(11 August 1949 – 13 July 2019)
From an obituary written by friends of Nartana:
Linda “Elianne” Rita Obadia [aka Nartana, ed.] was raised in a Jewish home in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother’s family came from France, and her father emigrated from Fez, Morocco. Her mother was a homemaker and her father worked as the accountant in a family fabric business. Elianne was a high school cheerleader and graduated with a B.A. in Speech from the University of New York (Albany). Her two sisters died before her. None of the three sisters had children.
From that family beginning Elianne entered a most eclectic journey. While visiting a cathedral in France as a young woman during travels with her father, she was struck by a wholly unexpected epiphany. The presence of Christ came powerfully upon her, much to her surprise and her father’s, and she knelt, overcome in this light. This experience would permanently, but not immediately set her life trajectory.
After a brief period with the Holy Order of Mans, she next found herself taking sannyas vows with the guru from India, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, later called Osho. She took on the name of Nartana (“Nartzy”), meaning dancer. She spent twenty years with this group and traveled to Germany; Pune, India; and to Oregon where she participated working hard and long hours [as editor of the Rajneesh Times and] building a new rural town, Rajneeshpuram whose activities became infamous and that was later dissolved. She became a west coast woman and moved to Marin County, California where she became the managing editor of Viha Connection that provided news about the Osho community. Elianne cofounded the Marin Editors’ Group with Netty Kahan, and co-founded the publishing house Origin Press with Byron Belistsos.
Her business of decades, “The Writer’s Midwife” was editing books, being a true wordsmith who spoke French, some German, some Hebrew. Many books were successfully published by authors on topics of consciousness, personal discovery, and spirituality. Several commented, “She taught me how to write.” Her long hours on video calls with authors had much to do with her special way of “midwifing” the author’s thoughts into clear, understandable expressions, sentence by sentence. For just one example among many, she recently completed a years-long project of masterfully editing Living in Truth, Beauty, and Goodness by philosopher Jeffrey Wattles and Stephen J. Post, Cascade Books.
Elianne certainly was a fervent seeker of truth. After her time with the Osho community she found herself at a life-changing gathering of lovely new friends in Florida, called “Celestial Nights.” At this time she discovered again the presence of God and the reality of Christ Jesus and Machiventa Melchizedek. She was baptized, and took up the study of The Urantia Book, the revelation that became the guiding light for the remainder of her life.
With a great zeal, she became a pastor of The Church of Christ Michael in Marin County, using space provided in the sanctuary of a local church. She attended faithfully over liturgy, music, and the social needs of those who came under her pastoral care. She instituted the weekly “healing seat” where a seeker would sit at the front of the sanctuary and receive the support and spiritual renewal they sought.
Elianne’s next move was to Arizona where she lived seven years for the remainder of her life with Joshua J. Wilson. She was at the top of her game in editing and under high demand. They were glorious years of travel, entertaining friends in her home, camping, hiking, biking, gardening, attending fine arts performances, Tempe Community Chorus, tap dancing, Toastmasters, attending and teaching at conferences, arranging gatherings and costume parties, and becoming part of a large surrogate family replete with the birth of grandchildren.
For over a decade she conducted a weekly morning prayer call on her conference line. She was a constant on the regular “Mother Spirit video calls” with her sisters and fellow seekers. Elianne was a faithful lector at her Catholic church, dressed beautifully, and beaming forth the words of the gospel each Sunday evening with a clear voice of compassion and conviction.
Elianne was conservative in her politics, outspoken in her beliefs, and deftly moved among many religions and philosophies. She got much joy from donating to the missions and organizations she deemed worthy and important, such as those promoting religious education, family formation and opposing abortion. The mailbox filled up daily with replies.
She recently drew out a map of circles on a big poster board of her many close friends. I would love to name five people that were mutually influential in a big way. But then I would have to leave out 55 others. Her telephone dial pad numbers are worn from use, and she had to replace the alphabet keys on her computer. She loved to keep in contact! But when she helped someone, it was more than a good phone call. She would arrange travel itineraries, funds for seminars, subscriptions, literature. She had the special gift of putting people together. She wanted the “circle to be unbroken” in heaven, and she rejoiced greatly, shortly before her death, when one hold out came into the fold. When she would walk to the neighborhood park it was not uncommon for her to return with stories or to even bring people into the living room. One night recently in the park at 3 a.m., with her walker in front of her, she counseled a black man who had been kicked out of the house by his wife. All who came in contact with her great big love gained something new in their spirit—she believed in them, and each felt it.
They didn’t grow gardens in Brooklyn. She loved her two sisters. Parental relationships were distant. Elianne survived cults, the challenges of making her own living, betrayals and inconstancies, losing her sight and regaining it, and finally loss of health. Everyone agrees she had a massive intellect, and a big heart to go with it. She was also opinionated which worked sometimes in her favor, and other times, not. But we all enter the next life with those soul transcripts only of our useful, learned insights. There is no substitute in all the wide universe for experience, and she had much of it.
Elianne has written a book that introduces those who know the Absolute of all to the idea of deity also as personal. The central feature of her life is her personal and eternal relationship with God, deity, the Trinity, Christ Michael and the Universe Mother Spirit—all as persons, even though they are beyond what wee mortals can conceive of, even as super personalities. This will be her unique contribution; it is in the hands of a publisher now and will be disseminated posthumously along with her poems and other collected writings.
We will all remember Elianne as slim, dancing, with big hair (one friend nicknamed her “Sheep”) and with a gorgeous smile. A sweetheart. Enthusiasm for life. She said her purpose in this life was “learning to love.” We love her. Our fires will be lit from hers for a long time.
Elianne had a great voice, excellent pitch, and had memorized dozens of songs and show tunes. At an international conference in Denver, Colorado, 2017, with microphone in hand, Elianne led the big group in singing the song, “I Believe the Promise.”
Credit to Arjuna
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