When my life really began

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Dharm Jyoti speaks about the search for her master.


Dharm Jyoti was born in 1940 in Karachi, now Pakistan, before the Partition was implemented that divided India. Her parents told her that she weighed in at nine pounds at birth, had thick curly hair and looked like a sadhu! She was already attending school at age 5 when the atrocious killings between Muslims and Hindus took place, and her family fled by ship to India where they lived in camps for several years. In spite of the meagre circumstances, Jyoti has no memory of unhappy moments in the camp: “It was similar to commune life, everybody had the same.”

Jyoti recalled a day in her young life, at about age 4, when she began to understand that children were not just children but that there were boys and there were girls: “I was shocked! I thought how did I become a girl? How would I manage to go to the mountains by myself? My father might force me to marry, but I won’t want that. I was very worried and decided to study, be financially independent and then if forced to marry, I would run away.”

After her studies, Jyoti worked in the office of a transport company, yet she knew there was more she wanted from life and somehow knew she was going to find it. She signed out books about philosophy and religion from the library, visited various gurus living in Bombay at the time, listened to their discourses – “but I wasn’t touched. The search was there but I was so frustrated to realize that there were no real masters, nobody like Ramakrishna, Ramana, Ramateertha, Vivekananda. I read so many scriptures but they were only theory; I wanted self-realization and the question was how to go about it.”

Against all odds about six months before she actually saw Osho, she had a strong feeling that somebody was there and that she would meet him.

Walking along the road one day, she saw a banner announcing that a certain Acharya Rajneesh was going to give discourses at Sunmukhananda Hall. She had never heard of him before but felt attracted and went to go listen to him. It was January 21, 1968 and she was 26 years old.

The moment Osho appeared – wearing a white lunghi and shawl – and sat down, her heart throbbed with excitement and anticipation although she could hardly see his face: “I hear his sweet but strong voice addressing the audience as ‘Mere Priya Atman – my beloved souls.’ Suddenly there is pin drop silence in the auditorium. I experience his voice taking me into a deep relaxation and I am listening to him in utter silence. My mind has stopped: only his voice is echoing inside me. I am in a total ‘Aha!’ and wonder: He is answering all the questions which have been bothering me for years.”

She knew she had found her master and Jyoti smiled, “This is when my life really began.”

For more than a dozen years now, Jyoti has been traveling widely in Europe, the USA, Russia, India, Australia, and Japan, leading meditation camps and conducting Mystic Rose, Born Again, and Conscious Living and Dying. She said, “I used to feel Osho is confined to Pune but when I left and directed camps I realized that he is everywhere, in every sannyasin.”

In-between travels she lives at the Osho Rajyoga Center in Delhi where she sometimes cooks delicious meals when friends visit and embraces everybody she meets with her abundant love.


Bhagawati is a communicator, writer and author with a penchant for gardening and India.


Read Bhagawati’s review of Jyoti’s book, One Hundred Tales for Ten Thousand Buddhas

Read an excerpt from the book: I Am A Gardener

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