Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Osho on Wearing Mala and changing one's name

Questioner: Is there a special significance in changing one's name and wearing a Mala given by you?

Osho - Yes, it has significance, great significance. The change of name has great significance for a sannyasin. It is an index, a symbol. Everything in our life is symbolic. You have a name; you are identified with this name. This name has become your symbol; it is identified with your individuality. Your name has an association with everything that you have been before yesterday. Changing the name of a sannyasin means we disconnect him from his old identity, from his old associations. We say to him, now you are not the same as you were before yesterday. Now you are starting on a new journey with a new name, a new identity.

Since ancient times they have had a small ceremony at the time of one's initiation into sannyas. It is a kind of cremation ceremony. Exactly as we bathe a dead body and shave its head before putting it on the pyre, a candidate for sannyas was bathed and shaved and then put on a pyre of wood. People stood around the pyre, like witnesses at his initiation, telling him, "Let all that you have been before now be burned in the fire, and what will emerge from this pyre will be an altogether new you. You ate now reborn, you are now a dwija, a twice-born."

It was a ritual, a symbolic ritual. And because it was symbolic you can think there would be no harm if you did not go through this ritual. You can do without it provided you have a deep understanding of the thing. With deep understanding we need no rituals whatsoever. But where is that understanding?

The change of name is helpful in breaking your old identity. With the changed name you suddenly come to know that you are not the same person now. Every time, while you are on the road, somebody calls you by your new name, not by the old one, vou will be startled to learn that vou have ceased to have your old identity. Every day your identification with your old life will wither; every day a new man will come into being in his place. You will be reminded again and again that you are now on a new journey. The change of name is useful for this purpose.

Secondly, you want to know about the mala and its meaning. Nothing in this universe is meaningless. It is different if something loses its meaning through long usage. Everything wears out and becomes dirty after being in currency for a long time. The same has happened with the mala. But it is meaningful.

There are one hundred and eight beads in a mala. Do you know what this number stands for? There are one hundred and eight techniques of meditation, ways of meditation, and this mala will be with you to remind you of the hundred and eight possible paths to meditation. And if you and I continue to be related I am going to acquaint you with all the different techniques of meditation.

The hundred and eight beads of the mala represent all the techniques of meditation there are.

And when a witness like me gives this mala to an initiate into sannyas, he only tells him through this symbol that while he has explained only one path to the unknown to him, there are really many others, as many as one hundred and seven. So don't be in a hurry to say that people who are on paths other than yours are wrong. And always remember that there are countless paths, all of which lead to the divine.

At the bottom of the mala hangs a large bead which says that whatever path you follow you will reach, because all paths lead to the one, to the ultimate one. So all the beads, including the large one, are symbolic and meaningful.

When someone in our family marries a woman and brings her home as his wife, we change the name of the woman. Why? Just to break her identity with the past. She comes from another family where she was born and brought up, where she was educated and conditioned in their ways of life. Her whole past is associated with her name, so we change her name after she joins her new family. Thus a new journey of her life begins. Thus she is asked to forget her past, her old associations and conditionings and begin her life anew in a new family, a new environ ment, a new world. Now, around her new name a new crystallization will take place.

Whether it is a mala or a new name -- there are many such things -- they are very meaningful for the journey of sannyas. Unfortunately they have fallen in disrepute through long use, and that is why I speak against them over and over again. I criticize the uselessness to which they have been reduced. You cannot understand my difficulty in this matter My difficulty is that I know how useful they are and how useless they have become. So I will continue to speak both for and against them. That is my difficulty and destiny, and I would like you to understand it.

I will continue to speak against many things, because they have been rendered useless. And yet through different ways I will do everything to resurrect them, because I, for one, know their basic significance, and their basic significance has to be saved. So both processes will go together. For this reason, will lose many of my friends, and many of them will turn into my enemies. But this will go on, and there is no way to stop it,

If some traditionalist will come to me and talk about the importance of the mala, I am going to simply decry it.

I have been amazed to see that I have criticized the mala in the presence of the top sannyasins of this country and none of them had a word to say in its favor. I expected them to say some good things about it, but they could not, although each of them had a mala around his neck and almost worshipped it. Since there is no one who can say something in its favor I will have to do it myself. There is no other way.

from “Krishna : The Man and His Philosophy”

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