(28 September 1929 – 1 October 2021)
Manju was born in 1929 in Gujarat and was educated at the Sanskrit University, Gurukul Kangadi. She was a brilliant student and acquired great knowledge of ancient Hindu mantras and systems.
She got married to Gulab Vadgama, an electronic engineer educated in the UK. After they married they settled in Nairobi. He also took sannyas and left his body in Pune. All her children took sannyas at some point. Her son works in London. Most of us in the commune would remember Videh (wife of Italian Chidananda).
Already in 1966 she started reading Osho’s books (in Hindi), then went to meet him in Jabalpur in 1968. After initiating her into sannyas, Osho gave her the name AnandNeed to start as a Meditation Centre in Nairobi, for which she received the first charan kamal (a cast of Osho’s feet). In 1972 she invited Swami Krishna to Nairobi.
She lived in the US to look after her daughter Behula, then moved to Pune and Rajneeshpuram to be close to Osho. She was present in Greece when Osho was arrested. She then shifted back to Pune where she lived on her own.
Her eldest daughter, Behula, who lives in Bangalore with her husband, owns a flat next to where Majnu lived and she visited Pune at times to stay with her. She happened to be in Pune when Manju died in her sleep at 4 am, aged 92.
The death celebration took place at the Burning Ghats near Popular Heights at 4pm yesterday, 1 October.
You can leave a message / tribute / anecdote by writing to email@example.com (pls add ‘Manju’ in the subject field).
Punya wrote the following in her book, On the Edge. It was the time she was running Osho’s centre in Geneva (around 1976):
Another visit was that of Manju and her beautiful daughter, Videh – an inexplicable visit because neither of us knew why they had come. On their way to Pune they had made a stop-over from Nairobi where they lived in a big Indian community. They spent a few nights in a hotel in town and we met in the evenings after my work in the office. Many years later, while chopping vegetables in the kitchen, Manju told me the whole story. Osho had asked her “to visit the centre in Switzerland” but not understanding why she should do that, she kept postponing the visit time after time. But Osho kept asking her each time she arrived in Pune. So this time at least she would be able to tell him that she had indeed stopped over in Switzerland. Osho then asked her about the centre and she told him that they had felt welcomed. To which, if I remember her account, Osho replied, “Punya loves me a lot. And my message will spread like wildfire in Europe.” I was so touched to hear this that I had to fight back my tears. Their visit was a beautiful gift to my little centre, as visits from sannyasins always are.