(11 August 1952 – 27 February 2020)
My best friend of 42 years died peacefully in a hospice bed in Llandudno on 27th February, at 6.30 in the morning. Simant means “no boundaries” and she had a boundless enthusiasm for life, a sparkling smile and huge energy which her body couldn’t always keep up with!
We became friends in North Wales in 1978 when I was 18 and Simant was 26. She, an avid activist and women’s libber, was my hero, and when she went to Pune and came back a sannyasin my preconceptions of sannyas were shattered. Although we were apart geographically for the last 35 years, our lives continued to be entwined and we never stopped having 2-hour conversations on the phone several times a year.
She always had the ideal of living in a commune, and that was why our sannyas world was so special for her. Whenever I would call her up, as our standing joke, I would ask “So where have you found for me to live now and what’s the job?” She dreamed of having all her old friends come back to North Wales to live together in a communal situation and was forever looking at houses with that in view.
I just spent two weeks with her (on hospital protection duty!) and right before I left last week, she was able to get a bed in a beautiful, quiet, calm hospice in Llandudno. The hospice nurse got her triple chocolate ice-cream from the small company that her dad had worked at, and they even sent one of the workers who remembered her dad to bring it to her. You should have seen the bliss on her face when she had a spoonful! She had been unable to eat for a while, so this was magic.
Although she never got her later-in-life sannyas commune dream, she lived with her partner and his children and latterly had grandchildren whom she loved dearly. Her sister, brother, close and extended family, as well as old friends of the area constituted her extended commune.
This is what Osho had to say about her name (Zorba the Buddha, Ch 16):
Simant means the end of all boundaries.
Sannyas is the end of all boundaries. To become a sannyasin means that now you will not remain confined in any conditioning, that slowly slowly you will drop all the programmes that the society has imposed upon you. The whole process of sannyas is that of de-programming, de-conditioning, de-hypnosis. The moment all conditions are dropped and you are innocent again, all that you had always desired and longed for immediately happens, and it happens of its own accord. You are not to positively do anything for it, the whole effort is negative: you have to drop many things.
When there is nothing clinging to you and you are not clinging to anything, in that state of non-clinging, it happens: truth happens, god happens.
It can happen only when you have the innocence of a child – fresh like a dew-drop, clean like a sky without clouds, empty, with no content. When there is no content inside, the mind cannot project anything. When there is emptiness inside, the mind goes into non-functioning, and the non-functioning of the mind is the beginning of god.
To cease as a mind is to start living as a god. Cessation of the mind is the beginning of divine, eternal life. …
Sannyas is … a process of unlearning, and when you have unlearned all that you have learned, in that state god is so close, closer than you are to yourself, and truth is not a goal, then truth is the quality of the now, the here. Then truth is like breathing. Then truth is spontaneity, naturalness – and to become natural, to become spontaneous, is to have arrived home.
Simant was nothing if not natural and spontaneous. Beth, our old friend, recently reminded me of a story: Beth worked with one of Simant’s old bosses in the public health service in Wales. This man was full of the buzzwords of the time: “Thinking outside the box,” etc. Beth commented to him, “Well, I know you used to work with Simant, I bet you had no problems getting her to think outside the box.” He responded “Outside the box? I couldn’t get her into the box!!”
She was a caring, loving, brilliant woman with an endless stream of ideas which I enjoyed very much. She gave me unconditional love and I will miss her very much.
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Love.. Love.. Love
Simant truly was a wonderful being. She was the heart and powerhouse of our community in North Wales back in the 1970s. Again in Pune in the 1990s I would always look forward to our cups of tea together. I am now remembering that Simant, Sudhir and I shared a room together in Laxmi Vilas in Pune 1! Gosh – that was fun and another lifetime.
I have not seen her for many years now. But I always have a heart connection with Simant. Fly hi, Simant! Makes me think that I need a bucket list – not of places but of much loved friends. All love Simant.
Always thought I would see you again… you`re alive in my heart. xx
You inspired and woved many spells around our North Wales community of crazy people, a dynamo of energy and mischief.
Never forgotten, still around, silly Jilly and stately Simant. See you in another life’s adventure. Thank you for you.
Dear Simant. Such a very dear and close friend for so many years. Her warmth, her enormous enthusiasm. Hers was not so much a yes as a yes – yes – yes! She put everything she had into whatever she did, big or small. She absolutely adored the adventure of life as a sannyasin and I know that at the heart of all her projects, all her progressive radical plans and ideas, lay the importance of meditation and being centred in the Now. All her legendary enthusiasm wasn’t only an expression of her personality but also an outcome of her great capacity to appreciate, love and have fun with things, people, the Moment and whatever it brought. Namaste Simant, dear, dear friend!