A Bead and a Box

Remembering Here&Now

Veena describes the journey of a mala bead and a box given by Osho.

Bead and Box

The past few months have not been too easy. My stars or planets or constellations or whathaveyou seemed to have been buzzing around on crashing collision courses. A week or so ago I was lying on my bed invoking the usual Osho strategies to deal with such situations – ‘this too will pass’; ‘consider the lilies of the valley’; ‘this is what existence wants for you right now’; ‘from the chaos the phoenix will soon arise’ – when my smart phone next to my bed whistled at me. On checking I found there was an email from my eighty-nine-year-old aunt in South Africa. Most surprising! I had never received an email from her before….

When I was running the Nirvano Meditation Centre in Bell Street, London, in 1973, I got a phone call from my cousin, who was studying in London, to say that our grandfather was very ill in South Africa and would possibly not be alive for much longer. He was flying back to be with him. I could not return to South Africa so I had the idea to take a bead from my mala and give it to him to give to my grandfather. I asked my cousin to put the bead around my grandfather’s wrist (I had attached it to a thin cord) and tell him that this meant that I was with him even though I was physically far away. My brother later told me that the family and the doctors were astonished to see that within two days my grandfather recovered and continued to live to the grand old age of ninety-six!

My mother freaked out and wouldn’t communicate with me for three months because she thought I was doing voodoo or something! No, it was just Osho and my grandfather’s openness and trust!

Later I told Osho what I had done and asked him if I should get another bead for my mala but he just laughed and said no, it was fine as it was.

Fast forward to early days in Pune…. My mother had written to me telling me she was upset because she had hoped to retire at sixty but the government had just changed the rules which meant she would have to work until she was sixty-five. She was contesting the ruling but was afraid she would lose. I told Osho about this and he said that if she sent him a photo of herself and started to do a humming meditation, he could help her. (It was not Nadabrahma as we now know it – just a humming exercise.) As she had been so anti-Osho, I doubted that she would do that but, amazingly, she did send a photo and wrote that she loved doing the humming. A few weeks later she was told she could retire on full pension at sixty. Hmmmnnn, our master at it again?

The following year, a friend of mine arrived from my home town in South Africa to see me and to see this man who had changed my life. In those days darshan was on the Lao Tzu House porch and, as there were only a few people around, it was quite easy to get an appointment so I went with him and introduced him to Osho. Osho really seemed to love him and gave him a lot of energy while he was there. I also went with him for his leaving darshan and when he came forward to say goodbye, Osho called me up to sit next to him. Osho had just started to give people boxes as a leaving gift and presented my friend with one. He then leaned back, looked at me for a while, then looked back at my friend and said, ‘You can see Veena’s mother in South Africa?’ When my friend replied ‘yes’, Osho turned to Laxmi and asked her to bring another box. He gave it to my friend and asked him to give it to my mother. I was of course in tears at Osho’s loving gesture. Actually my mother died within the year and I wondered if he had somehow seen that and was showering her with his blessings.

I never thought about what happened to the bead and the box….

Imagine my surprise, then, when I read my old aunt’s email. She told me that among the things she had inherited from my mother was a sandalwood box with a wooden bead in it. Did this have any significance for me? If so, did I want them, because my cousin was coming to the UK in a few days and she could bring them to me. I was quite stunned. I was pretty sure the bead was the 108th bead from my mala but was the box the one that Osho had sent to my mother?

A few days ago I met my cousin in London and yes, it was the box given to my mother. So now, after about forty years, my mala is complete again and I have a very special Osho box – and I can see my phoenix fluttering and my stars regrouping to start their usual joyful dance again.


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