Remembering Laxmi

From 'On the Edge' Laxmi in the spotlight Remembering Here&Now

Several friends share moments with Laxmi.

Osho-with-Laxmi-and-Laherubhai-and-friends S

Ageh BhartiAgeh Bharti writes: In December 1969,  I joined  a scheduled camp in Junagarh. On December 11th I met Laxmi from Bombay at the State Government’s Circuit House where Osho was staying during the camp. Laxmi took care of Osho. As I wanted to talk to her, she left her sofa and took a seat on the mat near my feet. I asked her how she feels near Osho? She appeared as if she had melted and spoke in a trance state, ”He is infinite. He is just unique.” I lovingly patted her on her head and said, ”You are a very useful girl to Osho. You are blessed.” She liked my comment very much and later, she became secretary to Osho.

Dharm JyotiExcerpt from’ One Hundred Tales for Ten Thousand Buddhas’ by Dharm Jyoti: Meditation camp will soon be happening in Manali. Today morning, He asks me if I like the orange colour dress of Laxmi. I say, “Yes Osho, it looks good on her.” He says, “It will look good in the meditation camp, the participants wearing the same colour. You get one dress made like Laxmi’s.” He gives the same message to Karuna also. We both agree to it.

Since that message, He has asked us three times if our orange dresses are ready. And our answer is the same, “Not yet.” There is still quite some time until the meditation camp. To my surprise today, I go to see Him and find this big pile of orange cloth sitting in one of the corners of His room. He asks me to cut the piece of cloth for my dress. I feel ashamed for not making my dress in time and giving Him all this trouble. Maybe I was not serious about it, but He looks serious. With the help of a friend, I cut four meters of cloth for me with shaky hands. Some unknown fear grips me and I am unable to look at Him. He calls me and I sit near His feet, with the bundle of cloth in my lap, looking at the floor.

He blesses me by keeping His hand on my head and says, “Get this dress made exactly in the same pattern as Laxmi’s. It will look good on you.” I look at His mischievously smiling face and get more confused, not understanding what He is up to.

LaheruExcerpt from ‘Blessed Moments with Osho’ by Laherubhai, aka Chaitanya Sagar: Osho decided to leave Jabalpur and come and stay in Mumbai permanently for the expansion of his work. Accordingly on July 1, 1970 he arrived in Mumbai. Osho’s residence in Mumbai was arranged at a flat, which was owned by Shri Himatbhai Joshi, a trustee of Jivan Jagruti Kendra, at C.C.I. Chambers, Churchgate. The flat had three bedrooms with one big hall.

We all friends were very happy to hear that Osho was coming to Mumbai for permanent residence. When he arrived in Mumbai, he was welcomed with great joy and celebration.

Osho never wasted a single minute of his time. He used each moment and every opportunity. After coming from Jabalpur, immediately he started daily question answer talks on Kundalini Yoga in continuation with Nargol meditation camp, from July 1, 1970, among forty to fifty friends at C.C.I. Chambers.

In the evening, when some of the friends went to meet him and talk with him, I told him that it was not possible for me to be with him for 24 hours. However, it seemed necessary that one or two people should be with him all the time as his personal secretaries, who would work with responsibility according to his instructions and take care of him.

Osho said, “Okay, fine.” Then he looked at me and asked, “Do you have any such person in your knowledge?” The names of Laxmi and Chinmayji came out of my mouth and Osho immediately agreed to it. From then on Laxmi and Chinmayji were working with total dedication as his personal secretaries. At that time, I had felt that Osho had made me say those two names because it was his wish.

A second excerpt from ‘Blessed Moments with Osho’ by Laherubhai, aka Chaitanya Sagar: From 1970 to 1974, for four years Osho stayed in Woodland Apartments, Mumbai. His cousin sister Krantiben, who was looking after Osho from Jabalpur days, Chinmayji, Narendra and other six to seven friends, lived with Osho in Woodland for 24 hours daily. Laxmi would come early in the morning and would stay in Woodland until late night. Sometimes Osho’s parents and other family members also used to come and stay with him for short periods.

After coming to Mumbai to stay, every day the number of Osho’s visitors went on increasing, and friends from India and abroad started coming for personal meetings and interviews with him. Laxmi used to look after the management of his personal appointments, interviews and meetings etc. She arranged his programs, according to his instructions, very beautifully with much responsibility and dedication, as Osho’s personal secretary. Ma Taru, Ma Darshan, Ma Karuna, Ma Jyoti and other friends used to help Laxmi in her work. Ishwarbhai used to go in the afternoon, and I used to go in the evening everyday for the meeting.

Osho had brought a library of thousands of books from Jabalpur. He used to bring in many new books which he liked and they were being added to his personal library daily. Ma Karuna and Ma Jyoti did the work of arranging his books properly and taking care of them.

In the beginning when Osho used to come from Jabalpur to Mumbai, sometimes, Kakubhai, Laxmi and I used to take Osho to Strand Book Stall situated at D.N. Road and Old and New Books at Kalbadevi, Mumbai to buy new books. Many times, we had to park the car at a distance and go walking in the hot season, and at that time Osho liked to drink cold Coca-Cola.

PunyaExcerpt from ‘On the Edge’, by Punya: As soon as I arrived in Mumbai [1973] I took a taxi to the address in my diary. ‘Woodland’, or ‘Woodlands’ how everybody called it, turned out to be a multi-storied apartment complex in the middle of this busy city. It had a few mature trees in front of it which looked like Cedars of Lebanon to me. The taxi climbed the ramp and dropped me at House A where the uniformed watchman showed me the stairs to the first floor. The door was opened by a servant who ushered me in and introduced me to a little woman who was wearing a kurta and lungi, the traditional Indian outfit I had come to know, and hers was in orange. Later I was told she was called Laxmi and that she was Osho’s secretary. She welcomed me with a fresh smile and told me that there would be a lecture that night at 7pm and that I could come under condition that I was freshly bathed and wearing clean clothes.

She asked me where I was from and when she heard I was from Italy she called for Lalita and Deeksha who were also from Italy. Lalita was hiding behind big glasses and let Deeksha do the talking. She was the perfect PR person for that. They took me down some stairs into the living room. It was quite a sight as its walls were full of shelves crammed with books. Some other people, also wearing orange clothes, were sitting on pillows on the floor, reading or softly talking to each other.

AbhiyanaExcerpt from ‘The Long Reach of the Dharma’ by Abhiyana: To say Ma Yoga Laxmi was Osho’s secretary in the 1970’s is not adequate. She was probably the first person Osho gave initiation to. Laxmi handed Osho his clipboard every morning in discourse and was by his left side every evening in darshan. She was the walking epitome of surrender to the master; she simply trusted and followed his direction without question. Osho once suggested she address herself in the third person, and from that moment on it was “Laxmi feels that…”, “Laxmi has heard…” or “it is his leela (play), not Laxmi’s.” Never was the word “I” uttered from her lips.

Laxmi travelled all over India, searching in vain for a suitable place for our new commune. She met with Indira Gandhi and other top-level politicians, and was named one of the most powerful women in India in the 1970’s. When we left for America, Laxmi was no longer his secretary. It is not easy to be booted out of a powerful position. Just look at all the political leaders who shrivel up after their presidencies. I heard when she found out she had cancer, she accepted the news with total equanimity.

She also hardly ate! I had the privilege of giving her acupuncture regularly for ‘digestive disturbances’; well, I’d be constipated too if I lived on chai and biscuits! But I loved her: her trust, her totality, her sincerity, her being. It was a travesty to see how Sheela abused her in America; perhaps it was Sheela’s revenge for the years of being her subordinate, or the fear of losing her power if Laxmi actually found land for Osho in India.

Laxmi was loved by many.

Prema VeenaVeena writes: As the ashram was becoming very overcrowded and problems were constantly arising due to the fact the place was situated in a very posh suburb in Pune whose influential residents objected strongly to the huge influx of people to their hitherto quiet and elite surrounding, Osho wanted to move. Laxmi was commissioned to go and look for a suitable place. This necessitated a lot of meetings with politicians. One of her other major tasks was to smooth over some of the problems arising from this controversial Master and his sannyasins.

I know it is useless to speculate but so often I wonder how things would have turned out if the efforts to buy the place in Kutch, which Laxmi had found, had not been balked at the 11th hour by one elderly relative refusing to sign the title deeds.

As it was, Laxmi was away so much now that Sheela seized power and the move to the United States took place. From my point of view this was a disaster and my personal feeling is that Osho was unable to do his work in the way that he had envisioned.

In the Oregon circus that then took place I had no contact at all with Laxmi except on one occasion. I was working in PR so was living in a house near Jesus Grove (where Sheela and her cohorts lived) and one night about 9pm I was called and told to go and pick up Laxmi and take her to see Osho. Strange things were happening every day, this was just one more, so I just got in a car, went to her house to pick her up and took her up to Lao Tzu House. She was silent, obviously wondering what this was about and I didn’t press her for an explanation. After about an hour and a half she came out looking a bit fragile and I put her in the car to take her home. She only talked a little bit but it seemed that Osho had told her to go back to India to continue looking for a place for him to return to where he could have all his sannyasins with him. My inference was that he was not happy at being in the USA.

This incident must have happened during the first 2 years of the Ranch. As a Twinkie, doing that PR job, I was very cut off from the everyday life of the Ranch so I don’t know what the consequence of that meeting was except that I think that Laxmi did leave the Ranch some time after that. I know she wasn’t around during later times. That was sadly the last time I had any contact with her.

BhagawatiBhagawati writes: It was in August 1985 when I secretly went off one late evening to visit Laxmi in Alan Watts, where she was staying in an A-Frame, together with Dassana. Although Osho had said for her to stay on the Ranch and she was to be taken care of, rumour had it that visiting Laxmi was not encouraged by the management.

I was actually still coming to grips about many rumours that circulated as I had spent the first half of the year visiting European Osho centres and doing media work and didn’t get much news. When I returned before the Fourth Annual World Celebration I was shocked to feel a very different energy and several changes I had heard nothing about, such as a barbed wire fence strung around Jesus Grove.

The A-Frame was dimly lit when I walked in, and Laxmi was lying on her bed. I was happy to visit as it had been a long time that I had seen her. I had heard that her health was frail, and that she had to have an operation to remove a tumour from her stomach. I sat down on the floor next to her bed and we talked a bit; I was glad to feel her strong energy in spite of the health problems. Suddenly her eyes bored into mine and she said, “It is not safe here, be careful, it is dangerous!”

She wouldn’t say more and I took leave, feeling bewildered. I did not understand her warning and did not see her again as she left Rajneeshpuram shortly after. Only several weeks later, when Sheela took off and we found out about what had been going on under our noses for years, and Osho was wrongly arrested and deported, was I able to comprehend Laxmi’s words.

Atul recorded Laxmi on video speaking in Hindi and asked: What are your feelings and thoughts on these newly introduced meditations?

Osho’s meditation techniques are complete and timeless. They should not be meddled with. New techniques are certainly appropriate for therapies but not for meditations. Osho gave many, many talks on techniques. Indeed, he revitalised the Vigyan Bhairav Tantra and evolved meditations for the modern mind. We do not have the depth of insight to invent new meditations. And Osho would never have suggested techniques to a few people to be used at some future date after his death. He once told Laxmi years ago in Mumbai that, after his death, there would be floods of followers claiming special knowledge. Laxmi is sharing this with you, Atul, because his presence and his showering of love for many years have blessed her. Friends can hear Laxmi’s words and then decide to value them or to bin them.

Featured image thanks to Laherubhai

Related article
The Only Life: Osho, Laxmi and a Journey of the Heart – A most significant and comprehensive book about Laxmi’s life written by Rashid Maxwell has been published on December 11, 2017; reviewed by Bhagawati

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