|Swami Anand Arun, coordinator of Osho Tapoban and a major
influence in the expansion of sannyas in Nepal. Here, Arun explores the
origins of his differences with the management of the Pune Meditation Resort.
Q: Iíve heard that youíve had many conflicts with the Pune (Osho Meditation resort) Management. Could you tell me something about these?
Yes. After Osho left the body, a lot of instructions started coming from Pune, and my heart was not in agreement with those instructions.
The first instruction came that all the camp co-ordinators have to wear a black dress for conducting meditation. I am an old sannyasin and I know Oshoís opinion about colour. Osho has said that the black colour is the colour of sorrow and the colour of black magic, and orange is the colour of the rising sun, the colour of flowers, the colour of fire. When I was a student and sannyas was not started, in 1969, I asked Osho that I have started his meditation, silent meditation, then I asked him that what should I eat, what clothes should I wear? Then he told me that I should eat normal, regular food, because I was doing many austerities before I joined Osho. I was just eating fruit sometimes, I used to fast, sometimes I would just take fruit juice.
And then I asked him what should I wear? Because at that time sannyas had not started, so he was wearing white so we thought we should also wear white. So I asked him what should I wear, what clothes? Osho said that because you are a student and in a college, you must wear very modern dress, normal clothes, because then I was wearing a pyjama-kurta. He said no, in college just wear modern dress, up-to-date good clothes, donít be miserly with your clothes. Then I asked him what colour? And he said, anything except the black colour! You can wear any colour, just donít wear black. So that imprinted on my mind that Osho is against the black colour.
But the instruction came that every camp meditaiton co-ordinator has to wear black, and I could not digest it. I refused. I would never wear a black gown, although I have conducted over 350 meditation camps, and have given initiation to more than 15,000 people. But I have not for a single day worn a black gown, because it does not fit with my psyche. So that was one reason.
Then another instruction came, that you cannot conduct more than a three-day meditation camp. It was instructed that a camp could have only three days, not more than three days. I was conducting (as you have participated in) seven-day meditation camps, and everybody liked the seven-day meditation camps. I have been doing seven-day meditation camps for the last 25 years. So the Pune instruction came that I am no more allowed to do a seven-day camp, I have to restrict my camps to three days, and also in one year I cannot have more than four camps, there should be a gap between camps of three months. So those things I thought were nonsense, because Osho wanted that I should do more camps, and also when I attended Oshoís own camps, his camps used to be seven days. In fact in Mount Abu - 10 days, in Poona also it was 10 days, So when Osho himself had conducted ten-day camps, why would he restrict me to not do three day camps? So those things I could not digest.
There were other instructions, very funny instructions, that sannyas could be given only once in year at one centre, etc. So this looked to me very funny, because in Nepal every month I am giving sannyas, and on average 20 to 30 people are getting initiation every month, and following those instructions means stopping the work. And I didnít feel it is good, so I revolted.
Q: What is your current relationship/status with Poona?
From the very beginning, Osho has made all the centres autonomous and independent. He was very clear that there should not be another Vatican City in the Osho movement. So he was very particular that all centres are autonomous: you have to maintain your own finance, etc., just have a spiritual relationship with Poona, as in the old days also.
The Samdhi At Osho Tapoban, Nepal
However after Osho left the body, they started behaving like the Pope, and they started giving instructions, like the Roman Catholic Church gives to the smaller Churches, so I felt this was against the Osho philosophy. Like I told you, I wanted to make a Samadhi of Osho, but they were against that: No, no Samadhi should be made. When I was going to conduct a camp in the village where Osho was born, (I celebrated his birthday in the same house where he was born, and we purchased that house, because Oshoís grandfather/ grandmother has sold that house for 30 rupees to a medicine shop owner, so they were the owner of the house.) And we sannyasins purchased that house, and we made a camp over there, so it was a big event in Osho history. Some day I will get due respect for that brave act because I travelled from Nepal with 100 people to conduct a camp in a remote Indian village, when even Indian sannyasins had not dared to do that. We were even carrying stoves and utensils to cook food, because you cannot even get anything in that village, there were no facilities, there were no bathrooms, there were no telephones there when I conducted the camp.
So I thought Poona would praise this act because I am doing something which should have been done by Indian sannyasins - it was not my duty to go from Nepal, as other people were living very close by, like in Jabalpur and places like that - they could have done it. But I was asked not to conduct the camp, and Poona wrote a letter to friends, that Arun is a blacklisted sannyasin, he does not agree to our instructions, so anybody who attends his camp, they will also be blacklisted, and he has no authority to give sannyas. (Even today) according the Pune Management, I have no authority to give sannyas, and no authority to conduct camps. They have withdrawn those authorities from me.
But people trust me, they come to my camps, my camps are everywhere overcrowded, and everywhere people take sannyas. I am the one outside Poona who has given sannyas to the maximum number of people, and conducted the maximum number of camps. I conduct a camp every month and sometimes two or three camps a month, and people are coming in spite of the Pune restrictions. So actually, they have made a fool of themselves, because their instruction was not accepted by sannyasins, they didnít accept it, they are still coming to my camps, and my camps are always full, always overcrowded.
I respect Poona, many sannyasins have got enlightened there, many sannyasins have left their body there. There is also the Osho Samadhi there, and there is the Samadhi of Oshoís father. So it is a most holy place for me. I have very much respect for that place, and my honest desire is to visit that place whenever I am permitted to do so. (At the moment Arun is not permitted).
And I love the people who are there, who have lived with Osho, old sannyasins - we have meditated together, we have grown together. I have many friends in Poona and I love them, but somehow with the management, I have not been able to convince them that I am doing the same job which they should have done in the past. It is their duty to promote Oshoís work, so I am doing their job. But I have not been able to convince them. So with the management they are indifferent, they donít encourage me, and Iím not discouraged. (Laughter)
Interview by Sw Anand Dharmen at Osho Tapoban, earlier this year.