(11 April 1951 – 26 May 2019)
Her brother Bert, aka Swami Anand Nishant, writes:
Vaarwel Rina (Farewell Rina),
This is a last farewell letter dedicated to my beloved sister Rina, aka Ma Prem Punyo, who passed away last year on 26 May 2019, at age 68.
The age difference between Rina and me was more than six years. For me as a young boy she belonged more to the adults than to the children.
We grew up with five more siblings on a dairy farm in the east of Holland close to the German border. Our parents were hard-working people with strict rules like: do your daily tasks at the farm, get good grades at school and be a good Catholic. Meaning also that Rina, as the eldest, had to recite out of the catechism every evening before us going to sleep. Being one of the youngest brothers, I was spared this task.
Our parents meant well but it wasn’t in their range to express that they loved their children; no words were spent to show affection. And thus no verbal language was taught to us to express our feelings and emotions.
For Rina it felt like a dry desert with little space for enjoyment. She and I often talked at length about our childhood and we both acknowledged that, although there was no expression of love from the parents, we as siblings developed a strong bond without the need to express this through words. The kind of bonding that you hear from old coal miners, with the knowing that they survived all the hardships together.
Becoming an adult, Rina had to break loose from our parents. The only way to do so was to find a husband. At age 21 she married, left home and went to live in a small village close by.
She immediately used her freedom to explore the possibilities of inner growth, to find a way to express her deep longing to become whole. The end of the seventies were the early years of Gestalt therapy and other experimental groups focussing on expressing suppressed emotions and feelings. In one of those groups she came into contact with sannyasins.
Osho came into her life. The pull was so strong that she had to go to Pune. She stayed at the ashram for more than a year working in the pottery. A whole new life opened up to her. Shortly after, she divorced her husband and embraced Osho and his Buddhafield as her new home.
Rina paved the way for me. I still remember the day and place when I heard my mother talk about this ‘man from India’ who had abducted her daughter. I felt a great rush of joy and an immediate recognition that this ‘man from India’ would also be my future.
Rina’s sannyas name was Ma Prem Punyo. She went through major mental and physical changes in the years she was around Osho and his sannyasins. She more and more became her radiant joyful and loving self. She has had different relationships that brought her to different countries. Always finding ways to ‘touch base’ and be in Pune, Rajneeshpuram and later Pune again.
The last couple of years she lived in Ireland with her dear friend, Yogananda. In Ireland she had deepened her knowledge of the Human Design System, learning not only the best way to live for herself, but also to help others on their path.
On 26 of May she went on a nature walk with friends in the beautiful countryside close to her home in Ireland, as planned. She was very cheerful and full of wonder about what nature showed her on this spring morning.
At one point, Rina stayed a little bit behind and uttered, “Oh my God!” Her friends thought at first that she saw a beautiful flower but then her body collapsed. Rina died immediately. There was no suffering. Her friends tried CPR, so did the paramedics after they arrived at the spot.
Rina still is, although not physically among us anymore, in many ways my beacon in life.
I feel immensely grateful for the love and unshakeable trust that she gave me. She has given me the confidence that we, as spirits in a body, are all connected in love.
Punyo had been going by her original name, Rina Jannsen, when we reconnected late in 2006. We had first become friends in Pune in 1979 when she was the bookkeeper for the ashram pottery department.
After meetings in Munich and in Ireland, Rina courageously decided to come live with me in Ireland and in November 2008 we packed up her apartment in Munich and took a flight to Dublin. We were both intense meditators and seekers, and Rina became enthralled with the Human Design system and studied hard to become a Human Design Analyst.
While walking in the countryside with a walking group last May she had a serious heart attack and suddenly she was no longer here. She had known for many years that this was a possibility, but she was as always, living life to the full, until the very last second, and happily not knowing that moment was so close.
This is the wonder of Rina, her totality. Whether it was pottery or being a travel agent, or her music, or her meditation, or her friends, her family, and her lovers, she gave herself fully. She was just at the beginning of a new chapter, becoming a successful Human Design Analyst when time ran out. She made many friends in Ireland and loved being here.
I miss the companionship of our journeying together, inquiring into what it is all about. I am left with a good feeling that Rina was content and at peace with herself, that her life was exactly as she wanted it to be, and that she had grown in her inner journey more than I could possibly imagine.
This poem says it better than I can.
My Sweet, Crushed Angel
You have not danced so badly, my dear,
Trying to hold hands with the Beautiful One.
You have waltzed with great style,
My sweet, crushed angel,
To have ever neared God’s Heart at all.
Our Partner is notoriously difficult to follow,
And even His best musicians are not always easy
So what if the music has stopped for a while.
If the price of admission to the Divine
Is out of reach tonight.
So what, my dear,
If you do not have the ante to gamble for Real Love.
The mind and body are famous
For holding the heart ransom,
But Hafiz knows the Beloved’s eternal habits.
For He will not be able to resist your longing
You have not danced so badly, my dear,
Trying to kiss the Beautiful One.
You have actually waltzed with tremendous style,
O my sweet,
Oh my sweet, crushed angel.
From, I Heard God Laughing – Renderings of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky
Dear Punyo, I always knew when you had returned to Pune back from the West, because people started calling me Punyo! It was good news for me: You had come back! “Where is she? Where did you see her?” I was in shock when I heard of your accident last year. Happy to have had the chance to see you shortly when you came here for a short holiday a couple of years ago. I am so glad we now have your photos in our magazine and can celebrate your life. Beloved, fly high!
I first met Rina via her sannyasin brother Bert (then Nishant), just before I was due to depart for an indefinite time to Pune in 1989. I was impressed, if not intimidated by her long history with Osho from Poona 1 to the Ranch, travelling, living and working all over the world. It was after I left Pune 2 that I met Rina in other gatherings of Seekers that we became friends. We both had grown up in a large Catholic farmer’s family in the Netherlands and as I had by that time moved to live in the U.K. we shared being Netherlanders living abroad.
Rina became very important to me when I moved to Argentina in September of 2018. She had just moved to a different part of Ireland and was now living alone. We both faced the challenge of starting a (new) life for ourselves in new surroundings.
Rina became a very faithful and a very trusted friend. She was someone I could share my intimate thoughts and feelings with, without having to spell it all out. She was accepting and understanding, but could also be quite blunt in saying what she thought. She had no time for sentimentality!
It was a big shock to hear of her sudden death. I was aware of her family history of poor health conditions and she had just told me a few weeks before that she had to be careful not to exhaust herself. Still, I wasn’t ready for her leaving so sudden and so soon.
For Rina herself, I felt immediately that it was okay, that she had been ready and prepared to go. She lived a very full life and a very fulfilling life. There were many challenges of course, but she faced them with courage and determination. One of her last achievements was working as a Human Design therapist. Some weeks before her death she told me that she had a whole family who had asked for HD sessions with her. Receiving such a request felt as a confirmation that she could now share her intellectual, spiritual and emotional wisdom and talents as she always had aspired.
Wherever she is, Rina is okay, however much we miss her and are sad she is no longer here, we can rejoice she is free!
Already a year has gone by and I so miss my dear friend Rina. I met Punyo in early Pune briefly and later got to know her more on the ranch in the travel office. I drove her and friends across the border into Canada when the ranch closed and we lived together in Vancouver for one year. She then decided to go back to Europe. She visited me in Montreal a few years later and again later I stayed with her in Munich. We always stayed in touch. She was a kindred soul/a fellow traveller. Particularly in the last 10 years or so we would talk regularly for 2 or more hours at a time. Her knowledge of Human Design was rich and rewarding as though she had truly found her expression. Rina always strived to know the truth and was a deep searching soul.
I bought a ticket last year to visit her in Ireland but sadly a month after our excitement of meeting again she had a heart attack and died suddenly. The lose in my heart was huge. We always were able to talk with no bullshit, straight to the point. It was so easy and refreshing. Her last words to me were, “you are the only friend I can talk this way to”. I feel honoured to have known her and to have had her in my life. We shared so much together through all the ups and downs. I miss her dearly but I know she is free. Love
We were never friends, just sporadic contact happened, in Munich and the Poona Ashram (after the Ranch) but I just loved loved loved her gentle, witty and compassionate energy whenever we met and (sometimes, short and sweet) shared a thing or two.
Fare the well to the other shore, Rina.
Ma Nirava Jhari