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Secret of the Tarot

Interview with Sona

By Kamakshi


You have a reputation for being one of the finest tarot readers. What makes you so good?

Osho taught me, himself. I had been reading for 15 years professionally before I came to Poona, and Osho called me a fortune teller. He said you put people in their minds because you tell them about the future. You don′t know here and now, you must read from the present. I really didn′t know what he was talking about. He then started sending me people, and I would go see him once a week. There were so many people, I was reading 10–12 hours a day, one person after another, I′d try to understand what language was here, and understand what they were saying – that′s how I learned. He taught me in a 9 month period, completely shifted my consciousness, so that I got out of the way; to read. I was like a psychic sponge, I worried about every reading, I worried about all those people. I didn′t know how to disconnect and I was just going mad. But it cleared me a lot, he started saying that I would be a master of Tarot, so I was encouraged to take bigger and bigger chances, without having any safety nets... just going for it. There′s a possibility – if somebody′s mind gets blown enough by what you′re saying – that there′s a gap. They could become enlightened, both could! (laughs) That′s the secret of the Tarot; for that mind blowing experience only takes one tiny little nano second, that′s all we need where two hearts go like that... So each reading is, I feel, Existence offering an opportunity for two people... that′s why I don′t read for myself. Some readers are very good, they read for themselves. I don′t do that because I feel its a two way street, its heart to heart. I knew it from the beginning...

Were you always reading cards?

The cards happened because I saw the word tarot one day, and it rang a big bell, and I started asking around what did that mean, I didn′t know it was even a deck of cards. Same thing happened when I saw Tantra and come to find out they mean the same thing. But I got the same kind of inner feeling, I don′t know what is that – the warrior way, the middle way, and that made sense to me.

What are the origins of Tarot? Its history?

Somebody had the presence to ask Osho that question. I′d never ask him anything in darshan, I′d get in there and I couldn′t think of a question. But other people would ask, and very articulate questions. I′d think wow, I should have thought of asking that, about their experience with the reading, and how it affected them, and they′d ask if there was a secret to the Tarot? I mean what a great question. He said that it was at the time that the library in Alexandria was burned, and it took 9 months to burn, it was such a huge place. The holy men got together and comprised 22 Major Arcanas showing people how to wake up. Each can be the stepping stone, it can be the thing to us, like a challenge or an obstacle that we would go through to become totally clear. They decided to disguise this book of tarot as a deck of cards. He said, knowing man′s propensity for gambling and entertainment, they were put in the hands of Gypsies who spread it throughout the world. On the 8 of Cups, there is what looks like an "M", they might have written it a long ago. And in the miter, the hat that a pope wears, there was another upside down M, perfectly out of synch with the rest of the card. Then Osho told me that Jesus had not died, like they said that he did. He was a Yogi, he had become enlightened in India, and he had put himself into a deep samadhi like a deep sleep, Yogis can do that, and that they had got him down. He then continued his ministry, was married to Mary Magdalene, had children... So that M was a way of letting the people know her lineage is still ongoing. Osho had told me this back in ′75. So, chronologically I don′t know when it happened, I don′t even know when the library burned down, but to me that rang a bell of truth...

How did you arrive in India?

I was 35, I used to read for some very big people, revolutionary people, they′d fly me down to the Burbank studios on the Red Eye, and I would read for people in Hollywood, and then go back to San Jose, 50 miles from San Francisco. I was reading for a benefit in San Francisco to raise money for a meditation center – Divine Light Mission people. An Indian man came in, actually I wasn′t reading cards, I was reading hands because he showed me his palm, and I told him exactly what had been going on, which was quite amazing really, because it wasn′t a usual set of affairs. And he was very intelligent, he decided I would make a very good partner to him because of my abilities, and so he brought me to India. I came for 3 months, but no one knew anything about Tarot, so I only read hands. And then the next time I came to India was at the end of ′74, and I had decided I wanted to come to Poona to meet Osho.

You also teach how to read the Tarot, do you think anyone who is interested can learn it?

Yeah, because I believe that the people who come are supposed to come. And after a while they say that too, they start looking in retrospect, how they first heard about it. I had somebody tell me the other day that they′ve been looking for me for 20 years, and they had gone to Dr. Patrick′s. I had left a card there on the table, and they had to move the table, and the card fell on the floor.. (laughs) And it said Sona and phone number (9850722828 :–) ) ... she was so happy. So that′s how I think it is – its just some beautiful play and synchronicity.
ma prem ushaA very famous Indian lady, a very fine reader, Ma Prem Usha, she does the tarot scope for the "Osho Now", she does the "Delhi Pioneer". and she′s on television. She has her offices in the Maurya Sheraton Towers in Delhi, I didn′t tell her I was coming and one day I just dropped in the door and walked in. She was sitting behind this beautiful desk, and she said "I′ve been waiting 6 years for you to come through that door." She said "How am I doing?" So sweet. She was my first student in India, and she gives me full credit. Lot of people don′t, because I was blacklisted for many years, it wasn′t popular to be my student. I mean there used to be crosses on my front lawn... (laughs)


People were superstitious, I′d have to move...

Are people scared of tarot and readings?

My youngest daughter is 40 years old, this was 40 years ago...

What about free will and destiny?

That has been a query for me – whether its predestined. I have read some people′s palms over 30–40 years; and I can see that the main lines stay the same, some lines can disappear, and more can come. So I started having them take prints every 3 months. Even after a 10 day meditation camp, your hand can change – its amazing. I′d take prints from people before the camp and after. Everything′s made perfectly balanced. I don′t think of it as free choice. I think we have freedom if something comes up – to accept it and go along with it, or kick and scream and drag our feet. (laughs) But the river′s moving, one way or another, so might as well surrender and enjoy it.

temperance tarot card

You have said 2007 is the year of ten thousand buddhas awakening?

Yes, ten thousand. That was really fun, so clear... in Goa. that′s where I heard it, I′d been sitting silently for about a week. I heard it really clear, its not just the words, its the way it came, and in that moment, that electric moment, it was just really incredible! I′d been sitting watching the ocean for about a week, and it just shocked the hell out of me. I mean its just too much! (laughs) It was the one, even now the hair raises on my arms, I get goose bumps thinking about it. It was amazing! I always tell everybody when I get a flash like that, but I can′t jump up and start going "There will be 10,000 Buddhas!!!" But that′s what I felt to do...
I was predicting earthquakes, and I really got scared – I had to stop all that. I even moved my children to a zone that I thought would be safer – and the earthquake came there. So I went and found my earthquake, basically that′s what happened. And I was telling everybody to move and some people even sold their house, so I couldn′t go back to that town... (laughs) I′m pretty convincing...

What do you make of that?

For me not to be meddling in the affairs of tomorrow so much. (laughs) Not to be a doomsayer, its not my job.

Where do you see people are at now? Do you see a change??

I see in the way young people talk to each other, the words that they use. When I was that age, I didn′t have a clue to be talking about "projections", or "that′s just a trip", or "don′t worry, you′ll get over it"... In this way there′s much more emphasis on awareness, being aware. I look into children′s eyes, and I see amazing children. I see a future that is more conscious...

Sona means gold – divine gold, divine treasure, divine wealth. And that's how one should look at oneself – as a great treasure. We may not have discovered it yet, but it is there. And if you really want to discover it, first you have to accept – at least hypothetically – that it is there, otherwise you never search and never enquire. Once you know that the treasure is somewhere, you start looking for it.
That is the only meaning of trust – something that is not known, but is possible... something that you cannot be certain about right now, but somebody else, whom you love, is certain... to take his certainty in trust, and the journey starts.
This is going to be hypothetical. It cannot be absolute. Unless you have known, how can it be absolute? But even a scientist needs a hypothesis to work with, to begin with. He is not certain whether it will prove this way or that, whether it will prove true or untrue. But just to start one has to take a hypothesis – maybe it is so, maybe it is not so, but a possibility is there that maybe it is so. Then one has to search and one has to do hard work.
Everybody is carrying a treasure, but the idea is lost. In the modern world nobody reminds you about your inner treasure, and everybody reminds you about many treasures which are outside – which you have to achieve, which you have to complete for, you have to struggle for. The struggle is very ugly and very violent – and the end result is just nothing.
Once a person succeeds in the outer world, he comes to know that the whole life has been a wastage. You have the money, and nothing has come. You have the power and the prestige and the respectability, and you remain empty – in fact, your whole life is gone, has gone down the drain. Now only death is waiting. Of course you will die as a successful man and there will be reports in the newspaper... but you never lived!
You will die as a successful man, but you never lived truly, because life is from the within, and it is never from the without. Life is a welling up of your treasures, an overflowing....
I am here just to remind you of this – and by becoming a sannyasin, you start trusting me, and then you start searching for the treasure. It is there – I say it is there... I can see it. If you cannot see it, it only means that you have to train your eyes to see it. You have to become a little more silent, because the voice inside is very still, very small. You have to drop the noise, the inner chattering, then you may be able to hear it.
It is a whispering, a murmuring, of a very small spring, but it is of tremendous value, because that spring is that of nectar. Once one drinks out of it, one becomes deathless. Once you drink out of it, then for the first time you are alive... alive in a totally different meaning, in a different sense. You are no more alive as a body – you are alive as a spirit.
The body will end because it began. The spirit has no beginning and no end....

(Osho – Blessed Are the Ignorant #20)

Just the other day it happened: Mulla Nasruddin's wife went to see Sona – you know Mulla NasruddinSona, the tarot card reader? – and she came back very much disturbed.
The future disturbs. Anything about the future disturbs. It is good not to know about the future because once you know anything about the future it starts changing your present, and disturbance arises.
She was very worried. Mulla Nasruddin asked her, "What is the matter?"
She said, "I have been to a tarot card reader, a very good woman, and she has said a few things and I am very worried."
Mulla Nasruddin said, "Don't be worried. Nothing is certain in life so no prediction can be made. I tell you that only fools are certain."
The wife said, "Are you really certain about that?"
He said, "Absolutely certain!"

(Osho – Tao: The Three Treasures, vol.1 #9)

Here, I am teaching nothing other than your own being. I am bringing you closer to nothing other than your own being. I am throwing you back to yourself. You are missing nothing; you have only forgotten the treasure that is within you, you have forgotten the ways to look withinwards. Again, The Fool in the Tarot cards....
If you have looked meditatively at the Tarot card... and they are cards to be meditated upon. They are old secret methods of meditation. The Fool is standing on the cliff, one foot dangling, hanging over the cliff – and he is not aware, and he is looking at the stars, and he is very happy; his head must be full of dreams. And he is carrying four sacred symbols on his back, and he is not aware of what they are. He is not even aware that he is carrying four secret symbols on his back. These are the four secret symbols: the jungle, the forest, the garden, the home.
Now it is up to you. If you turn... a one hundred and eighty–degree turn will be needed. That's what conversion is, that's what sannyas is all about. If you TURN, you will simply see that you have never lost for a single moment the bliss of all blisses, the delight of all delights. You have never left your home; you were only thinking that you had gone far away.
You are in the home; you never left it. When this is discovered, one becomes a buddha, one becomes a Christ, one becomes a Krishna. This is your destiny. And unless you attain it, you will never be at ease. Unless you attain it, you will never have rest. A human being has to be restless. A human being is a bridge. He is not a being yet, he is a promise.

(Osho – The Path of Love #3)

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