Chandra from Scotland


..left her body on 14 December 2013

From Sagar in Freiburg we hear that his mom Chandra (Norma Aitken) died peacefully at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh. She was wife to late Jack, mother also of Christine, Matthew and James, grannie of Alexa, Joanna, Kirstin, Douglas, Molly and Rosie and sister of Iris and Bill. Chandra’s cremation will take place at Warriston Crematorium in Edinburgh on Friday 20 December 2013 at 2:30pm to which all are welcome. If any of you wish to wear bright colours please feel free to. Please do not bring flowers.


Chandra dictated this text to her son Matthew, in 2012, to be read at her funeral:

Lovely childhood in Colinton.
Four sweet shops in the village.
Go down the shops to decide what to spend your halfpenny on.
Went to fee-paying school (always a struggle as father a bank clerk).
Evacuated to Mid Calder by train for seven months.
Nothing happened.
Seventeen billeted with Lord Torphichen.
Had a wing of Calder Hall and it was there that heard war declared.
Into the local school with two classes in one room.
Outside lavatory which froze.
September through winter.
There with mother and another helper.
Went back to Watson’s boys school.
Put screens up so that we couldn’t see boys.
Under dining room table for a shelter.
Couldn’t afford a shelter.
Several times a week.
Trams full of khaki.
Left school at 15 ½ and trained in wartime nurseries in St Peter’s Place.
Trained Nursery Nurse.
Went to Perth for eight months working as a nursery nurse.
Prisoners of War out on the hill singing.
Very lonely.
Stayed in Melville Street.
Not many options so ended up as a nurse.
Few options.
Get a job until you marry.
Western General training for 3 ½ years then first part of midwifery.
Second part in Queens Institute of District Nurses.
Second part of Midwifery there and Queens general training.
District was Blackford.
Met Jack there when he lodging in home of one of the “clients”.
Went for a meal with the hosts.
Did not think too much of the guy.
Jack wrote to hope that I have met the woman I am going to marry.
Looked like my Grandfather.
Next day invited her out to a Greek restaurant.
Not tall enough for me.
Chose British food in a Greek restaurant.
Led to a row!
Walked from Kilmaurs Road to Colinton!
Met in January and married in June.
Married on Jack’s birthday.
Four children, living in Garscube Terrace furnished flat.
Netherby Road then friend (Drew’s father) lent us £200 (life savings) to put down as a deposit on a house.
First three born at home.
James born in nursing home.
Roof being taken off the house due to an extension.
Given a row for breast feeding by the matron of the nursing home.
Cornelians met fortnightly in each other’s houses.
Wanted to get back to work which was not done at that time.
Worked at Grey’s Mill school for severely physically handicapped children.
Always hard up with school fees.
“You always will send your children to that expensive school”.
Holidays up Glen Fyne.
Dad saw an advert at the Staff Club.
It was too cheap (£5 per week).
Wonderful holidays for children.
Also camping.
Jack loved holidays.
As a child all he had was scout camps.
Read in The Scotsman that there would be an Easter School on meditation at Otterburn and Dr Weiss from Camphill to talk about meditation and yoga.
Isobel MacMillan went too.
Then to Salisbury Centre, Easter Schools in Laurieston Hall.
Then to India.
Went every year for nine years to Easter School (on the tenth year went to see Chris in Verona).
A lady there came back one year dressed in orange with beads.
She ran a dynamic meditation.
Could hardly walk after it.
Lots of this group went to India.
Winifred said “go to India”.
Jack said “good idea”.
Opened an account and started to save.
Left a £1,000 in Janet Templeton’s will.
Went in February 1976.
So much negativity about it from everyone.
Off plane in Bombay, train from Bombay to Poona with Sagar (who came to meet her).
Motor rickshaw to the ashram.
In cottage in grounds of mansion.
Hired a bike to get around.
Had a one to one with Bhagwan.
Asked before if you are going to become a sanyasin – I said yes.
Given new name Ma Anand Chandra.
Three or four visits with Bhagwan.
Very primitive that time.
Every day a two to three hour discourse.
Three weeks in English and three weeks in Hindi. *
You went to the Hindi one even if you did not understand.
Four times to India and four times to Oregon.
Jack did not like, orange, name and beads.
But it was take it or leave it.
He get more involved in the stuff.
Tried some encounter groups.
Eventually went to India together in 1980.
Went on a day trip to Gie it Laldy ** bus trips for elderly.
Notice about Newbattle year’s course.
Year residential.
Scottish Studies.
Gave entry to four universities.
Chose St Andrews (saw students at 17 when there and thought it looked good!).
Party in corridor, I could just switch off.
Stayed in halls.
First University Hall then Macintosh.
There three years doing Scottish Studies including History of Art and Scottish History and English Literature.
Jack died.
Finished that year but decided not to finish the course.
Bellevue Crescent 23 years.
Loved the garden.
Moved to Allanfield.
Lots of time with grandchildren – holidays to Arran.

[* one month in English, one month in Hindi, ed.]
[** Scottish for ‘put in 100% effort’]


You can leave a message / tribute / anecdote using our contact form (pls add ‘Chandra’ in the subject field)…

Beloved Chandra, during the years we lived in Scotland and ran our meditation centre in the Borders, you were very often part of our meditations weekends. You had many stories to tell while were were lunching and sunbathing in the grass (not lawn) of our garden. When you were back in Edinburgh on weekends from St. Andrews we came to visit you at Bellevue Crescent, for tea and cake and stayed overnight in the niche in your kitchen. We were very impressed you took up studying at Uni at that age. Once I was meant to stay in your flat and look after it for a few weeks while working in Edinburgh. My duties were to take care of your garden and your plants. But at closer inspection I failed the test (I did not know how to operate the gas heater). We last saw you when you were packing up to move to Allanfield – and then lost contact because we were living in Glasgow. We still cherish the satsang tapes from Pune 1 you left for us. We both wish you a wonderful journey, and thank you for being in our lives. With love from
Punya and Amiten

I remember Chandra from our times at the Salisbury Centre in Edinburgh together, where she would come and join in the evening meditations. She must have been well into her 70s by that point but showed up the younger, more awkward participants, with her dynamic energy which would overflow especially in the Kundalini Meditation. I was impressed how she stayed open and curious, always asking questions and showing interest – even from one such as myself who knew far less about life and Osho than she did! I’m sure she will be celebrated well.
Jivan Kavyo

Beloved Chandra, a colourful, creative, unique and kind lady, with interesting stories to tell. I met you through Sagar around 25 years ago and have many bright and affectionate memories of you and Jack. After I went to live in Edinburgh for a few years I sometimes visited you and Jack at Bellevue Crescent with Sagar, and occasionally you and I met at the Botanic Gardens, which you loved. On my first visit to Edinburgh you and Jack gave me my first taste of Scottish Haggis which you prepared specially for me (vegetarian of course). We had not been in touch for several years but, during this past year, I kept intending to contact you again, also to let you know that my own beautiful, beloved mum left her body a year ago. Her cremation was 24 December 2012, almost the same time of year as yours. Blessings and peace to you Chandra and thank you for everything. Love,
Prem Sudhadhara

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