How Many Times

There is a famous story. A prince took sannyas, was initiated by Mahavir. But he had lived almost always in comfort, in richness, and now life was very hard with Mahavir. He had to move naked, to sleep on hard floors with no clothes. It was difficult. The first night he started thinking of dropping out; this was not for him. There were so many mosquitoes — as there have always been in India; they seem to be the constant enemies of meditators. 

He could not meditate… so many mosquitoes… and he was naked and it was cold, and the place where he was sleeping was just in the middle, and hundreds of sannyasins were staying there. The whole night he could not sleep; people were coming and going. It was very crowded and he had never lived that way; that was not his way of life. So in the night he started feeling that the next morning he would leave. 

It is said that in the middle of the night Mahavir came to him. He was surprised. He said, ‘Why have you come?’ Mahavir told him, ‘I have been watching you. I know your difficulty. But this has happened before. This is in fact the third time. You have been initiated twice before in your other lives and every time you have left.’ He said, ‘What do you mean?’ 

And Mahavir told him to do a certain technique of meditation that he calls “jati smaran” — the method to remember the past life. And he told him, ‘You just do this the whole night. Sit in meditation and by the morning, whatsoever you decide….’ He went into his past life. It seems very simple, it must have been. People must have been simple. He went into his past life so easily. And by the morning he came; he was full of new light. 

He touched Mahavir’s feet and he said, ‘I have decided to stay. Enough is enough. I looked into…. Yes, you were right. How long can I go on repeating it again and again? It is insulting to take sannyas and leave it; it is below dignity. ‘No, it is not good for a warrior like me to be afraid of mosquitoes, to be afraid of small inconveniences. But you were right. Twice also it has happened the same way.

 I was initiated and the first night I became disturbed, and the next morning I left. And I was going to do it again. I am so grateful to you that you reminded me. Otherwise I would have committed the same thing again, thinking that I am doing this for the first time.’ All the sannyasins of Buddha and Mahavir had to pass through jati smaran, through the memory of all the past lives. 

Source: “The Discipline of Transcendence Volume 2” – Osho

Leave a Reply