The Story of the twelfth century court poet Hakim Sanai begins like a political thriller. He is moving with the Sultan of Persia and his military forces on an expedition to conquer India. But as they pass a certain walled garden they come across a drunken singer, who is really a Sufi mystic, an enlightened man named Lai-Khur. Sanai is transformed, enlightened by this chance encounter. He leaves the king to his meaningless war games and goes off alone to absorb what has happened to him. From this process comes a book of poems, the Hadiqa, The Walled garden of Truth.
Osho’s own books are transcribed from his spoken words. This is the first of a two volume series on Sanai’s Hadiqa, about which he observes, ‘ Such books are not written, they are born. These words are saturated with satori.
Nine centuries later, the revered modern – day poet, Coleman Barks, writes the introduction to Osho’s Book. In so doing, he weaves the political thriller of today, involving the same configuration: a poet, a mad government plan and an enlightened man. And he gifts us with a new translation of a startling and beautiful poem by Sanai.
Osho defies categorisation, reflecting everything from the individual quest for meaning to the most urgent social and political issues facing society today. His books are not written but are transcribed from recordings of extemporaneous talks given over a period of thirty-five years. As Osho explains about his talking, 'My speaking is for the first time being used as a strategy to create silence in you.' 'This is not a teaching, a doctrine, a creed: he says, and points out that, 'it will take time for the world to recognise that a tremendously different experiment was going on.'
Osho has been described by The Sunday Times in London as one of the '1000 Makers of the 20th Century' and by Sunday Mid-Day in India as one of the ten people-along with Gandhi, Nehru and Buddha-who have changed the destiny of India.
Osho has a stated aim of helping to create the conditions for the birth of a new kind of human being, characterised as Zorba the Buddha-one whose feet are firmly on the ground, yet whose hands can touch the stars. Running like a thread through all aspects of Osho's work and life is a vision that encompasses both the timeless wisdom of the East and the highest potential of western science and technology.
'Osho' is synonymous with a revolutionary contribution to the science of inner transformation and an approach to meditation which specifically addresses the accelerated pace of contemporary life. The unique OSHO~ Active Meditations™ are designed to allow the release of accumulated stress in the body and mind, so that it is easier to be still and experience the thought-free state of meditation.
A Toast for Hakim Sanai
Sanai's tone is distinct from Rumi's, tougher. There's a challenging feel to the poetry. He awakens more by accusation than by gentle guidance. The quality of his teacher, Lai-Khur, comes through. All we know of Lai-Khur is a toast he once proposed; two toasts actually. Hakim Sanai was attached to the court of the King of Ghazna in the Persian empire of the mid-twelfth century. The king was setting out on a pointless military expedition to India. Sanai went along to write the conventional laudatory record. That's what a court poet did. He wrote poems in praise of his patron, PR for the reigning regime. The expedition was riding by a walled garden from behind which came beautiful music and singing. They looked over the wall. It was Lai-Khur. He stood and proposed a toast, 'To the blindness of the King!'
'What do you mean?'
'Bahramshah is going on this ridiculous expedition to India when he is needed here at home, and besides, what he is looking for is in himself.'
Lai-Khur then proposed another toast. 'To the even greater blindness of Hakim Sanai!'
'Please explain: said Sanai looking into the luminous eyes of the Sufi master.
'You are unaware of the purpose of your life. You will come into God's presence with these silly poems commending various political stupidities.'
Sanai immediately felt the truth of Lai-Khur.
He left the service of Bahramshah and went on a pilgrimage. The king desperately tried to lure him back, offering his daughter's hand in marriage and half the wealth of the kingdom! But Sanai was unshakeable in his new state. This profoundly disturbed the king, because obviously, he had been given the same darshan from Lai-Khur but was unable to make any change in his life. The invasion of India continued as planned.
Sanai came back from his pilgrimage with the text of the Hadiqa, The Walled Garden of Truth. We can feel in it the lightning which struck and galvanised the court poet into the soul-work of his being.
The two volumes of morning talks given by Osho to his community in Pune, India, contain brilliant commentary on various passages from Sanai's Hadiqa, using David Pendlebury's 1974 English translation. Osho approaches the Sufi master from the inside out; that is, he speaks of Sanai's beauty and wisdom from within his own enlightenment. This is not literary explication. It is more like a friend speaking of a friend. Osho uses Sanai's text as a kind of grace, an attunement through which he conveys his own intelligence, his openness of being. A great range of subjects come up, from the crux of this moment in history, twenty-five centuries after the Buddha's enlightenment, to whether it is more difficult for a man or a woman to decide to take sannyas (the ultimate commitment to a teacher).
I did not take sannyas with Osho. When I visited the commune in Pune in October of 1988, I already had a deep connection with a teacher, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. I have told that story in some detail in other places (see p. 140 of Rumi: The Book of Love). One moment, though, that I haven't included yet in any account-I just recently remembered it-is this: Bawa said to me that sometimes one has a mirror to see the front and a mirror behind to see the back. Two reflections are needed to see both sides, implying that I might meet two teachers. Bawa told me to do the Rumi work in 1978 ('It must be done. ') Osho said in 1988, 'This is beautiful poetry. It has to be because it is coming from Rumi's love, but you must watch out for it. Professor Coleman, for you, it can become ecstatic self-hypnosis.' He nailed me with that and I am grateful for the guidance and insight from both masters. I am still trying to assimilate the wisdom. I may be the 'only person to have had both Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and Osho as teachers. They were very different, but in one matter they were similar. Neither wanted 'followers.' That's not what I was, or am. I just need, and accept, all the help I can get.
The Big Picture
John Keats is right. This is a vale of soulmaking. Some planetary collective awareness is continually building, along with the tribal, personal, familial, national and neighbourhood consciousnesses. They trickle, pour, drip-drop, and thunder down through each other, altering the consistency and intensity of who we are and what we know and feel. Soul is the usual hapless word we throw at the process.
In the 1950s I took college courses in intellectual history. They were very fine, taught by the eccentric James Hall in the History Department at Chapel Hill. But they feel inadequate to the truth of the matter now. All that talk of -isms-Marxism, Romanticism, Darwinism, and no talk at all of the mystics and the artists. The geniuses of William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Whitman, Melville, Oscar Wilde, Hopkins and Nietzsche surely shaped the nineteenth century as it came toward and became us in the twentieth, and now in the twenty-first. Only Wilde and Whitman of all those, were recognised in their times as having creative value. I contend that Osho will come to be seen as such a germane, yeasty, presence in our soul fermentation. Freud, Jung, tenderness of James Wright, the bleak cultural surgery of Robert Bly, many elements will come forward as we look back. Osho will be one of them. The history of soul-makers is our most significant history. They are the moving indices of how we say our truth. That's why it's important to examine the circumstances leading to Oshos death in 1990.
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
These are times that try men’s souls, say Thomas Paine in one of his firebrand pamphlets that shaped our democracy, such as it is. The times are still wearing down our souls, and it feels more like we have government of multinational corporations, by vested interests, and for the many secret agencies. The people are out in the street, but not much in the picture. The media barely covers the war protests, for example. But I saw a movie recently that gives me some hope, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. It's Chuck Barris' story and I take it as a thinly disguised documentary, a true account of how the CIA hired him to kill thirty-three people during the Cold War.
What emerges in the film is a new American type that may not yet have a name. Part Melville's confidence man, part Cormac McCarthy's judge in Blood Meridian. Barris appears as himself at the end of this movie he directed, still alive and looking wise enough to show us this ugly truth.
There have been other movies about spook-hitmen, but this one has the raw provocation of Thomas Paine. Our tax dollars paid a gameshow host, to kill thirty-three people for various anti-communist reasons (I guess). How many others are there like Chuck Barris? Twenty? Thousands? Can The History of American Secret Agencies, Vols. 7 - 72, ever be written? It's hopelessly naive to even ask for that. Who determines who will be killed next and why? We may never know. This movie opens the issue to let us get a good look.
I say, a democracy must not run permanently secret operations, or it will become something other than a democracy. There must be a way to have secure missions in wartime, during criminal investigations, stings, terrorist surveillance, etc. There are certainly many valid reasons for government not to say all that it's doing, but at some point there has got to be a way of knowing exactly what we've done, who did what, and how the chain of command went. Either we have an elected chief calling these shots, or some appointed underling is authorising murders by whim.
In a world awash with religious conflict, to describe man's relationship to God as a great love affair may seem improbable. Yet that is the Sufi approach to life. Man's inner being is seen as the lover, or the friend. Hakim Sanai, in Hadiqatu'l Haqiqat, The Walled Garden of Truth, tells us: "The way is not far from you to the friend; you yourself are that way: so set out along it."
Sanai, a twelfth century Persian poet, was transformed by a chance meeting with -a Sufi mystic, while travelling with the Sultan of Persia and his army. He leaves the king and sets off alone to absorb what has happened to him, and his collection of poems comes out of that experience.
Speaking on Sanai's verses, Osho offers the aerial viewpoint of a modern mystic. This blueprint for cutting the roots of the destructive mind of man is a very personal message. He does not address society in general, but speaks directly to each one of us, inviting every human being to look to his own inner world. Through losing oneself to love, and experiencing that you are perfect just as you are, life takes on a new colour, a new dance; it becomes a song, a celebration.
There are as many doors to God as there are people. All that is needed is, whatsoever you are doing, get lost in it; be so totally one with it that nothing is left behind. In that very moment, God is. God is unio mystica, the mystic union.
Every few thousand years an individual appears who irrevocably changes the world around him in ways that are never immediately apparent, except to the most perceptive.
Osho is one such individual: His spoken words will resonate for centuries to come.
All those words have been recorded and transcribed into books like this one; written words that can carry a transforming message to the reader.
For Osho, all change is individual. There is no 'society' to change-it can only happen to each one of us, one at a time. So, no matter what the subject matter of the book, the thread that runs through all Oshos words is like a love song that we can suddenly, mysteriously, hear at just the right moment. And strangely, no matter what the words seem to be referring to, they are really only referring to us.
And this is no ordinary love song; it is more an invitation to open our hearts to hear something beyond the words, beyond the heart ... a silence beyond all understanding, Where we all belong.
Sufism is experimentation for a certain experience. It is not a path of belief, but of knowing, experiencing. It is existential. An experience of what?, An experience of oneself. It is not speculation for speculation's sake. It has a methodology which yields the most sublime experience of all-call it God, nirvana, moksha, liberation, or what you will, it is the most sublime experience of all.
It is the greatest experience in life. And without this experience, nobody ever feels any contentment; they cannot. We are meant to attain to this experience. This is our potential and it has to become actual. This is our seed: It has to bloom in all its colour and fragrance. And unless the seed has become the flower, we will remain uneasy, uncomfortable, hankering for something, not knowing exactly what. Searching, groping ...
Man remains groping and searching". The search ends only with God and never otherwise. What is God? The experience of your own innermost core. God is not there. God is here, inside your heart, pulsating, breathing, aware. God is very close by.
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