(16 February 1953 –11 January 2023)
Nirodh’s Death Celebration will be held on 18 February at the Hotel Bianca Maria in Varazze, Italy, 4pm Italian time, (15:00-18:00 UTC). It’s planned to have live music with live streaming. For more information check out the events page on facebook.com. The video of the full celebration can be seen on facebook.com
by his long-time partner, Ushma (leggi in Italiano – pdf)
You don’t die of muscular dystrophy. It’s not a disease that affects your organs, but one that takes away your strength, muscle after muscle, until it leaves you confined to bed without letting you even change your position or scratch yourself when it itches somewhere.
It’s a slow, inexorable decline which you watch unfold, helplessly – because there is no cure. The body, no longer protected by its muscles, starts contracting and pain sets in everywhere. And your endurance is put to the test.
One day in summer 1980, the disease revealed itself silently while we observed Nirodh’s right arm that had strangely become unusually thin. In those days there was still no awareness about dystrophy and its diagnosis was pronounced only after an endless series of exams and visits to specialists.
We were young and full of confidence – that confidence typical of youth where you are convinced that things will always work out for you. Predictions about the need for a wheelchair seemed to us exaggeratedly negative, a distant reality that did not belong to the vision of the present we were living in.
Since this is a hereditary disease, we were relieved when after a series of tests and exams we heard that our baby, who was only a few months old, was healthy.
Rehabilitation, physiotherapy, assisted mobilisation have finally not helped. As the years passed by, his body lost strength in ‘segments’. Next were the muscles in his other arm that lost their strength, then one leg and later the other. He had to start using a walking stick and then, yes, the wheelchair, or rather the ‘scooter’ – of the battery-operated kind – which you can manoeuvre with a single finger on the steering wheel. Until even that finger could no longer manage to steer it and his back no longer supported the weight of his body – until
Nirodh, then Agostino, appeared in my life in the early 1970s among many other bizarre and multicoloured characters in the commune where I lived in Milan. I was immediately attracted to him, thunderstruck by his magnetic gaze, his original and charismatic personality and the sincere devotion with which he would chant the Hare Krishna mantra. He had just come from their temple where he had undergone a major purification and transformation.
From this very first moment a mysterious energy must have bound us and held us together to overcome the many challenges we went through: the challenge of Pune One, where almost all couples broke up, the challenge of the communes, where freedom was prevailing, or of the Osho centres, especially Arihant which saw so many attractive and available men and women come and go.
And then the challenge of the relationship itself, with its ups and downs, and with this third, above-mentioned, evermore-present challenge.
Or perhaps the bond between us was so indissoluble either because we were propelled by the same wave of devotion to Osho, who had called us together as a couple before him, or because we were both enthusiastic about opening the meditation centre with the blessings of the Master.
Nirodh brought also to the centre his inexhaustible creativity, which over time had grown and become more and more refined.
Long gone were the days of his early years when he played guitar in a secluded room of the farmhouse that, for soundproofing, he had clad with egg cartons. In India he had bought himself a sitar with which he accompanied himself while chanting mantras. And with the advent of electronics he switched over to a keyboard. On it he composed many pieces of meditative music and backgrounds for guided meditations, that were published by RED publishing and later by Punto d’Incontro.
When his fingers could no longer move on the keyboard, he wrote a book ‘Imaginary Consciousness’ and the screenplay for a film in the hope of having it produced; a dream that unfortunately did not manifest. He invented designs for fountains, futuristically-shaped earrings, universal sockets for electricity.
There are many who remember fondly seeing him, riding his powered scooter around the various venues of Osho – The Festival. Tirelessly, even though he was already unable to walk, his enthusiasm led him to immediately follow Vatayana’s invitation to create meditation events all over the world – as a tribute to Osho as we entered the new millennium.
Since 2000, these events, which have attracted up to 700-800 participants, have continued – first once, then twice a year. For more than 10 years, they were held first at the Palasport in Varazze, and then in various nature spots, while bringing Osho’s message to different parts of Italy.
A generous soul, he made his creativity available above all to help others; with the advent of the computer, he collaborated with a psychiatrist to decode the language of psychically labile youngsters by means of a special programme, a research that has become a considerable contribution in this field.
Many have received very precise guidance from him on how to solve a knot in any aspect of their lives. He never conducted meditation ‘techniques’ as such, but created meditations on the spot, backed by words of wisdom that spontaneously flowed from his brilliant mind and elevated spirit.
Being at his side, I too have received so much from him, first and foremost the gift of our son, a joyful and sweet child and now a mature and loving young man. Nirodh, a very good father. Shedir, a loving son, who together with me looked after him until the end.
The more his body lost strength, the more his inner strength grew. Throughout his life he had prepared himself to enter into the other plane through astral travel, at first in a somewhat confused way, but then gradually he perfected it.
He used to tell me that he went to help sick people and described to me in detail what he saw and did. Even at the end, when he was suffering in his hospital bed, he told me that he had been to Ukraine and seen people in the cold without enough warm clothes or blankets. And, in tears, he described me their great discomfort.
Despite his increasingly immobilised body we managed to travel. We went to India, Nepal, and the USA. And then we travelled together within ourselves, hand in hand.
In the many years we spent together we went through all the ups and downs, encounters and clashes that happen in a relationship. We even separated, only superficially really, because inside of us that invisible thread had never broken. And we have been close to each other, sharing the ever-increasing difficulties as the disease developed.
In the end, in that hospital bed, with tears in our eyes, we forgave each other, thanked each other, swept away whatever negativity might have still remained between us. And a vast and wonderful space was created in which our hearts began to beat lightly, and to dance full of love and gratitude.
You don’t die of muscular dystrophy, but yes you die because the disease takes away your strength from your physical body, eventually taking away also your strength to endure being immobilised in bed and especially having to bear so much pain all over the body.
Nirodh had been ready for a long time; he had built his inner body of light which had grown larger and larger and brighter.
Now that he no longer has the ballast of his physical body, I know that he can walk, run, indeed fly – at last.
A brave soul.
Cārā vēdī चारा वेदी
If you only knew how to lose your self, if you even dared to lose your self just once, you would be a truly brave man. You would have given up your fear and your habit of being egoistic, and you would have attained to a life that is ageless.”
– Osho, The Great Secret, Ch 4
Tribute by Ushma, translated by Punya – credit to Waduda for creating the connections
sannyas darshan with Osho, 17 November 1978
Deva means divine, nirodh means cessation – a divine death. That’s what sannyas is all about: the end of all that you have been up to now and the beginning of something you have not even dreamt about: the cessation of the known and the beginning of the unknown. It is a discontinuity with the past. This moment, the moment of initiation, is a death and a rebirth. It is a death of the old identity, the way you have always understood yourself, the way of the ego, the feeling that you are separate from existence, the identity with the body and the mind. With one stroke, one has to drop it, in one single blow. And one starts absolutely fresh, from ABC, as if one is born again. And it is very easy to become new, because the question is only of our clinging to the past; the past is not clinging to you. So if you drop it, it is dropped; it is just a question of decision.
And sannyas is that decision. It is suicide, and the true suicide, but out of this suicide begins the journey of the eternal. Out of this death arises a life that knows no end. That’s the meaning of your name.
Osho, The Sacred Yes, Ch 17
Committed to Osho’s Italian Buddhafield
Nirodh was dedicated to Osho‘s vision with a rare totality.
Once he told me that during his sannyas initiation from Osho, he had suddenly become aware that this human being had dedicated his entire life helping people grow in consciousness. Inspired by this insight, he and his partner Ushma started supporting the sannyas movement in Italy with all their hearts.
When in the late nineties, after months of uncertainty where to live, my beloved Bunda and I came to their Osho center, Arihant, Nirodh helped us find a flat in the valley. We settled there for six years, enjoying the aliveness of the sannyas community that had formed around the centre over the years. We all meditated and celebrated together.
Nirodh was full of humour, sometimes bordering on sarcasm. Once he told me that he felt embarrassed to use his sannyas name in India, because people would just start giggling. He only understood why when he found out that ‘Nirodh’ was the name of a condom brand!
He was an internet pioneer and had created a comprehensive website, oshoamici.it. It listed all Italian Osho centres and their activities. He offered to advertise my business and that helped secure an income for me. Italy thus became our second home – it is to this day. I am forever grateful to Nirodh, because living in the fertile Italian culture opened new creative doors in my own life and that of my beloved.
Nirodh had built a semi-professional sound studio in his office, which became popular with sannyasin musicians and friends for recording their gigs. Concerts for our small community were often held in open air, with many ‘celebrities’ like Miten and Deva Premal, Milarepa, Joshua with his band, and others.
In 2000, the worldwide tribute to Osho inspired Nirodh and Ushma to create The Festival, a week-long reunion of Italian sannyasins, therapists and musicians. Being a skilful organiser, he soon had to rent the Sports Palace in mid-town Varazze, a renowned holiday resort at the seaside, which could accommodate them all. TheFestival.it was later taken over by other sannyasins and continues to this day as OshoFestival.it.
Nirodh never seemed to be hindered by his increasing physical difficulties. After a walking stick no longer sufficed, he cruised around in an electric wheelchair, seemingly enjoying the ride. When I heard that his older sister had died from the same disease it became clear to me what his fate would be.
Until recently we exchanged text messages once a year. His courage to face his fate with creativity and acceptance, and his dedication to Osho‘s vision will always be with me. He was a true friend for many of us; this friendship existed even beyond his bodily manifestation during his years spent in hospital.
Thank you, too, Ushma, Shedir and friends for supporting him in his long-drawn transition.
And hey, Nirodh, noble one! Remember, always walk on the bright side…
Tribute by Nirbija (ed. ON)
Nirodh means inner discipline
leaving darshan, 3 March 1979
[A sannyasin says that Indian people tease him about his name, deva nirodh, as it can also mean divine birth control.]
They also call it nirodh – birth control devices they call nirodh! But it is a very ancient word; it means inner discipline. Patanjali has defined Yoga as ‘chit vrutti nirodh’: the stopping of all the waves of the mind. He uses the word ‘nirodh’ for the discipline that stops all the waves of the mind.
But all the old languages have many meanings for one word. It can be used as ‘the discipline that stops the mind waves’; it can be used as ‘that which stops the birth of a child.’ So one of the most famous devices in India for birth control has the name ‘nirodh’; that must be why they laugh.
Next time they laugh, you laugh louder than them, and tell them ‘You need nirodh!’
‘Nobody else in the world needs it so much!’
You tell them ‘You need me’; just tell them.
Osho, You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, Ch 3
Credo che Nirodh sia stato uno dei più cari, generosi, rigorosi, infaticabili, creativi, entusiasti fratelli nel sannyas che abbia mai avuto.
Ieri il suo cuore ha cessato di battere.
Quando l’ho saputo, il mio stato d’animo si è rasserenato. Finalmente la sua anima si è liberata da uno stato di sofferenza che ultimamente, in ospedale, aveva rari momenti di tregua.
Sento la sua serenità adesso.
Pochi giorni fa tramite la sua amata Ushma avevo potuto fargli ascoltare al telefono un mio messaggio d’amore. Le mie lacrime nel comunicare, le sue nell’ascoltare, si sono incontrate nonostante la distanza. Ho sentito il suo grazie, ultima parola che mi ha rivolto, unirsi alla mia eterna gratitudine per la sua vita spesa nel nome di Osho.
Negli anni ’70 aveva dato vita al primo Osho center in campagna e io a ruota, avevo aperto Vivek a Milano, raccogliendo l’eredità di Macondo lasciatomi da Sanatano e Sat Savia. Poi ho sempre partecipato ai suoi festival a Varazze, poi a Viareggio e non ci siamo più lasciati nel cuore, nonostante due vite parallele che non si incontravano quasi mai ma che viaggiavano insieme, in piena sintonia, anche nei momenti più tempestosi e difficili della nostra storia con il Maestro, di cui condividavamo al telefono.
Ciao fratello caro. Vola alto e se credi, tieni il tuo sguardo su di me, perchè io continui ad essere degno del tuo amore, della tua amicizia, della tua fratellanza, in questo splendido viaggio, di questa nostra vita con e per il Maestro.
Photos credit Parva
Ci sono attimi che sono qui e ora, pur se sono passati anni e anni.
Grazie Agostino Nirodh Fortini per aver dato a tanti come a me la gioia di camminare e condividere insieme momenti della nostra esistenza.
Il viaggio continua e continua e l’amore resta.
Tanto amore per Te,
Enzo Dhyan Parva
Caro Nirodh, sei sempre con noi – dall’80 ne abbiamo combinate tante, sperimentazioni, registrazioni, concerti, laboratori, video e progettazioni, per ultimo Il Giardino Sonoro per Milano Expo. Recentemente hanno anche ristampato il CD Taraxacum, un’opera futurista realizzata insieme – nella foto sei sul Monte Faito nel Golfo di Napoli in veste di regista per il documentario Antichi Paesaggi Sonori – I cacciatori di suoni.
wwwwwww in onda caro fratello,
Se il vento spegne la luce
le stelle appaiono:
nell’oscurità troviamo allora
le tracce del Sentiero”
– Rabindranath Tagore
Con Nirodh abbiamo spesso bisibigliato tra di noi paure e il mistero del morire. Tu eri pronto ad affrontare questo viaggio. Nirodh ha mostrato, a chi ha avuto il privilegio di stargli vicino, il coraggio di vivere e continuare a ricercare in sogni e utopie i nostri destini futuri. E’ stato maestro, fratello e compagno di avventure stupende. Ha costruito comuni, cerchi d’amore e di meditazione, ha organizzato festival e fatto una famiglia stupenda, ha creato musiche celestiali, ha scritto libri, ha girato dei film, combattendo giorno dopo giorno con le sue fragilità e la sua malattia.
Un abbraccio caro compagno di avventure. Buon Viaggio e Buon ritorno a casa… a noi rimane la nostalgia, fatta di luci e di umanità, della tua esistenza…
Namasté e onore a questo Guerriero di Pace!
Sento di doverti ringraziare anche pubblicamente (così come feci ai tempi di persona) perché sei anche questo Nirod… perché sei stato un sincero amico da subito, quando potevi tranquillamente farti i fatti tuoi, quando, nel momento in cui ci siamo conosciuti, io iniziavo la mia nuova fase di vita con Osho ed ero proprio messa male. Tu l’hai capito immediatamente, mi hai detto senza mezzi termini che prima avessi lasciato andare, prima sarei stata libera da un dolore insopportabile… quelle parole bruciavano come lava ma… erano vere, disinteressate e piene d’amore.
È solo grazie a te, alla crudezza di quel discorso spietato eppure così caldo, che ho compreso cos’è L’AMORE. E mi hai infuso quel poco che ancora mi mancava di coraggio per chiudere un matrimonio già morto e di restituire a me e a lui la vera libertà. Nessuno a parte te aveva avuto il coraggio di parlare con parole di fuoco e di amore, quello puro, incondizionato… l’hai fatto con una quasi sconosciuta, come farebbe un padre, un fratello, consapevole che ti sta uccidendo un ego marcio ma che ti sta ridando la vita… ti amerò per sempre per questo.
Un’altra occasione meravigliosa per portarti sempre nel cuore fu quando mi invitasti a cantare durante i festivals e mi chiedesti se ero disponibile a partecipare alle riprese del film su Osho che avevi in programma. Non ci furono poi le condizioni per portare a termine quel progetto ma… è come fatto Nirod, lo abbiamo fatto, ho cantato per te, con tanta gioia, amore e tenerezza. È stato… è… un onore averti incontrato e condiviso con te e Ushma Hinnawi istanti meravigliosi ed eterni.
Ovunque tu sei, il mio abbraccio ti sia sempre gradito. Grazie caro Nini.
Ma Jivan Arnava
Ciao Comandante Nirodh. Eccoci qui… che avventura in questi anni di amicizia! Le risate sotto al gazebo dell’Arihant, Cip&Ciop sempre presenti, i sogni, i progetti, le confidenze, le lunghe telefonate e poi i tuoi Festival: Varazze, Livigno, Viareggio… pure in mezzo al mare ci hai portato! Indimenticabile quella crociera. E quello del Nautilus uno dei festival più belli. Grazie di tutto anche di ciò che ora, tra i ricordi e la commozione, mi sfugge. Anche per il tempo che mi hai dedicato nell’ultima recente telefonata. Volevi andare via mi hai detto, adesso anche basta a tutto quel dolore.
Ora ti penso alla cabina di comando che dirigi l’astronave della tua meditazione per le vie dell’universo, finalmente libero, grande e indimenticabile Comandante Nirodh,
Caterina Mukti Gasperi
Al mio amatissimo Nirodh, gratitudine immensa. Lo incontrai per la prima volta, due/tre vite fa, nel suo primo centro, ancora prima dell’Arihant. Andavo da lui e Ushma con mia figlia Magda, allora ancora piccina… Da allora andavo spesso da loro, perché mi piaceva quell’energia sannyasin un po’ hippie, un po’ Hare Krishna, amorevole, folle. E poi tutti, ma proprio tutti i Festival, dal primo all’ultimo, i suoi Osho Festival, il primo che ha portato a conoscere Osho su larga scala, tutti gli altri sono stati la sua eredità… E mi ricordo di tutti, Ushma, Bodhisattva, Harshil, Parva, Rishi, Subhoda, Muni e tutta l’allegra compagnia. E anche oggi che lui non c’è più, c’è ancora, perché fa parte della mia storia, della nostra storia… Anzi per dirla tutta lui è la Storia
Onore a te Nirodh, attraverso di te, cuore generoso e coraggioso, tante anime si sono risvegliate e sono giunte a Osho! Namastè, grazie.
Ha lasciato andare un corpo che lo faceva soffrire ma che gli ha permesso di stare tra noi. Anima bella ❤️
Ushma cara, voglio dirti che ti sono vicina con i miei pensieri e le mie preghiere. Mi ricorderò sempre con grande affetto i miei giorni passati con voi al Centro di Osho, la musica, le meditazioni, conoscere Osho. Mi sentivo così protetta, calma, tranquilla. Avevate creato un posto stupendo con il vostro amore. Sono stata fortunata di avervi conosciuto, avete cambiato il mio percorso e ve ne sarò sempre grata. Grazie.
Quanti bei ricordi ho dell’Arihant di Varazze. Arrivavo da Genova e sentivo subito quell’atmosfera, come un profumo per l’anima, che mi placava e mi faceva raddrizzare la schiena. Passavo dalla reception dove avevo la gioia di salutare Ushma e poi mi sedevo su una sdraio. Pomeriggi estivi con niente da fare e tutto da vivere. La kundalini, la cena, le chiacchiere, il ritorno. Quando scendeva Nirodh era il momento più bello. A volte mi chiedeva di aiutarlo a sedersi sul suo veicolo elettrico e per me era un grande onore. On the road again, gli dissi una volta dopo averlo sistemato, lui non sorrise perché non poteva, il suo volto era fermo a causa del blocco muscolare, ma anche senza espressioni la bellezza della sua presenza era palpabile.
Allego una foto che gli ho scattato al Festival del 2008. Un saluto, Grande Anima!
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