…left his body on 16th May 2017.
The funeral will be Friday 2nd June, 2pm St. Marylebone Crematorium, East End Road, East Finchley, London N2 ORZ. The reception is in a private house in Crouch End and the location will be announced at the funeral.
Dharmen (Brian Hemmings) lived most of his life in North London, except for the years he spent in Pune. He travelled to India overland and became a sannyasin in 1978. Some might remember him as the baker of some delicious banana bread and maker of peanut butter, which he sold outside the ashram at the end of morning discourse.
In the early ’80’ he was a member of the Medina Commune in the UK. Parmartha, who was also there writes, “Dharmen had an unusual sort of relationship with the ‘leaders’ of the commune, and one had the impression they made things difficult for him, but always drew back from ejecting him, perhaps in the hope he would himself leave! Once he was directed to work in the Kid’s house where I was the regular worker, but he refused point blank, as he saw it as his idea of hell! To his surprise the leaders relented and he was given other work.”
In 1985, together with Prakrati and Parmartha he produced the magazine Sannyas News (paper version) which then became Here and Now. The digital version of Sannyas News, which is still running strong, was founded in 2000 by Dharmen, Paritosh and Parmartha.
In 1988 he won an English sannyas raffle ticket draw for a ticket to Pune (something he could not have afforded). In Pune he was then part of the Rajneesh Times, where his skills to use Mac computers, which he had taught himself for Sannyas News, must have been appreciated.
Parmartha continues, “After Osho’s death he looked around other teachers and was for a while with Andrew Cohen, but always seemed to retain a thread to sannyas, and went straight to a sannyas house when he left the Cohenites. In his spiritual maturity he felt at home with advaita, and was a stalwart member of a seeded advaita group from the Satyam Nadeen teachings.”
Dharmen had been suffering from rectal cancer and had been recently admitted to the Marie Curie hospice in Hampstead, North London, where he died. He was the partner of Archan for 18 years.
Info thanks to Parmartha’s obit on Sannyas News (sannyasnews.org), Archan, Sharmi Agnidipta and Prabuddho
A leaving darshan with Osho:
[A sannyasin, who is leaving for London, says: Here or in London I really have to go inside.]
You have to go inside – that’s true. Wherever you are, you have to go inside. That’s perfectly true. So make all effort to break the walls. Be almost like an army attacking a castle. It is really a castle, because the mind defends – it throws you out, it does not allow you in. It creates a thousand and one excuses to bring you out again. So one has to be very watchful; otherwise the mind brings distractions, allurements. The moment you start going in, the mind creates many allurements, and at the slightest hint you are distracted. You forget all about the inner journey and you have moved out, and as far away as possible. Each thought takes you away from yourself.
Whenever there is a thought you are away from yourself; when there is no thought you are in. That is the meaning of being in: a state of no-thought. Then you are in. There will not even be the thought, “I am in.” If it is there, you are not in yet. If you are thinking, “Look, Dharmen, how beautiful – I am in,” you are not, because this is a thought. When you are really in there is no Dharmen, no in, no out, no thought, no experience, nothing. Not even a spiritual experience is there. All has dissolved. Nothing is. One is in a state of no-where-ness. Then one is in.
But that’s what has to be done, so whether here or in London, it makes no difference. All the difference that is possible is: here I go on hammering on you again and again to remind you; but that can be done there too.
Help my people there!
God’s Got A Thing About You, Ch 3 – 3rd September 1978
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I remember Dharmen from Medina days where he was happy for a long time in his role as one of the commune’s drivers. He was always at the wheel of one of the better commune vehicles ferrying people back and forth. We also shared the adventure of being in the first group to be sent to Rajneeshpuram to help get the ranch ready for the First Annual World Celebration. In later years he was a great help to me doing the layout on Quark Xpress in the early days of publishing Green Events and teaching me many of these skills. He was always a calm and assiduous worker who never became flustered under the pressure of a tight deadline.
Though estranged after he took sannyas and his marriage broke up, he was the father of Anna Hemmings MBE, world champion canoeist who represented Team GB at two Olympics.
So sad to hear of your passing, old friend. I hope the print servers in heaven are up to speed.
Peter McCaig (Veetgyan)
Thank you for being around whenever we celebrated in London.
Soaring in Love, fly High.