Sarlo Declares Enlightenment!

by Sw Deva Sarlo

ell! What’s he up to now? At first i considered having a small-print subtitle: “to be everyone’s birthright.” This could have been good for a laugh but really, that title says it all and will confirm what many have suspected for years about my spiritual ego and will-to-power. But allow me to explain.

Drunk with the ambitious ambiguity of my last Pulse piece, i have been emboldened to go even further this time. I will share my deepest darkest ontological obsessions but in such a way, hopefully, that it will not be clear where i’m really coming from. That way i get to keep my campaign promises – more about that later – of full disclosure, yet retain some measure of privacy. There is method in my muddiness.

It all started the day i was born. Christmas day, for Christ’s sake. That alone is enough to give anyone a complex. Never mind that Jesus was actually born in October or whenever. The myth, the collective fantasy, is stronger than mere facts. And going in circles for 2000 years of waiting for this guy to come back and save the world, the collective fantasy has gotten stronger. Into this monstrous web of expectation stumbled an innocent kid, named Hal after a relative who had died tragically at the age of 19, but that’s another cross to bear.

It wasn’t just my fantasy that i was this goddam saviour come back; the world seemed to reflect it too. Perhaps that’s how existence works, giving us every opportunity to work out delusions of grandeur. In that case, how about a winning lottery ticket? But i digress. I remember my uncle hinting at the ultimate reality, revising the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Hal would be Thy name...” Can you imagine doing that to a kid’s mind? No wonder i turned out like this. And if i had a lottery ticket for every time i heard “Jesus H. Christ!” – now you know what the “H” stands for – i would still be where i am since i never win anything. Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?

Of course, when i started growing my hair long, all kinds of people told me i looked like Jesus, more grist for the mill. I ditched the name Hal and survived being 33, but it continues. Recently i saw a reference in a paper glanced at “by chance” to a guy named “Chris Sarlo.” There’s just no escaping. My destiny is closing in on me.

And then there’s all the end-of-millennium hoo-hah. If i’m to save the world, i’ll have to get to it pretty soon. Jesus ministered for three years, which really doesn’t leave much time. Even Osho – and now people are telling me i look like him too, for another twist – has said that 2000 is make-it-or-break-it time for the planet, i.e. me. A new consciousness or cockroach city. What pressure, i’m telling you!

So that’s the basic scenario. There are interesting variations on the theme, one of which was reflected to me a year ago in Viha Connection – great mag, by the way – wherein Ma Prem Prartho shared her realization that everyone else is already enlightened, even the nasty “moms” at the Ranch, who were just acting nasty to prod her into awakening. She says, “I caught on to it – the essence of this plot to make me happy. I am the only unenlightened one left. That’s why every detail of the universe is so interested in me. Everything/body is waiting for me so we can all go home.”

I of course had long entertained this idea. The extraordinary humility of it seemed an attractive antidote to the grandiose hubris of world saviour. But in fact it doesn’t help. There’s not really much difference between these extremes of specialness. It looks like the only niche left for me to escape my onerous destiny is ordinariness, so i hereby declare my candidacy for the post of Most Ordinary Person in the World. How about it? Would you buy a used trip from this man?

According to Osho, one of the biggest obstacles to enlightenment is peer-group jealousy. One’s friends will simply not accept that this trippy asshole has arrived at the ultimate fulfillment while they languish in darkness. I am prepared to meet this challenge head-on. The courage to brave my friends’ scorn has been bolstered by: a) the knowledge, from Phil 101, that you don’t exist; b) end-of-millennium urgency; c) the discovery of ordinariness as a way out/cover-up; d) any or all of the above.

Besides, i don’t have to save the world anymore, i just have to save Prartho.

“The mediocre person will rebel against mediocrity because it is ugly to be mediocre. But the society in many ways gives him the feeling of being extraordinary. Hence, it is very difficult to find a man who does not, deep down, believe that he is special – the only begotten son of God.”
– Osho, From Bondage to Freedom

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