Sw Ajit Saraswati
(Dr. Hemant N Phadnis)
Ajit Saraswati began practicing gynecology in Pune in 1956, also teaching it as a professor in Sassoon Hospital. He is married and the father of three children.
He first met Osho in 1964. He was born a Hindu but knew something was lacking in the various traditions he had become familiar with, including his own. Osho's iconoclasm surprised him and he was very attracted. He first took sannyas as a Sadhu in 1971 in Mt Abu, then again as a "full sannyasin" Swami in Pune in 1973. In Pune One he was a hero in the cause of reproductive freedom, performing tubal ligations for no-fuss birth control for hundreds of grateful sannyasin women.
Most extraordinary is the following excerpt where Osho is talking about him and his arrival at the Ranch to his small group of attendants in a dental session, transcribed in two chapters of Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (the first para at the end of ch 17 before he sees Ajit, the rest in ch 18 after he sees him).
- You are both doctors, and you know Doctor Ajit Saraswati well. He has been with me for almost twenty years, and I don't know anybody else who has been so sincerely with me. You will be surprised to know he is waiting outside... and there is every possibility that he is almost ready to be enlightened. He has come to live here in the ashram. It must have been difficult for him, particularly as an Indian, leaving his wife, his children, and his profession. But he could not live without me. He is ready to renounce all. He is waiting outside. This will be his first interview, and I can feel that this is going to be his enlightenment too. He has earned it, and earned it with great difficulty. To be an Indian, and to be totally with me is not an easy job.
- [ch 17, rest below ch 18]
- The first words that Ajit Saraswati uttered to me last night were, "Osho, I never expected that I would ever make it." Of course those who were present thought he was talking about coming to live in the ashram [(Ranch)]. And that too is in a way true, relevant, because I remember the first day he came to see me twenty years ago. He had had to ask permission from his wife just to see me for a few minutes. So those who were present must have understood, naturally, that he had never expected to move in, leaving his wife and children and a very good business. Renouncing all, just to be here with me... in a true sense of renunciation. But that was not what he meant, and I understood.
- I said to him, "Ajit, I am also surprised. Not that I never expected it; I had always expected it, hoped and longed for this moment, and I am happy that you have come."
- Again, the others must have thought I was talking about his coming here to live. I was talking about something else, but he understood. I could see it in his eyes, which have been becoming more and more childlike. I saw that he had understood what coming to a Master really means. It means coming to one's self. It cannot mean anything else other than self-realization. His smile was absolutely new.
- I had been worried about him: he was becoming more serious every day. I was really concerned, because to me seriousness has always been a dirty word, a disease, something far more cancerous than cancer can ever be, and certainly far more infectious than any disease. But I breathed a great sigh of unburdening; a load disappeared from my heart.
- He is one of those few people that if I had to die without them becoming enlightened, then I would have had to turn the wheel again, I would have had to be born again. Although it is impossible to turn the wheel... and I know nothing of the mechanics of turning a wheel, particularly the wheel of time. I am not a mechanic, I am not a technician, so it would have been very difficult for me to turn the wheel again... and it has not moved since I was twenty-one.
- Twenty-eight years ago the wheel stopped, now everything must be rusted. Even if you poured oil on to it, it would not help. Even my sannyasins could do nothing about it -- it is not the wheel of a Rolls Royce. It is the wheel of karma, of action, and the consciousness implied in every action. I am finished with it. But for a man like Ajit, I would have tried to come back again whatever the cost.
- I am determined that I will leave this body only when at least one thousand and one of my disciples are enlightened, not before that. Raj Bharti, remember it! It is not going to be difficult -- the basic work has been done -- it is just a question of a little patience.
- Gudia just said as I was coming in, on hearing that Ajit had become enlightened, "It is strange, enlightenment is popping up everywhere." It has to pop up everywhere, that's my work. And those one thousand and one people are almost ready to pop at any moment. Just a little breeze and the flower opens... or the first ray of the sun and the bud opens her heart to it -- just anything. Now, what was it that helped Ajit?
- In these twenty years that I have known him, I have always been loving towards him. I have never hit him -- there has never been a need. Even before I said anything to him, he received it already. Before saying, he heard it. In these twenty years he has been following me as closely as it is possible. He is my Mahakashyapa.
- What caused the thing last night? It was just because he had been thinking of me every moment. The moment he saw me, all that thinking disappeared -- and that was the only thinking that had been surrounding him, like a cloud. And I don't think that he understood the exact meaning of his words! It takes time. And the words come so suddenly. He just said, as if in spite of himself, "I had never expected, Osho, that I would be able to make it."
- I said, "Don't be worried. I was always certain it was going to happen sooner or later, but it was going to happen."
- He looked a little puzzled. He was talking about coming and I was talking about happening. Then, just as if a window opened and you see -- just like that -- a window opened and he saw. He touched my feet with tears in his eyes and a smile on his face. To see tears and smiles mixing and merging is beautiful. It is an experience in itself.
- Because of Ajit Saraswati I could not complete the story that I had begun. He had been, somehow, just around the corner for so long that I had become accustomed to him. You remember that day when I was talking of Ajit Mukherjee, the famous Tantra writer, the author of TANTRA ART and TANTRA PAINTINGS? I said -- and you can check your notes... when I said "Ajit" I could not say "Mukherjee"... to me "Ajit" has always meant "Ajit Saraswati." So when I talked about Ajit Mukherjee, first I said "Ajit Sarasw..." then I corrected myself. I had started to say "Saraswati" and got as far as "Sarasw..." then said, "Mukherjee."
- He has been, without interfering in any way, present, just around the corner, waiting, only waiting. Such trust is rare, although with me there are thousands of sannyasins with the same kind of reverence. Knowing it or not, that does not matter; what matters is the presence of reverence.
- Ajit Saraswati has a Hindu background, so naturally it is easier for him to have that kind of reverence, trust. But he was educated in the West, perhaps that is why he could come close to me. A Hindu background and a western scientific mind. having these two things together is a rare phenomenon, and he is a unique man.
The interview mentioned above runs from pp 394-411 in The Great Nothing. It is not autobiographical so much as an intimate study in the impact of Osho's "neo-sannyas" on one Indian man. Ajit paints a thorough picture of how Osho's sannyas was and is different from traditional sannyas. The difficulties he had with taking sannyas and remaining in "the world" were not arising from Osho's notoriety -- as was the case for most Indians who had difficulties -- but from Indians' concepts of traditional sannyas, ie that it entailed dropping out completely from normal working and social life, even including one's family. When it became clear, after many years, that he was not going to drop out, his family was much relieved.
- see also