…left his body on 24th February 2018
Devopama we love you!
Has there ever been a more gentle soul?
He is such a dear heart.
Such a beautiful soul.
What a dear Gentle Man he is.
I get a sense of peace seeing Devopama sitting with the flowers.
Many memories of the times together in Santa Fe.
So many of us always feel loving tenderness for him!
Many sweet friendship memories from long ago.
Sweet memories of your laughter when we would have a chat from time to time.
Thank you for all the good care you took of my body in Poona 1, I wouldn’t have survived without you.
My dear old not forgotten friend.
Osho’s beautiful family…
These are just a few of the many, many tributes sent to our beloved friend, Devopama, who has just left his body for the farthest shore. He touched the hearts of so many people around the world.
Photos credit to Veena and Bhagawati
As most of you know, Devo was tragically afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis as long as twenty-five years ago and the persistent onslaught of this debilitating disease forced him finally to accept he would need 24-hour-care which only a care home could provide. As well as nearby friends and his loving and courageous partner, Lyn, many of you have supported him through the years by coming to visit and by sending loving messages, cards, postcards, colourful calendars and pictures to hang on his wall. He never got rid of anything – preferring to surround himself with these images positioned on every available space in his room. He said that, in this way, he felt surrounded by his friends even if they were on the other side of the planet.
All this support is testament to the intelligent, talented, creative – and loving and humorous (remember that wry smile?) – person that he was. The third of a family of four brothers, he started off with an academic career, becoming first a historian and subsequently a Fine Arts academic – in both cases he lectured at various universities, one in South Hampton and one in southern Canada. As a professor of History he wrote the well-acclaimed book, The Paris Commune 1871, which is still in print and available online. It apparently won a ‘Book of the Month’ award.
On his return to the UK from his sabbatical tenure in Canada, he ended up in London and his life took a dramatic change in direction! Osho and sannyasins appeared on his scene and he met new friends like Abhiyana, Shyam Singha, Gopa, Nritya and many other sannyasins. The first outcome was that he decided to study acupuncture at The Chinese School of Acupuncture, UK, where he met fellow students Abhiyana and Samveda (although they weren’t sannyasins yet). The second outcome was that he fell in love with Pankaja Brooke and eventually went to India with her (unwillingly, she says!). Once there he naturally fell in love with Osho as well and became Swami Anand Devopama (divine-like bliss). At the same time, Panky ruefully says, they very quickly broke up – too many other tempting juicer morsels (her words!) to be resisted – and went their separate ways. He stayed in Pune and worked as an acupuncturist in our Healing Centre.
When we moved to the Ranch, Devo mostly worked in Legal Services. After the Ranch he went to Santa Fe where a number of sannyasins had gathered. He had to study more in order to qualify to practice as an acupuncturist in the USA. He eventually taught at the International Institute of Chinese Medicine where both Bettina and Nityamo were his students. Bettina remembers seeing him becoming noticeably frail with the MS and, after he left the Institute, she says he underwent treatment by Klinghard and other alternative healers. Gyano remembers being invited to give him ‘tickle therapy’ and having some great laughs together! Nityamo says he was ’gentle and loving and intelligent and certainly not your run-of-the-mill acupuncture school teacher. He also made us think.’
Govind feels that Devopama was really happy in Santa Fe and it was the last time he could be free and independent. Govind also mentions a Sufi spiritual leader called Edith with whom Devo was close. He doesn’t know more about her but I remember her sending cards and letters to Devo here in the UK.
On his return to England, Devo went to live in west Devon near the Ko Hsuan school. He shared a house with Rashid, Nishita and Rajen. It was at this time, when attending a lecture by David Ferguson, that he met his life-long partner, Lyn Gleeson. She said that she noticed him sitting in the hall and decided that he looked to be an interesting and special person so she went to talk to him. They fell in love and were together for the rest of his life.
At this point I would like to pay tribute to Lyn and her devotion to Devopama. She was the light and love of his life and has stayed with him through all the trials of his illness. I think his declining years would have been sorrowful indeed without her being unfailingly there for him and lifting his spirits when things got hard for him. What a generous, compassionate, loving woman! Thank you from all of us for supporting him for so long.
When it became obvious to both himself and Lyn that he needed round-the-clock professional care, Devo moved first to a care home in Paignton to be near the sannyasin community that had gathered around Totnes. He later moved to a Royal British Legion care home just outside Taunton in Somerset. This was a far superior home to the first one – in fact, it is probably one of the best in the UK. It is purpose-built with many facilities and services to make life as comfortable as possible for the patients in long-term care.
I also would like to pay tribute to the staff of the Home for their loving and compassionate care of Devo over so many years (about 16 years, I think). Their job is not easy but their patience and care is never ending. Over these last few weeks, their concern for him has been incredible. They arranged his room beautifully, played soft meditative music, brought in a mechanized water feature which made soothing water sound and placed a soft light behind his head. And constantly kept Lyn in touch with how he was faring. Deep and heartful gratitude to Paul and everyone there.
Of course, life was not easy for Devo. None of us would like to be in an institution, away from family and friends, but his courage in facing the problems and accepting them was amazing. As the disease progressed he became less and less mobile and was always in pain. But his computer, the TV, his music, and his many, many books kept his lively mind active and occupied. He travelled vicariously to India via Rashid, and to China via me and he was always interested in our experiences in these countries!
And then there was the rose garden – his solace and sanctuary. Whenever weather permitted, he was out there in his wheel chair absorbing the colours and fragrances of these gorgeous flowers. Friends visiting on sunny days could share this delight with him.
And the best way to make him smile was to mention the word ‘Osho’. He never tired of hearing visiting sannyasins’ stories of being with Osho and all the wonderful things they had experienced and learned.
He was so much loved and will be sorely missed, but it was time to leave this frail and painful body and to sail away to whatever adventure awaits his soul in unknown time and space. He left silently, peacefully and joyfully – a right and perfect departure.
Drawings by Rashid
Bhagawati wrote for Viha Connection (September/October 2005):
Having been pen pals for many years I have seen Devopama’s remarkable inner strength dealing with this debilitating disease. I am touched by the views and insights he shares in his mails and with his permission, here’s one of them about healing:
“I am not into the channeled teachings these days. But thinking over what you sent me of Emmanuel, one phrase has remained with me – ‘Healing can take place instantaneously if there is recognition of the truth of what has caused the illness. So illness is, without exception, a somatizing of that which the consciousness has been unwilling to receive.’
“I prefer not to talk of a soul and its ‘agreements’. That is to anthropomorphize a deeper mystery – how we are a collection of genes with a history going back through our parents and beyond to the very first anthropoids and beyond them to the stars. I find that mind blowing. And then how we each have our personal history going back to our earliest years and conception. Somewhere in all that disease is created. How has my body-mind come to develop the disease, why just me and not any of my brothers. All fascinating, insoluble questions.
“Now the two questions are what, if anything, can be done … at present that search keeps me busy and occupied. And then the key issue – can I accept, welcome, be friends with, even love the MS as part of my body, myself? A whole relationship has developed around it.”
A Celebration of the life of Devopama will be held on 5th March, 2pm at Dunkirk Memorial House, Bishops Lydeard
Read Devopama’s story how he came to meet Osho:
The shift from head to heart
Read Osho’s answer to Devopama’s question:
What is the connection between laughter and sex?
Photos © Amano Samarpan
You can leave a message / tribute / anecdote using our contact form (please add ‘Devopama’ in the subject field)
I have had the privilege of visiting Devopama over the course of the last few months, while living nearby. It was always a peaceful experience for me to sit with him – he was a gentle soul indeed. And I’m happy now that he has moved on from his body, which was obviously difficult for him to live inside. Love and blessings, dear Devopama – you will not be forgotten.
When I look at all the one-line FB tributes to Devopama, the words most repeated are ‘sweet’ and ‘gentle.’ Yes Devo, you are one of the kindest men I have ever met.
We met in acupuncture school in 1976, neither of us knowing we’d be practising together in Osho’s Buddhafield in a few short years. You were the introvert next to my extrovert personality. With (Iranian doctor) Hamid, we taught a Beginners’ Acupuncture Training, and complemented each other exquisitely.
I never heard you uttering a bad judgment about anyone. If anything, you were self-deprecating. And that’s ‘self’ with a small ‘s’.
You were always the sensitive one. And when you found yourself with the dreaded M.S., you travelled the world looking for a cure. I suggested you write a book about your experiences, and you only replied that nothing had really helped your condition but meditation.
We Skyped many times in the last few years, and I always felt sorry for you, cooped up in a sick body in an “old folks” home. I have treated many people with M.S. over the years, and you are the only one who never complained, never dropped into the ‘angry victim’. You kept your humor, your devotion to Osho and to life.
Fare thee well, my needle brother. Thanks to you, I am more kind, gentle and sweet.
Yes, I also remember Devopama as a loving, gentle being – very alive, sparkling and intelligent, with that wry, British humor (or humour if you prefer!)
I used to occasionally visit with him when I lived in Boulder, Colorado and he was visiting from Santa Fe. I lost contact with him when I moved to Sedona, Arizona. Pity that I never saw him again.
Bon Voyage, my friend!
Dearest Most Beloved Devopama, already I have poured my tributes out to those friends who told me you had at last succumbed….
But here again, how can I express how grateful I was when you moved into my London house shortly before sannyas and saved me from deep depression just by being there. You cooked miraculous vegetable stews and we read poetry and talked about art and philosophy in those heady days before meditation had entered our lives. A friend for life…
Years later, visiting on those occasions I was in England, sitting with you by the koi pond or first being introduced to a bowling green that none of the residents wanted to use, and later converted to a rose garden – which all of them did…
Dear, intelligent, soft spoken, loyal, poetic friend, with your wry humour… fly joyfully on to your next phase in this huge merry-go-round of existence… And thank you Lyn, who I only met once, for taking so much loving care of him through all those difficult years…
When Devopama gave me acupuncture sessions in Poona, he always told me he only treated women like that… with a tinkle in his loving eyes…
Farewell Devo, much love and hugs.