… left her body on 6th March 2013, at age 92.
Vachana came to Osho in 1977 after travelling overland to India, together with her then husband, her son, his friend and younger daughter (later Tejas, Harish, Tejomaya and Surahbhi). After Osho had left for the US, she joined the Medina commune from where she visited the Ranch. When Osho arrived back in Pune after the World Tour she immediately left for India and lived and worked there until he died. She later lived many years in North Wales.
Once it was no longer possible for her to live on her own, she moved to Devon to live close to Surahbhi and many other friends. Surahbhi took care of her while her health declined and she developed dementia. Despite all this, she determinedly went for walks twice a day and visited the local café every morning for her cappuccino. When it became obvious that Surahbhi could no longer take care of Vachana, arrangements were made for her to move into a residential home. A beautiful room was found for her in a care home on the edge of Dartmoor and, although she never really landed there, it created the peaceful space that helped her leave the body as gracefully as she did.
There is no end, because every end will be death.
And life knows no death; it goes on and on and on.
So this is simply a preparation;
it is always a preparation for a new journey.
You can have a little rest, but remember:
it is just an overnight stay in a caravanserai.
In the morning we have to go,
So rest well, be ready.
As the sun rises, our journey starts again.
Life is from eternity to eternity.”
Before Vachana left her body on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 9.55 pm, I was sitting besides her holding her hand, the other hand placed on her heart; Yatro was on her other side. We were playing some of my gentle songs and Vachana took her last, very soft breath, out to the last lines of one of her favourite Hebridean songs, Mull Fisher’s Love Song,
…this love of thee….”
She was very peaceful and she left remarkably fast.
I had been called to her Residential home because her breathing had changed to being fast and tense but while I sat with her it changed, slowed down, relaxed. Then gaps started appearing in her breath getting longer and longer; then more of them. Finally the breath moved up just into the bottom of her mouth; it felt soft and watery like something melting. I put my hand on her forehead – suddenly she sort of frowned, only it wasn’t a frown it was just her forehead puckering down in a straight horizontal line; then as I removed my hand it released…she had been releasing gradually all the time – and actually in many ways over the last 8 weeks. Finally there was just a small pfff…and she was gone and we sat silent with her for quite some time.
It was so ordinary…she just let go and knew what to do when the moment came.
Then Adarsha came, played guitar and we sang her favourite sannyas songs. We helped the carers wash her body and dress in her ‘tidy best’ clothes.
The next step is to follow her after death instructions including ”…a big party within 3 days of my departure with ‘Presence’ playing, lots of food and drink, everyone is invited to give me a big send off.”
who in life
had done everything
with a bird’s grace,
opened her bill now
for the shedding
of one sigh no
heavier than a feather
R S Thomas
Read a question by Vachana and Osho’s answer: At Last You Are Back Home
In 2006 I wrote a little biography about Vachana for OshoinUK. As a tribute to her, Punya and I thought it would be nice to publish it again for other people to read.
‘Vachana’s journey with Osho began back in 1976 when she and her then husband, Tejas, became interested in the growth moment that was happening in London. They read about new ideas and did some groups with leading London new age therapists and finally chanced on a book by Osho. This struck a chord and the next year Tejas enterprisingly arranged an ‘educational’ expedition overland to India. (Thus the trip was paid for!) At the last minute Vachana decided she wanted to go too so, with her son, his friend and younger daughter (later Harish, Tejomaya and Surahbhi), they all travelled overland in a Ford van, having many adventures along the way.
But deep down she was aware of a strange feeling of being drawn to something and when she finally arrived in Poona and was handed a kind of newsletter with a quote from the discourse of that day, she suddenly knew that this is what she had been looking for, that ‘this was it’ – a feeling that has never changed. It was the first time she had a sense of unconditional love and she said that for the next few days she walked around in a kind of dream, feeling quite drunk. When she and Surabhi came out of darshan, having taken sannyas, they looked at each other and said, ‘Whatever have we done?’! It felt strange but absolutely right and there has never been a question in her being that this was the right path for her.
She and members of the family went back and forth to Poona until Osho went to Oregon. At that time large centres were being set up all over the world so she decided to join the Medina commune from where she was able to visit the Ranch. I laughed when she very truthfully said she didn’t always enjoy being in the commune and often found it quite hard but that still it felt right. Again truthfully she pointed out that personal growth isn’t all fun – the singing and dancing is only one side of the picture – and working on oneself can be quite intense. It is a huge jump from a conventional life style to such an unknown path so to be amongst many people travelling in the same direction is very helpful.
When Osho arrived back in Poona after leaving the USA she immediately left for India and lived and worked there until he died.
For her, as for all of us, new decisions then had to be made and she realised she no longer wanted to work full time in the commune but to re-establish herself in her own country. She embarked on a search for the right place, visiting and living in a number of alternative communities, until she finally settled in Beachhill in Devon. After two years there, it was time to leave and her footsteps lead to the Abha Centre in Wales. Looking back, she says she doesn’t know why she hadn’t thought of Wales before, because when she arrived she knew it was the perfect place. In 1999 Tejas was able to buy a cottage for her and the family in a magical place called Tregarth where she lives to this day.
As well as being connected strongly to the land, she was surrounded by sannyasins – Surahbhi, Adarsha, Prabodh and others – almost forming a mini-commune. While renovating the property, everyone continued to work on their personal growth, speaking from the heart, being honest with each other and delighting in the music they were creating.’
This text was written in 2006. Vachana later moved from Wales to Ashburton in Devon to be near Surabhi, Adarsha, Prabodh and all the other sannyasins who had moved to that area. Although her sight was by now very poor she still actively participated in sannyasin activities until recently when her failing health prevented her from getting out and about.
She was a truly remarkable woman, very much loved by all.