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Things Fall Apart, The Centre Cannot Hold

1. Decline and fall of organised Sannyas

Firstly, Poona’s had it. By most people’s book the regime there has long been questionable and the split between Indian and foreign sannyasins seems to have finally broken the back of the Koregaon Park commune. Moreover the increasingly inflamed political crisis of everywhere east of Instanbul can only mean that less and less people will be travelling to India.

2. Failure of Western Sannyas Organisations

Whatever’s happening to sannyas in India may remain a mystery – but the network of centres and communes in the West is unequivocally in chronic dis-array. The eclipse, even if it be only temporary, of group-based psychotherapy has robbed organised sannyas of both its economy and its cutting edge; and the White Robe Brotherhood has failed to provide the central sacramental role vital to an alive community. Many even welcome this, yet there is always that nagging doubt, especially to those who experienced the full blown energy of Osho’s Buddhafield, that much is missed by this fragmentation. Osho’s previously ‘mainline’ publisher, “Element” has gone bankrupt and his books, to the best of our knowledge, are available in precisely two London bookshops. What centres still remain are more notable for a dogged loyalty than any original creative response. Further the recent work of the (ex) sannyasins Mikaire, Nadeen, Tony Parsons, Maitreya, Dolano, etc., (though creating their own successful energyfields) have not seemed to renew sannyas, which seemed to be their early promise. 

3. Clinging to the Wreckage

Where does this leave anyone for whom Osho’s ‘vision’ remains, in its essen-tials, the most heartfelt, intelligent response to life today? With a purely ‘personal’ relationship with Osho? With a shaky sannyasin old school net-work? Even the vital organisational bits, Osho Leela in the UK say, would seem arguably more influenced by Reich and Veeresh than by Osho… Yet this process of fragmentation and isolation seems insane: how can it be that so many people who are basically on the same wave-length, and have been through so much together, somehow fight shy of being part of a viable net-work of any sort at all? Why is this?

4. A Cultural Wasteland dominated by Our Price and Blockbuster

Paradoxically this doesn’t look quite so bad if you put it in its wider context. Internationally the wave of advaita, of the satsang movement as a whole, has collapsed; and in fact there doesn’t seem to be any counter-cultural movement with even a semblance of life to it. Nor for that matter, in the face of the crudest neo-Nazi politics from America, any substantial political dissent. We are living in a society dumbed-down beyond belief – a spiritual waste-land dominated by Our Price and Blockbuster.

5. A New Fourth Way?

What are we left with? At the end of his life Osho said that when he was gone he would be dissolved in all his sannyasins, and wherever people would meet them, there he would also be. Is it in this more subtle individual way that his vision remains imperishable? Or, alternatively, if organisational sannyas can no longer exist as an independant movement could it exist as a force entering the general counter-culture and acting as a catalyst? The movements sparked off by Gurdjieff, by Krishnamurti, by Adi Da, by Scientology, by neo-Buddhism, and more recently by neo-shamanism are all in basically the same parlous condition as sannyas. Could all the ‘cults’ enter into a real dialogue with one another and forge something new? Whatever happens to sannyas per se it seems unlikely that any future movement aimed at human freedom won’t reproduce many of its chief features. How could such a dialogue start?

6. Or Truly ‘Homeless Wanderers’ at last?

Or is it that Osho’s influence will be essentially dispersed and individual, like that of a Nietzsche or a Gurdjieff or a Reich? Yeats’ famous poem continues:

Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold,
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world…

In many ways quite a positive statement… Finally pushed beyond the pale of any organisation are we just to become freewheeling visionaries in our own right? In ancient India sannyas was traditionally the last stage of life – you became a sort of Ancient Mariner wandering the pilgrim trails till you dropped. Was this Osho’s last joke… that we were finally to have no more of a spiritual ‘home’ than a material one? Was this the, er, plan?

7. Invitation

It seems to us there are an awful lot of us scattered round out here, facing these and related issues. Sannyasnews would be most interested to receive and print any contributions to this subject.

Sannyasnews Team