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No ego, no I - a former sanyasin

"First thing: we live with the ego, centered in the ego.
'I' am without knowing who I am. I go on announcing 'I am'.
And unless I know who I am, how can I say 'I'?
This 'I' is a false 'I', is the ego; this is the defence.
This protects you from surrendering. You cannot surrender, but you can be aware of it, it dissolves. By and by, you are not strengthening it, and one day you come to feel, 'I am not'. The moment you come to feel 'I am not', surrender happens."
Note: The book of Secrets 1976 p. 42.

"A new birth has taken place. You have become one with the Cosmos.
Now you do not have any center, you cannot say 'I'.
Now there is no ego. A Buddha, a Krishna, they go on talking and using the word 'I'. That is simply formal; they do not have any ego. They are NOT."
Note: The Book of Secrets 1976 p. 337.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

is "a living master", a guru living in Poona, India; a guru pulling his disciples towards him, creating situations for them, giving them the opportunity to die - this is the meaning of all Bhagwan's teaching, of all meditations and therapy-groups in the ashram: to die and to be reborn. "Until you die, nothing is possible"! Bhagwan says, because only when your ego and your mind are dead, only when you surrender, something can be given to you. "Something" means enlightenment, empty-ness, life. However, away from Poona, it becomes obvious to me that Bhagwan himself has not yet died to his ego - as he wants his disciples to do.

The ashram

is a convent, a temple, a therapy - the whole ashram-life is a therapy, not only the groups; every moment you are pulled and pushed, towards something you don't know, towards the unknown, the divine - and towards Bhagwan. Each day you come nearer and nearer to him - and each day you become more and more dependent on him. Life in ashram is extremely intensive; changing, moving, growing - a week seems like a month, a month like a year.

I stayed in Poona five months altogether and did in this time six therapy-groups. But, as I mentioned, not only the groups are a therapy, but the whole being in Poona. However, I will in this report only describe the groups.

Intensive Enlightenment

This group uses a Zen-technique; meditation on the question "who am I". The group is three days and nights long and happens in total silence and isolation. One is not allowed to contact anybody, neither body- nor verbal contact. The program: 6.00- 7.00: dynamic meditation
7.00- 9.30: sessions
9.30-10.00: breakfast
10.00-11.30: sessions
11.30-12.00: walk
12.00-13.00: sessions
13.00-15.00: lunch, wash, sleep
15.00-16.00: sessions
16.00-16.30: walk       16.30-17.30: session
17.30-18.30: kundalini meditation
18.30-19.30: session
19.30-20.00: supper
20.00-21.00: silent meditation
21.00-22.00: session
22.00-22.30: bodyexercises/movements
22.30-23.30: session


The sessions: you sit across from a group of people, on a one-to-one basis, and rotating at five-minute intervals, for periods of one hour each, asking each other, "Tell me who you are". This is not a conversation, it is just yourself talking about who you are; your partner must not react, not answer if you ask him something, not show any emotion in any way. You must face yourself, all your thoughts, feelings, fears, all alone - and you start to see how unimportant you are, how little all this that your are talking about does matter. My own experience was that I on the third day started to cry and vomit; I couldn't face myself any more, I got sick - the groupleader then told me to sit down in front of a mirror and look at myself. Vomiting and crying I then experienced myself as a nothing, I could see through myself, see what was behind; something much greater, lighter, purer than I, my ego, ever could be, something which was divine. It was like throwing everything out of myself, psychologically as well as physically, and reaching the pure center of emptiness - enlightenment.


is an easy, funny group and lasts for seven days (not nights). The program for this group and also for the following groups is:10.30-12.00: session
12.00-12.30: walk
15.00-17.30: session   
17.30-18.30: kundalini meditation
19.30-21.30: session


During all those seven days you talk about yourself in third person - this "to be at a greater distance from yourself". The "sessions" are rather funny with games and exercises - though most of them demand a total concentration. One exercise is for example to repeat a very difficult rhythm of absolutely senseless words - you do this in couples, walking around in the Mahatma Gandhi Road in Poona; the meaning of this is to empty your mind, which in fact worked very well, personally I lost all sense of time and space and we walked around for not one hour (as we were meant to) but two, and afterwards we couldn't find the way home.

The Mysterium Group

is an experience of traditionally oriental meditations, yoga, singing of mantras etc. The group lasts for three days and has about the same program as Centering. The sessions consist of mostly silent meditations - not much is to say about this group; it turned my mind into an eastern way of thinking and I realized reincarnation as a fact - but I think that has more to do with the time with the group.

The Massage Group

is a very soft and easy group, where we were taught how to give and receive massage - though there is no actual teaching, more an unstructured learning from everybody and from yourself; a dealing with energy. The group lasts for three or four days.

Surrender - accept - transcend

"Only those are accepted who surrender, only those are accepted who are utterly committed, who have fallen in love with me, who can trust, and whose trust is unconditional and absolute - they are accepted."

Note: Rajneesh Foundation Newsletter April 1979.

"Accept: When everything is accepted, suddenly you will feel that you have transcended", Bhagwan says, and this is very important in both the Urja-group and the Tantra-group. Accept, say yes - surrender, transcend. The "no" is of the mind, the mind of the ego - and the ego has to be killed.

The Urja Group

lasts for five days and is a typical "let go"-group. Let go, let happen, say yes; yes to life, to existence, to Bhagwan. The group is totally unstructured, you can do whatsoever you like; as Bhagwan says: "My discipline is very easy. My discipline is: do whatsoever you like - but do it with self-remembering; remember yourself that you are doing it". "Once you remember yourself, the light is there and the whole past disappears immediately; not for a single moment can it stay there" - and this is the meaning of the group: say yes into the moment, live from moment to moment, with no past and no future; just be. To be able to do this, the groupleader worked especially with our big "no's" - the big "no" in everybody, that part of us which rejects and refuses - go into your no, be it, go through it - and when nothing more is there, no resistance is there, then you can say yes, accept...

The Tantra Group

The meaning of the tantra-group is to go totally into your sexual energy, to live it out, to be it, to be just sexual, without personality, without your ego interfering, without

your mind moralizing. "Morality is a false coin, it deceives people, it is not religion at all. Religion has nothing to do with morality - because religion has nothing to do with darkness. It is a positive effort to awaken you. It does not bother with your character; what you do is meaningless and you cannot change it. You may decorate it, but you cannot change it..." And tantra has nothing to do with your personality - you shall be able to make love to any man or woman, just for the joy of it, independent on personal feelings - give in to any man or woman, give in to life, give in to Bhagwan. Then first you cannot only make love, but be love - your sexual energy will become spiritual energy; first when you have accepted you can transcend. This is very typical Bhagwan-teaching: to go into everything, whatever it is, good or bad, right or wrong, to surrender to it, and then you can go beyond it,transcend. Bhagwan says:

"A man of real understanding is neither good nor bad, he understands both. And in that very understanding he transcends both ..

If you are both together, good and bad, you are neither - because they annihilate each other, negate each other, and a void is left.

This concept is very difficult for the Western mind to understand, because the Western mind has divided God and Devil absolutely. Whatsoever is bad belongs to the Devil and whatsoever is good belongs to God. their territories are demarked, Hell and Heaven are set apart..."

"For tantra God and the Devil are not two, Really for tantra there is nothing that can be called "Devil"; everything is Divine, everything is holy... Either the world is holy totally, unconditionally, or it is unholy. there is no middle path. Tantra says everything is holy; that is why we cannot understand it. It is the deepest non-dual standpoint, if we can call it a standpoint."

It is hard to die

It should be clear to anybody who goes to Poona or becomes involved with Bhagwan that you are going into sornething quite different to what you expect - you are not going to "find yourself", solve your problems, or anything in that direction; you cannot go to Poona as a therapy and then come back to the West as a "better" person. In fact, once you have entered the spiritual world of meditation, it is impossible to come back. Meditation has no use, you can't use meditation as a medicine (as in for example TM). Meditation is the goal, the true celebration of existence, and it doesn't fit into society. It is not meant to fit into society, meditation always was outside, above the materialistic world. If you want to live in society, Bhagwan is the wrong guru for you; Maharishi would be better. Bhagwan is asocial - he allows everything, he takes you into something, somewhere, where you loose yourself and your grasp of the outside reality.

This is the problem. It is very hard, almost impossible, for a western person to drop his ego, his personality, his grasp of the outside world. For myself, after a few months in Poona, this "killing my ego" became a regular struggle - a struggle between my old "I", my sensible, thinking personality, and my new, not-thinking, floating "being". I was living in an inner ecstasy where the surroundings didn't matter, where I had no will left of my own (or rather a very confused will); I was floating in a river of happenings - on the other side was my mind always interfering, my mind which I couldn't kill but which was separated from me. I didn't think, my mind thought; I didn't do, my mind and my body did, I remained a non-doer. Bhagwan says, "whatever you do, remain a non-doer"; be, don't act. I think now that this split can be very dangerous for the western man or woman, who is brought up to think and act it is hard to die to the ego, and if you are not very careful, it can end with disaster instead of enlightenment.