(15 September 1953 – 4 May 2017)
Swami Neelesh Bharti (Neelesh Patel) was born in the village of Kosamba, Gujarat, India, into a Hindu family. He trained as a Biology teacher and obtained a university degree. In 1979 he went to Pune and took sannyas from Osho.
Neelesh had been in love with a girl at school but her parents would not allow them to marry. His parents later arranged a marriage for him with an Indian girl who came from England to Gujarat. He had just taken sannyas and told his future wife this. She said she didn’t mind, and they married. Bringing him to UK, she tried to force Neelesh to give up his sannyas but he refused, so she divorced him and tried to have him deported. She failed in that.
Neelesh was going every weekend with Indian sannyasin friends from London to the Medina Osho meditation centre in Suffolk. There he met Devika. They married and stayed together for four years, then both followed Osho back to Pune after Rajneeshpuram ended. Devika remained in Pune in order to be with Osho and work in Osho’s Commune. Neelesh returned to London to work again in the franchises of petrol stations he was managing.
Neelesh had been chewing betel nut for many years and this finally was the cause of his suffering from jaw cancer. He endured several big operations in London and suffered a lot of pain at the end of his life, especially in the last two years. He was 63 when he died.
Text and photo thanks to Devika
You can send a message / tribute / anecdote by email to web (at) oshonews (dot) com (pls add ‘Neelesh’ in the subject field)…
I just want to tell you that I really loved you and you helped me a lot when we were together. You came to me as the answer to a prayer when I was having a nervous breakdown after Osho had left India and gone to USA. The security of living with you for four years brought me right up and out of my dark hole. You were a little part of India for me in England. By the time Osho returned to Pune again, I was well and strong and able to stay there and work as I had done in Pune One. I left you only because I loved Osho more and I know you understood that. Osho was the most important being in our lives.
I saw you nearly every year in Pune after we split up and I loved seeing you there. We always sat and had a meal together and chatted. The last time I saw you there you had already had one cancer operation and I hoped you were going to get better. You said you were coming back to live in India again, in Pune, but unfortunately this was not to be, as after returning to London, your cancer got worse. As we waved to each other for the last time and you walked out of the main gate of the Osho Meditation Resort, just by chance they played your favourite song in Buddha Grove during the morning dance celebration. It made me cry. I didn’t know it was the last time I would see you in your body.
Your ashes were later brought back to Gujarat, India.
I always felt we had been brother and sister in an Indian village in a past life. In this life I once visited your Gujarati village and stayed in the round thatched cottage owned by your father. I loved it there.
Fly high in joy with Osho, Neelesh, and thank you for the time we had together. It was beautiful.