On the Edge: Living With an Enlightened Master (英語) ペーパーバック – 2015/3/27
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On the Edge is the absorbing story of a young Swiss woman who, driven by the classic question Who am I? finds herself in 1974 in India meeting Osho, an enlightened mystic. His magical presence encourages her to dive into the wonders of meditation. Her vivid vignettes let the reader inside the commune, living out alongside meditators from 100 countries the breakthroughs and setbacks of this unique mystery school. Punya goes back and forth from west to east as she works normal jobs to earn the means to return to her beloved community, which itself moves from India to Oregon and back. As a chronicler, Punyas research is impeccable; her voice earnest and even-tempered. Past and present alternate as her calm prose lights up various landscapes with easy sunshine. If you were there, this book will delight you with clear recollections and perhaps new information. For everyone else, Punya is inviting you to an extraordinary time with an extraordinary man.
Punya spent her formative years in Italy and Switzerland and met the Indian mystic Osho (then known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) in 1974. She lived for many years in his communes - Pune, India; Oregon, USA; and then again in Pune. She was also involved in Osho's meditation centres in Milan, Geneva, Zurich, and Edinburgh. Her work 'in the world' has mostly involved design, publishing, languages (she speaks four) and advertising. She now runs the successful online magazine Osho News, and lives in Greece and the UK.
The strength of Punya's book is undoubtedly in her very vivd almost impressionistic descriptions of nature, places and events. Obviously recollecting is her main interest rather than reflection which I must say I found somewhat disappointing from the founder and editor of the excellent webmagazine Oshonews. And like most authors in this genre she seems to lack the professional writer's ability to condense events and draw the essence out of situations. Instead we get very long accounts of how the procedures were in the kitchen in Poona and how specific types of buildings were constructed in Oregon which I doubt can interest manyb people - unless ofc they were there themselves.
The book is well-written, Punya defintely has a gift for words, and rather complex in composition with several narratives unfolding at the same time, mainly the story of her life with Osho while he was alive and diary like entries from her life after that not least a visit to Poona in 2001.
Punya comes a cross a a typical - some would say ideal - devotee. Working for and being in the close proximity of her master seems to be the essential in her life. In fact she states that when being summoned to a meeting with some of the feared 'moms' in Rajneeshpuram the thought of being send away from the place where "worse than death". Whereas critical thoughts and reflections seem foreign to her mind. Rightly she focusses on all the amazing feats of the commune in Oregon - I know many who loved being there - but that she did not have any grievances about its demise is unusual and probably a testament to her unwavering trust/faith. And strange in a book written many years later that she does not at all mention the waves of upheaval through the sannyas world in wake of these events. or try to draw some lessons from it. And that is perhaps the great flaw with this book in general that the writer does not seem willing to look at things from a later/higher perspective - which ofc could be said to be an attempt to leave the conclusions to the reader.
I have read 'better' books about Osho like Veena's "Glimpses Of My Master", Shunyo's "Diamond days With Osho" or Niranjan's "I Leave You My Dream" but if you were there Punya might give you an interesting vehicle for time travel.