Sarita means River, ‘River of Bliss’. If you continue with meditation, you will become this.” He gave me a letter-headed paper upon which he wrote my name and signed. Then he asked, “And where are you going?” I answered, “To the Himalayas.” Come to Bombay”, he said. “It will be good.” I considered this for a moment, and then told him I had to go to Rajasthan to collect a bit of money sent by my parents, and that from there I could return to Bombay. He affirmed this was a good plan. Then, he added very mischievously, eyeing my travel worn garments up and down, “and wear orange!”

Sarita just after Sannyas

Sarita just after Sannyas

I stumbled out into the bright light of the Indian afternoon, newly born,  baptised by his eyes, his touch, his beard, his white flowing clothes, his scent, and his mesmerising presence. Occasionally, in my imagination, I move forward to the time of my death, and from that moment look back over my life to find out what are the important jewel like experiences, which have formed the garland of my life. Invariably, the moment of my initiation into Sannyas stands out as being of paramount importance. That life defining new birth turned my path from unconsciousness and misery, to consciousness and bliss. It is to those few precious moments that my gratitude returns, again and again and again. Those moments remain pristine, fresh, timeless, eternal, untouched by time or by death. I am forever at his feet, in deepest surrender, ready for his guidance, open to his love.

Mahasatvaa Ma Ananda Sarita

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