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 A Sannyas Lineage?

Last September long-time Indian sannyasin Chaitanya Bharti sent out an invitation to all 'awakened' sannyasins to attend a meditation camp cum conference in Panchgani. Chaitanya Bharti's email gave a list of the 'awakened' sannyasins who had been invited:

"INVITEES FROM ABROAD: Swami Shanti Kristian, Ma Anant Shanti, Ma Rani, Ma Taro, Ma Dalano, Swami Vasant Swaha, Jaqueline Longstaff, Swami Rahasya, Swami Devadas, Swami Teohar, Swami Ishwara Maitreya, Swami Aziz, Samarpan, Vistar Andresen, Swami Ravindra, Ma Sudira, Ma Samarpan Pyar and Sw. Anamo (Mikaire)

"INVITEES FROM INDIA: Ma Anand Madhu, Swami Brahma Vedant, Swami Anand Kiran (Kiranbhai), Swami Yog Teerth, Swami Poornanand, Swami Anand Samdarshi, Swami Shailendra Saraswati, Swami Anand Siddharth, Swami Ram Chaitanya, Swami Sadashiv Bharti, Swami Yog Chinmaya, Swami Narendra Bodhisattva and Swami Anand Arun."

Personally I had no idea there were meant to be so many enlightened sannyasins. That's thirty-one people; perhaps you could question whether some of them are 'fully' enlightened, but maybe that doesn't matter all that much. Thirty-one is still a lot of people to whom something very major has happened.

Say this many sannyasins were enlightened… what then?

Well, firstly, the Poona ashram would be very largely outflanked. Whatever its role in the future might be, it would no longer have any particular spiritual authority… Prompting one to wonder, could it be that the apparently grotesque rule that enlightened people are not allowed in the ashram did spring directly from Osho? Could it have a very different significance from the one normally ascribed to it? Perhaps the whole point of not allowing any enlightened sannyasins into the ashram was to force them to move away from Poona and start teaching elsewhere. Perhaps precisely what Osho wanted to do was to cut the ashram off from its roots in the living sannyas which alone could sustain it: in fact, to undermine, to sabotage the attempt to set Poona up as a Church which he knew would follow his death.

Be that as it may- banned from the ashram, what would they do, these enlightened sannyasins? Chaitanya Bharti's original email invited them "to sit together, laugh together, dance together… to have a celebration even Osho would enjoy!" Mmm. I get the idea the height of the merriment was to be CB whipping out a wax model of the Inner Circle and everyone sticking pins in it. (A prospect the enlightened wisely declined).

So what would have been on the agenda at Panchgani? What might they have discussed? Well, one of the things they might have tried to explore was the group nature of their awakening: its roots in sannyas, in a common matrix: its chain reaction quality… Or did Chaitanya merely expect them to say hi to one another, and go their separate ways, each developing his or her own personal teaching work- geared, along traditional lines, to the production of two or three enlightened disciples?

Personally speaking, I'd say such individual apotheoses are looking increasingly limp. In fact I'd say the whole satsang movement, insofar as it is predicated on producing them, is coming apart. And one of the most glaring cracks running through it is the inability of any of these teachers to relate to one another. On the one hand they're all saying exactly the same thing- and on the other, God help us, they all seem plain competitive. And this is closely related to the lack of any real vision which is equally characteristic of satsang as it disintegrates.

Would sannyasins, as the creatures of a single Buddhafield, be better equipped to… to act in concert? To start to create something on a much broader, more vital basis? What would that mean? Would it mean, for instance, dropping this exclusive, I repeat exclusive, concern with personal awakening? Perhaps if we really want to go beyond the confines of the separate self then the thing would be to relate to the whole, do everything we can for the good of that whole and simply forget about ourselves. Isn't all this concern with individual enlightenment just the same old self-obsession? It seems to me that the whole concept of enlightenment could do with a rest. Satsang has seen it debased to the point of becoming meaningless- if not downright tawdry… Perhaps these are some of the issues which, had the enlightened 31 sannyasins gone to Panchgani, they might have discussed.