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Sannyas Conditioning

I was in Pune early in the 80′s when Osho left his Ashram for the United States. His departure struck as lightning out of a blue sky. Many sannyasins were shocked and felt that they had been left behind. They felt that Osho had deserted them and quite a few of this group soon after dropped sannyas because of this.

Now this kind of collective thinking of a considerable group of sannyasins is conditioning but not sannyas conditioning. It is conditioning as it had already been engraved on the mind by a loveless society, namely ′I am a victim, nobody loves me, I have no inner strength of my own′. It is this frame of mind that comes to the surface because of the shock of Osho suddenly leaving. If these sannyasins would have understood what sannyas really is, they couldn′t possibly have dropped it because they would have been able to see through this mental setup. If they had looked into themselves more carefully, they would have sensed that Osho didn′t desert anybody and they would have seen society′s imposed faulty reasoning as something of the past, as any conditioning is, and not something of current importance.

A short Osho quote...

"There is no power in the world which can prevent anybody from becoming enlightened because enlightenment is your very nature. You are already enlightened, you just don′t know it. You have forgotten it, it is a forgotten language. It has only to be remembered, and the way to remember is to disidentify with all the conditionings; they may be there, let them be there. Remember: ′I am not one of them. I am the knower, I am the seer, I am the observer, I am the awareness.′ And the awareness cannot be touched by any conditioning."

(The New Dawn # 2, chapter title: Sanity is just boring)

So, ′sannyas conditioning′ is an oxymoron, it doesn′t really exist. Conditioning suggests that there′s a limitation of freedom and this is antithetical to sannyas. Sannyas implies total freedom.

Conditioning refers to certain mental patterns that have been imprinted on the mind because of a long and sustained belonging to some group or other. There′s familial conditioning, national conditioning, and as there have been many sannyasins around for a sufficiently long stretch of time, it seems logical enough to conclude that in so far as they can be seen as a group, as an environment in which they all start talking the same spiritual gibberish, they condition each other.

The implication of conditioning is that people can′t think for themselves anymore, they can′t distance themselves from themselves anymore to take an objective look at what they are doing, in other words they are identified, unconscious walking somnambulists. And by taking sannyas aren′t people only changing the curtains of their jail, the windows of which consist of invisible mental bars?

Is there something like sannyas conditioning? In my book it is impossible. Conditioning exists, it happens in society all the time, but sannyas is what dissolves it. Conditioning is of the mind and sannyas isn′t. Sannyas is freedom, freedom of the mind, hence of past conditionings. Sannyas makes one see that there is no conditioning. This goes so far as to realise that one has never been conditioned ever. One is free as one has always been. The key to re-discovering this is awareness.

(Satrakshita - December 2001)