(19 January 1940 – 5 September 2022)
Earthy, self-reliant, a luxury model
by Prem Raso
Prem Vidhana grew up in the deep south of the USA in a time when overt segregation was still the norm. He went to work at age nine to help his mom provide for his siblings, caddying at the local golf course where he wouldn’t be allowed to play until many years later.
He joined the army right out of high school, his “ticket out of the South,” traveled to Korea, became a paratrooper and eventually a drill sergeant at Fort Ord near Monterey, CA. He found the drafted recruits, some of whom wore wigs to conceal their long hair, to be intriguing, and began to venture into the counterculture and spiritual experimentation of that time. Out of the army and his first marriage, he stepped into the rising tide of red and orange.
Vidhana was part of all of Osho’s communes. He received sannyas from Osho in Pune One, diving into meditation and groups that opened his vision and heart, gave him his own ground to stand on. He was a mainstay of the Santa Cruz sannyas community in the early 80s, working as a machinist at PG&E’s Moss Landing plant. (A friend recalls, “He was the only sannyasin with a real job.”) On the Ranch he worked in RBG and construction. He often said, years later, “The Ranch was paradise.” In Pune Two he became immersed in Tibetan Pulsing, which enriched his already wonderful massage practice.
Later he returned to Santa Cruz, lived at Osho Rachana outside Seattle for a while and in New Mexico. Many years ago he returned to Natchez to take care of his mother. There he taught Tai Chi, practiced Chi Gung, meditated, played golf, and became a vital part of a drumming community. He loved walking along the River and living close to Mother Nature.
Vidhana’s name means “Love Discipline,” and he remained true to the discipline of love. I met Vidhana in early 1981, just before taking sannyas. Osho cracked my heart open; Vidhana allowed me the priceless gift of loving wholeheartedly. I learned much in his gentle but firm mirror. “We’re going to get to the bottom of this, little lady,” he would say. He joined in with good humor on the high altitude trails I loved, and I dabbled at Tahoe casinos where he was comfortable at the craps tables. We meditated every day. What eventually emerged was an abiding, precious soul friendship.
Prem Vidhana left his body on September 5, in a VA facility near Natchez, MS. A rapid decline into memory loss had necessitated his moving from his trailer residence in the country. He was clear he didn’t want to live in a “home.” Family members had been with him daily, but he chose to go solo on his flight of the alone to the alone, which seemed appropriate for this man and his courageous life of love.
Vidhana was earthy, self-reliant, a luxury model, not inclined to rush, his own man with his own pithy wisdom, ready to change, ready to give, ready to love, ready to move on. From the swami: “If Osho had been born in the U.S., he would have been put in reform school.” And: “I’m half-assed enlightened.”
Thank you, beloved! From all of us who love you, fly on beautifully!
Deep gratitude to his special Canadian drumming friend Kathleen, who visited him in the difficult time before he passed, playing meditation music, holding his hand, gazing deeply into his eyes, allowing him to orient, and after she left, to let go.
Ma Prem Raso
Originally written for Viha Connection – www.oshoviha.org
My Brown Bear
Yes, my “Brown Bear”, as I called you in RBG, and of course you had to retort with “you little racist red neck honky” :-))
It was all in good fun … mostly … but it was appreciably “real” from both sides.
Later, in Poona 2 I stole your girlfriend, but hey, it was all in good fun … mostly … :-))
The stories you would tell about Mississippi in your youth were so alive and real it opened up a window into the real, down to earth, in your face racism that was (and still is) alive and well in the US.
Working side by side for all the time you were in RBG was a rich and happy go lucky experience of your grace and humour.
A couple incidents that I remember well were during the “share a home” project when the both of us were assigned a young black man to work with us and help him get used to the life on the ranch. To our credit we both found after a short time that something was off. The guy was just too erudite and polished in his manners and personal interaction with us. After a couple of months we were rewarded in an after the fact kind of way about our misgivings and our ability to smell a rat when it turned out he was an FBI plant and was with no further ado escorted back to Portland and his work in that organisation.
Was also fun when some of those homeless people turned out to be real criminals and had to have a special escort back to Po’land (as we called that city) with me driving a Suburban and you with a couple of other good-sized Sannyasins making sure the client remained calm until we reached our destination and let him go.
Even though life has taken us all from that (in spite of all that can be said to the contrary) magical place, and as you reportedly so correctly said, “the ranch was Paradise” and spread us out over the face of the earth to oftentimes the most unimaginable and far fetched places, I have over the years from time to time thought of you with a fondness and light heartedness in the knowledge that I had shared some of the most interesting and one of a kind moments in time with you on our planet.
Goodbye from this life, my brother.
Vidhana and I spoke on the phone about once a month—for years. I visited him in Natches in 2000, and he visited me in Wenatchee, WA a few years later. We knew each other’s stories, quests, and heart connections. Every January, 19th, Vidhana’s birthday, I sent him the Tibetan Pulsing Calendar which Devayana would purchase for us and mail on to me. Vidhana would meditate with Nadabrahma and form all the Tibetan mudras.
As his memory faded, he could still remember Dheeraj’s name, … and mine. At the end of every phone call, he would end with, “Bye, now.”
Bye, now, Mr. Vidhana. I’ll love you forever and remember you for as long as I can.
Aka: Edward Cadman
Fly High Fly Free
Sw. Anand ManaDeva
You can leave a message / tribute / anecdote by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org (pls add ‘Vidhana’ in the subject field).