A Taste of the Deathless

Learning from a pointless suicide

by Ma Dhyan Amiyo

hen I took sannyas in l980 Osho talked to me about death. He told me that meditation would heal my fear – that all fear deep down was fear of dying. My husband was the first to take sannyas that night. Osho told him that only meditation would make his life meaningful.

Like many married couples who came to Osho together, Anakula and I split up after we took sannyas. Sannyas exposed the lies in our marriage – the mutual addiction to pain, the pathological attachment to our unhappy life together. Even though I knew that he didn`t love me, when he finally left I wanted to die. I was that stuck in my own misery.

He went to live on the Ranch and I moved into another relationship. We saw each other occasionally. We didn`t communicate much.

In 1988 he committed suicide.

When I first heard the news the shock was so great that I couldn`t take it in. I just couldn`t assimilate it. I stayed up all night waiting for morning to phone someone to see if it was really true. I`d thought that I was finished with this guy. In six years I`d not felt anything for him but anger and contempt. Osho says that love and hate aren`t separate things, that what we feel is one entity called lovehate. When Anakula died I realized this was true.

For weeks obsessive memories and images flooded my mind:

Anakula and I standing under a pink flowering tree
pledging ourselves to each other
in marriage in front of all our friends...

Anakula and I kneeling before Osho
as he touches our foreheads...losing consciousness...
coming back to ourselves at the back of the hall,
staring up at the trees and the stars...

Anakula and I screaming at each other
on a glacier as a storm sweeps down upon us...
furious and frightened, knowing it`s over...

But I couldn`t absorb the final image: Anakula swallowing a bottle of pills and going to a park to die. How? Why? Why had he chosen so much suffering? How could he turn his hand against his own life energy?

No answers came to these questions. I had to ask Osho. I’d been hiding out in the Canadian Pacific wilderness, licking my wounds after the Ranch, but now I found myself on my way back to Poona. When I arrived Osho was leading us in guided meditations deep into ourselves. Every night he told us: you are not the body; you are not the mind; you are the pure witnessing consciousness.

But Anakula’s suicide still haunted me. I wrote to Osho: “I have much pain in my heart at the thought of his suffering and I cannot understand why, having the unique opportunity to be with you, he could have chosen to end his own life. Beloved Master, can you say something to help me to understand what has happened?” Six days later I got a message that Osho’s personal secretary Neelam wanted to see me.

Neelam is a beautiful soft Indian woman with melting brown eyes and a grace that I have never seen a western woman equal. She greeted me with great love and sweetness. She said that Osho had asked her to meet with me personally to make sure I understood his answer.

“He says he understands your pain,” Neelam said. “He understands your love for this man and your concern for the way he has died, but he will not answer your question because it’s just from the mind, a shadow that the mind throws up. A real seeker does not ask such questions about someone else. A real seeker has only one question – how to be more and more aware so that you will not die such an unconscious death.”

I felt my eyes fill with tears as they stared into hers and the point hit home.

“Any death should remind us of our own death,” Neelam continued. “Why he did it, what happened: these are the questions of the outside world. Don’t waste your energy. We are all in that kind of unconscious condition. We need to bring ourselves into the light.”

As she kissed me goodbye she whispered, “Make your question mark very big and make it for yourself.”

That evening I sat alone in the garden for a long time while my preoccupation with Anakula melted away. The cuckoo calling, the breeze rippling, the leaves bending: they were real, they were here now – in the moment. Anakula had made his choice; he was gone. All my questions about his suicide were just mind stuff.

Ten days later in discourse Osho described a conscious death: the mind falling to pieces like a mirror smashed on the ground, the body farther and farther away, the emotions all in turmoil – and you the witness realizing that it was all a dream, now you are waking up.

That night I dreamed I was dying with a group of other people. In the dream a woman next to me wanted me to help her but I told her firmly that I needed my awareness for myself. It was hard to die consciously in the dream but I managed to do it. For a moment as everything faded away and I zoomed through space I knew with ecstatic joy that I was the pure witness.

I’ve never known anything like that in my waking life. But who knows? If I make my question mark very big and make it for myself, I’ll be able to taste it again.

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