Founder of Sannyasnews Dies

Pari (left) in an 2002 Sannyasnews editorial meeting

Pari (left) in a 2002 Sannyasnews editorial meeting


The main founder of the Sannyasnews website, Swami Prem Paritosh (Chris Gray), usually known as Pari, and who for writing purposes used the pseudonym “Sam”, died in the London Hampstead Marie Curie Hospice (Eden Hall) on May 14th. He had put up a brave struggle with cancer for 12 months. He was 67..

Pari had been a leading English “Situationalist” in his early life, operating from and in a wild, sixties Notting Hill, of which he still spoke with affection. During that time he translated from the French a seminal work on that approach to life, called “Leaving the 20th Century”.(republished 1997). However at some point he found himself reading Ouspensky and it turned his life for ever. He found his way to Poona (now Pune) in the early days, after a long courtship of Buddhism and the vipassana technique. Osho invited him to lead (together with Pradeepa) the first (Sannyas) Vipassana groups in 1975, and there is an exchange between Pari and Osho recorded on page 375 to 377 of the darshan diary “Hammer on the Rock”, about the subject.

However after a short while he found the leadership role absurd, and left the mainstream ashram to live a street or so away, and, as he always seemed to do, in fastidiously clean and attractive apartments, even if sometimes they were squats! The typewriter was always at the ready, and books and paints to hand. When ‘Poona one’ ended in 1981, he felt at the time neo-sannyas had ended, and returned to London and withdrew into family life, holding that sannyas had been overtaken by dictatorship, and lost its way.

His reaction to the chaotic and charged end of Rajneeshpuram (the Oregon Ranch) in 1985 was almost the opposite of what many did, he felt that somehow Osho had reasserted himself, and a lot of hopeless sheep had rushed out of the fold, and he was going back in. For him optimism arose, and he began to move in sannyas circles once more, and returned to Poona and to Osho. He was in Poona when Osho died.

Much of the material that relates to Poona one and to Poona two is tellingly recorded with a fine sense of movement in his book “Life of Osho” (by Sam) published in 1997. Of course it is from the perspective of someone who projected that the whole sannyas movement reflected his own subgroup of interests, but of that particular sometimes manic, sometimes love crazy, and sometimes intellectually hip world, his writing is certainly the best.

Pari did many things with his life, he returned for example to leading Osho meditations in the nineties in Swiss Cottage, London, and also in some famous back garden meditation events in Eton Avenue, of which I myself still have fond memories. During the last six years of his life he explored in an intense way the role of hallucinogens in psychotherapy and mystical life (written up in his recently published book “The Acid”). He started in 1999, with Usha his then beloved, the first satsang circle in London (inspired by the London visit of Satyam Nadeen). And he was an excellent and studied carpenter and gardener.

It is difficult to say what any man’s life means. Pari lived his life passionately, took his own self examination to the limits, and loved and lived well. He could be difficult, and cussed. He could sometimes sweetly confess to loneliness. But somehow he “made” his life – sometimes against the odds – and it marked him out.
Parmartha

We add the links below to some of his articles on Sannyasnews.com that Prem Paritosh wrote from the earlier days of the site.

Koregaon Park – The Wilder Shores
Gokarn
Poona 2001
Ayahuasca Ceremony
Osho Bardo
Things Fall Apart, The Centre Cannot Hold…

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24 Responses to Founder of Sannyasnews Dies

  1. first generation sannyasins leave the body to go back home or come back to the earth to fullfill the remaining home work. 17, koregaon Park, Pune will need such people again and again,

  2. Alok john says:

    Really sorry to hear about Pari. I remember those meditations in Swiss Cottage with affection.

    Luv alok

  3. Punam says:

    What a lovely tribute to Pari, well written too!
    I am grateful to be a part of this eternal family.
    Pari’s leaving the body is a reminder to us all. Time is short. Life is short! Wake up its later than you thought!
    (excuse me while I roll over and snooze a bit longer)
    Fare thee well Pari, the winding road does call.

    punam

  4. Andreas Roth says:

    A beautiful obituary you wrote Parmartha. I read Pari’s (Sam’s) “Life of Osho” with great affection, and often mentioned and refered to his book. He tells it very honest and without extenuation. I have great respect and love for this and such a life.

  5. frank says:

    i never met him,but i liked his book.

    it seems the old sadhu hung up his loincloth…
    took his final trip…….
    and went through the green channel one last time…..

    thanks
    and

    bon voyage

  6. deepak says:

    Really good initiation by Pari…
    to open a website for Osho lover..

    Love & respect to Pari…

  7. Hev says:

    Yes,
    [Deepak's words covey so well what I want to say but cant find the way to express my gratitude]
    x

  8. sannyasnews says:

    We hear there is to be an obituary of Pari (Chris Gray) in the Guardian on Thursday 21st May.

  9. Alok john says:

    Cannot see Pari’s obituary in today’s Grauniad. Maybe they found out he followed the Old Boy!

  10. Pradeepa says:

    Pari and I went to India and took sannyas together in 1975. We also started the vipassana group together–at Osho’s request! He was my soulmate, beloved, and favourite fellow traveller for 5 years. We read Ouspensky’s “In search of the miraculous” together, which made it clear it was the inner, not outer revolution that is needed!!!
    Just back from saying goodbye to him, we reminisced, and had a few good laughs over the joke that life in the human body provides! What more can I say, he lives in my heart forever…..

  11. Interesting piece about Pari who I knew as Chris. I only just thought to search for him as Pari and thus just found this. I wrote a blog about Chris too after learning of his death (mine was posted 19 May). Just a small point but Chris wouldn’t have called himself an anarchist even back in the sixties, although I can understand why you use the term as shorthand. Anyway, Chris is missed by all his friends. Thanks for the post.

  12. zichi says:

    I was not a sannyasin but I knew Chris Gray (Paritosh) very well and later also Usha. We lived in the same squat in Eton Ave, London for a couple of years. I last him in New Court Hampstead before I moved to live in Japan in 1994, Chris wasn’t an anarchist but an ex-member of the French Situationist Internationale.
    He was a great guy. My thoughts are with Mob his daughter, Eliane his son and Usha, mother of Eliane.

  13. sannyasnews says:

    Thanks for the last post, Trippy. We have changed the main article to meet your correction on which I am sure you are right.
    Pari loved Robert Louis Stephenson, and also the idea of the doppleganger, as you may know. His last gift to me, only in March of this year, was a copy of Dr Jekyell and Mr Hyde.
    I wonder was he saying something!
    At his funeral on his birthday 22nd May, and celebration afterwards, several worlds that Pari seemed somehow to separately inhabit came together. Perhaps all sides were rather amazed to find the others, and yet all seemed to be filled with love, and joy was in the air.
    Parmartha (Editor, Sannyasnews).

  14. sannyasnews says:

    Alok,
    Pari’s son, Elian, now seems to think a short obituary will appear in next Thursday’s Guardian, May 28th.
    I imagine it may well be from the situationalist perspective if it appears.
    Parmartha

  15. Heraclitus says:

    Yeah, Trippy’s blog I looked at.
    It is at
    http://stewarthomesociety.org/blog/?p=1451

    Sure was a veritable paradox of a man this guy. Certainly had different sides. But I guess “play”- may be the key to both.
    The situationists had a penchant for play as far as I know, like making events up, giving children presents in commercial stores at xmas, and seeing where the happening went. Quite original I heard but dont know much else. Maybe someone does.
    And sannyas was/is a great big play in all senses. So there was a link.

  16. Pingback: More on the death of King Mob’s Chris Gray « Mister Trippy

  17. sam.ba. says:

    I’ve read the book “Life of Osho”,and almost all the articles of this website,and they show me many things about Osho and the movement wich are unfoundable in the other places…
    …I’m a young sannyas ,and it happen that Pari died in the same day of my 29° birthday….I’d never meet him,but his book and his articles seems to be the speech of a honest and free Soul,and i love him just because of his book.
    Have a nice trip!

  18. Alex says:

    Please could you tell me where I can purchase a copy of The Acid by ‘Sam’ Vision Press

    Thanks

  19. CHARLIE RADCLIFFE says:

    What can one add to all that has been written about Chris Gray / Paritosh, except that he was over more than forty years a fearless and benficent friend, perhaps the best of my life, and that I loved him. All those various pieces of his life – the politics, the spirituality, the psychedelics &c – were in no way separate for him but were part of one individisble whole. It was that range (and its absolute indivisibility) which made him so fascinating a person. Although all those who loved him and particularly Maria and Eliane his children will miss his wisdom, kindness and compassion we must be grateful above all for the privilege of knowing a remarkable man.

  20. sannyasnews says:

    Thanks Charlie for that.
    We dont know you, but we also worked with and loved Pari. He was I suppose a bit of a mystery in the way he kept various parts of his life so separate, but I suspect it was quite intentional for whatever reason!
    On the previous enquiry we hope to have an answer about Pari’s latest book availability soon.
    Parmartha

  21. sannyasnews says:

    I received this from Maitreya:

    Beloved Parmartha
    Love
    Paritosh has a special place in my heart as my first vipassana teacher in Poona in 1976. His insight and compassion as a teacher impressed me immensely. He is a a beautiful, complex and very sensitive man. A rare flower of consciousness. He will be a buddha in his next life.
    I love you Pari. Let go into the light. Bardo is a blast!
    Love
    Maitreya

  22. sannyasnews says:

    There is a political obituary of Pari that appeared in the Guardian Newspaper of July 8th. Also on line at the Guardian website.

    There is also a short sannyas obituary of Parti in the July/August, 2009 edition of Viha Connection.

  23. sannyasnews says:

    Write to VISION
    PO Box 64657.
    London NW3 9NH

    to find out how to get the book by Sam called “The Acid”.
    Someone should answer eventually.