…left his body on 9th August 2017.
Siddartha was born and raised in Baltimore, USA, in an observant Jewish family. He was a bright and inquisitive child, with a wild streak. Nevertheless, he seemed – at least in the beginning – to fit into normal American life; he went to University, became a psychiatrist, was in the army as a doctor in the Vietnam War and raised a family.
In the ’60s, however, when America was swept by many alternative ways of life, he met who was then called The Central Park Guru, an American Jew who had come back from India and had had quite amazing experiences. Sid joined the group, and with them travelled through the States and on to Central America, until finally settling in a commune in Itaka, N.Y.
Sid then travelled to India to check out the teachers there and, after some roaming around, met Osho and, at his prompting, took sannyas. Then followed his years in Osho’s communes in India, at Rajneeshpuram in Oregon, and back again in India.
Another project that Sid followed throught his life was what he called the Osho Yahweh Mystery School. It was a mix of Osho’s teachings and those of a Black American Christian preacher. He gave the last lesson just days before he left his body.
Siddartha was based in Amsterdam and Goa where he participated in the Panda Chi Tai Chi class and was renowned for his parties on the cliff side in Arambol. He never missed a spiritual gathering or party and – travelling around the world – he listened and argued with gurus and ‘satsang givers’.
This spring, after spending a month in hospital in Boston, due to complications from his lifetime of smoking, sucking down 8 litres of oxygen a day with no recovery in sight, he told the doctors he believed in Krishna and miracles, walked out the door and flew to Goa to celebrate his 80th birthday with a party in Arambol. Continuing his travels to the Himalayas he again celebrated his birthday (there were in fact a total of 8 celebrations), climbed the hills and enjoyed parties, undisturbed that he was hooked up to an oxygen bottle with tubes sticking out his nose. In May then he finished writing his autobiography in Manali. The book should soon be available online.
Siddartha died from a heart attack in Amsterdam, at the side of his long-time partner Vitesha. He had been whisked to the local hospital and did not recover after his fall.
Sid’s life was full of adventures, of turbulent love stories, amazing insights but, above all, full of celebration. He was cantankerous and charming, irritating and sweet, opinionated and a fantastic listener; he was full of humour, wild and crazy, and a totally passionate person. He radated generosity – always giving double of what he was asked – and will be remembered for all the good times, the laughs, the parties and ceremonies!
His send-off will be on Saturday, 12th August, 4.45 till 6pm – meet at 4am at the entrance of Westgaarde Ookmeerweg 275 1087 SP Amsterdam. On Sunday there will be a celebration in the church in Ruigoord starting at 2pm.
Text thanks to Iris (above all), to Rantu, Gaby, Gardner and Anurag
Photos thanks to Loka, Ilaa, Jinny, Anita, Ashvabodhi, Dhyanraj and Gardner
Siddartha sings a song in Vashisht which he visited for his 80th birthday – video by Gaby Frischlander, sound recording by Dory Fuchs Floyd:
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My friend, Siddartha Kaufman, left us yesterday. He celebrated his 80th in Vashisht just a few months ago (actually one of 8 celebrations for his 80th), climbing the Himalayas with an oxygen machine and a tube sticking out his nose to party with his friends.
He once told me I was the sanest person he ever met (he was famous for thinking everybody is crazy). I asked him if he could put that in writing so I can show people that I’m certified normal by a licensed psychiatrist. He said: “I’ll give you two certifications, one that you’re normal and one that you’re crazy, for whichever occasion you need.”
It’s not only the humor, it is asking a friend for something and him offering double of what I asked. That is admirable in a person.
I only met him this year and wished I’d met him much sooner.
You always flew! Now you are taking your final flight from this plane. To meet you in Oregon, Pune, or in the USA, was always a joy. Thank you for your love, gentleness, your humor. Hope to meet up with you and all the other beloveds that have flown before. Party time! Much love.
I really like crazy people like you. A psychologist from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who drove a bus at the ranch with a shirt so ripped that you got reprimanded by one of the coordinators. In early Poona 2 you pulled a garbage trolley through the Ashram with a big grin on your face. In Amsterdam I talked you into coming with us at a Wayne Liquorman retreat and you really got Wayne going with your questions, with a grin on your face. Love you man, fly high, Sid.
Living in Amsterdam you are bound to come across Siddhartha once in a while. I remember him telling me the story how he travelled India in the seventies and came across this meditation camp in Mount Abu, Rajasthan, with some guru Acharya Rajneesh. His first reaction – ‘after all, I’m an old Jew’ – was that the price of the weekend, 100 rupees at the time, was a ‘rip-off!’
Beautiful heart of light, when I saw you the first time in Amsterdam, in 1989, while you where there trying to find a flat and then came to see mine. You promptly proposed to ‘do massage’; I felt shocked and warmly embraced, as always..
Further connections, from time to time; warmly hugged, sitting on your lap, feeling safe and seen. We did provoking lots to socially enlightened ones who came to Amsterdam to give satsangs. Once in a Ruigoord Festival you didn’t have a tent to stay. So you came to comfort yourself in my tent. In Ruigoord, people used to dress up fancy so did I, in a too small catsuit, dancing. Later in my tent still in this catsuit you helped me out of the costume, hilarious but true.
Years later you came to my birthday together with Vitesha, to my flat, seeing details and being so warmhearted. I felt your love, your good listening, your interest. You accepted me as myself, no matter how and in what space, in a catsuit or even without.
Always a Yes, a laughter of joy. You were very sensitive and chose the right words, to speak or being quiet. I felt so received. Yes, Sidd, you were a great giver and always on the go.
Every year back in town, I took you for granted. Now I see how you comforted me – and all of us – as Esther shared all your treasure. OK last year at night we watched the moon in your garden and saw all the photos and your stories stored on your laptop. In all stories I felt there was so much love towards all the people you had adventures with. Endless.
My anecdote ends here, even though I have plenty more in mind now. The one in my catsuit is so hilarious and also so heartwarming; how Sidd helped me out of the suit and then got a space to sleep. On 21st Juli, at his 80,5-year-party, I felt vulnerable. Siddartha was open but rough in his words as if he has lost his power – even after his stay at the Boston hospital and his travel. He was very tired.
He didn’t show up at the Ruigord Festival this year. Vitesha was in the Salon alone. I felt Sidd was sleeping deep at home. Two days afterwards the angels were listening, God listening… music that, right after the moon eclipse, gave me breathless sensations. In the morning a Facebook message said Sidd left his body. So everything fell into place, as 21st Juli, the longest summer day, had shown already… He was ready to fly high. RIP, Siddartha, I will miss your good listening, your heart-warmed high hugs, your very observing eyes, your critical mind, your love and Yes to life. Beyond stories or anecdotes… miss you. Thxx so much ♡!