Hellbent for Enlightenment by Nirgun

Book Reviews

An intriguing journey into Nirgun’s experiences in Pune and Rajneeshpuram

Anand Nirgun grew up in Canada during the thirties and served as a co-director of the United Communities Service in Vancouver where she drew public attention to the absurdities in many government services. Disenchanted with life she dropped her career in the federal cabinet in 1974 and embarked for Poona.

The book is available at oshoviha.org, amazon.com


Hellbent for Enlightenment by Nirgun


Upon hearing about Nirgun’s recent leaving her body, I remembered the book she wrote and published more than a decade ago. Happily rereading the book evoked many memories about Pune 1 and Rajneeshpuram, recalling many of those precious anecdotes she shares from her days in the commune, cooking for Osho – first in Pune and later, also at the ranch. During her regular half-year visits in Pune 2 she tended the gardens around Buddha Hall.

Her path to come to see Osho is yet another unique journey by one of our fellow travelers: on the plane in winter of 1974, flying from Canada to Mumbai she experiences a profound relaxing into silence and decides spontaneously not to speak until she meets Osho. When she does so in darshan on the day of her arrival (!) and asks him if she ought to continue being in silence, Osho responds, “It is unusual. But if it feels right to you, there is no harm in it. Not for a set time, just as long as it feels good. And you will come to darshan and talk to me every week, mmm?”

She manages to communicate by writing answers to people on a slate and it is only after almost two years that she breaks the silence while participating in the Encounter group.

Nirgun’s recollections are witty, perceptive and honest, interspersed with flashbacks to life and experiences in Canada where she was involved in high level social work, and she openly reveals problems within relationships and solving them – in particular with her children; one of them Saguna who lives now in Australia.

Her tales about events in Lao Tzu House in Rajneeshpuram shed light on incidents such as the reasons for the conjunctivitis scare and the attempt on Amrito’s life. And it may be a little-known fact that she flies together with Haridas and Mukta to Charlotte to sit in at the court hearings, embarks on a hunger strike, and stands vigil in pouring rain in front of the court house in Charlotte and later Portland, while Osho is held without arrest warrant in a string of American prisons.

She recalls Hasya visiting Osho in Portland jail and upon coming out saying to her, “Bhagwan has sent a message for you, Nirgun. He says you are to stop your hunger strike…he says he doesn’t want any of his sannyasins suffering because of him.”

Nirgun concludes her story at age 74: “Scientists tell us that nothing in existence can ever go out of existence. Spiritual folk call it ‘life eternal’. For me it’s an inner certainty. Death can take the fading body, the static personality, the prickly ego – take them, and welcome. But it can’t touch the infinite intelligence that throbs in every atom of our being.”

Bhagawati, Osho News

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