Laxmi in Perspective: The exoteric and esoteric

Letters / Opinions

Rashid’s response to comments made by Anando about Laxmi in her book, Osho: Intimate Glimpses.

Osho and Laxmi

Thank you for inviting me to respond to the comments about Ma Yoga Laxmi in Anando’s book, Osho: Intimate Glimpses In fact they have been anticipated and contextualised in The Only Life: Osho, Laxmi and a Journey of the Heart. I am happy to comment again because Anando has produced a well-written and important book. It needs and deserves a large circulation in our troubled world.

When Anando speaks of Laxmi on pages 107-110 of her book, it is important for the reader to remember that she speaks from her own view point. Anando writes that Laxmi was trying to “worm her way back into power” as Osho’s secretary, “expecting her old job back,” seeking “a chance to regain her old position.”  One gets the feeling that not only did they not hit it off but also that Anando is not familiar with the refinement and language of devotion to the guru that is hard-wired into the Indian psyche.

Being in close proximity to Osho is being in the furnace, as Anando illustrates in her book. Sannyasins were chosen, it seems, not for their spiritual attainment but for their worldly and political skills, which would include their ability to use power: the exoteric and the esoteric.  Laxmi was a rare example of one possessing both attributes.

Anando says Laxmi “wielded a lot of power,” a telling phrase.  For most of us, Laxmi is remembered as one with the lightest of touches, whose smile and nodding head caused mountains to move.

Shunyo quotes Osho as saying his Indian sannyasins meditate but don’t get things done, and his Western sannyasins get things done but don’t meditate. I interpret this as Indians working from the heart, Westerners from the mind.

The truth is that the usurpation of Laxmi’s role as Osho’s secretary by Sheela four years previously had been a major shock for Laxmi.  And she took it as a major learning in ‘Let-go.’

During the last summer at Rajneeshpuram, Osho told Sheela to provide Laxmi with an A-Frame home, a caretaker, transport and a holiday from work. Later, with the end of the commune in sight, Osho sent her back to India to resume her quest for land.

Despite being still in recovery from the removal of a serious cancer, this was the task to which she wholeheartedly committed herself.

However, conflict arose between her and certain Westerners about Osho’s health and the propagation of his work. Laxmi was an honourable person; she made no secret of the fact that she did not trust Dr Amrito and Jayesh. She put it to Osho. He told her, in short, to mind her own business, which was to work on her own self-realisation.

Her loving heart could not let it rest there, however. Her essential focus, the only life she had, was concern for Osho’s well-being and his work. The culmination of this story is that she needed a further massive hit from Osho before she got to the point of ‘let-go.’

Laxmi was always well aware that both Westerners and Indians were vital for the realisation of Osho’s vision. Her connection with Vivek, for example, was rooted in the utmost mutual respect and support, so it is inconceivable to all who knew her that, as Anando claims, she would give Vivek’s name and those of other Westerners to the Indian visa authorities. Is it not obvious that the ever-vigilant and vengeful American authorities would have done that?

Anando has written a beautiful account of a Westerner having her head in the tiger’s mouth (to change the metaphor). We hope that she will eventually publish all that Osho requested her to write, whether logical or meta-logical, prose or poetry.

Anando once referred to Nirvano (Vivek) as schizophrenic, then graciously retracted it when challenged. I trust she will now review her perspective on Laxmi.

As the Talmud says – we don’t see the world as it is, we see it as we are.

With love and gratitude.

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Rashid is a painter and poet, keeps bees, designs buildings and landscapes for sacred use.

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