(14 January 1956 – 4 March 2023)
This Sunday, 19 March 2023 (17:00 Central European Time, 18:00 Greece, 4pm UK), friends will be sitting for a meeting / meditation in spirit for Dharmen.
“Wild as the Wind”
…this is how Tatini described him when we asked her to say something about Dharmen.
Dharmen grew up in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and came to Pune 1 where he worked as a Krishna guard. At that time he also learned Karate.
After Osho moved to America, he left Pune in summer 1981 and moved to the north of the Netherlands, near Groningen, where he helped set up the De Stad Rajneesh Commune in Heerde. There he took over the distribution of Osho’s books and tapes and turned it into a successful venture that continued for many years under someone else’s management. His love for Osho’s words was apparent: for over 15 years he was busy translating his books into Dutch and listened to a discourse by Osho daily.
In 1982 he visited the first Summer Festival in Oregon together with a friend. Being penniless, one night they played in an Amsterdam casino and won the money for both fares. And off they went!
In the 90’s he lived for quite a number of years at the Osho Risk Community in Denmark. Later lived in Eressos and worked at Osho Afroz. For a few years he also spent the summers in Corfu but was disappointed that he couldn’t make a living there.
“Dharmen was a good friend. He was strong and uncompromising; he could be like a thunderstorm, like a dark knight. He was loving and caring, but could also get angry easily,” writes Tatini.
“As a real rock and roll type, he loved blues and rock music. He also loved art and was painting himself. He had a large collection of expensive paintings. He also bought four paintings from me.
“He did not have a close relationship with his family, but it appears that four years back he made peace with that part of his life. I think he was finally happy in Ghana, where he died a few days ago.
“He will be missed and the love will stay forever.”
Thanks to Natyam Schraven for alert, to Tatini and to many of our Dutch friends for help with the text.
Intensity, passion, love
by Parigyan (Denmark)
For nine years, Dharmen was the man of my life, my friend, lover and husband. We met in Fremantle, Western Australia, in 1989. He came from the Osho Commune in Pune where he had started painting in a course with Meera. He was radiating with joy to ‘start afresh’ in his life, he said. Late 1989 we came back to Pune and were there in the Buddha Hall when the master left the body – something which Dharmen said he had always wanted.
You will know that shortly after, for quick money, Dharmen drove a car with hashish to Berlin and got caught. As it happened, I moved there, and could thank him for the experience of the worst time of my life till then. And I experienced the most intense moments of pure love, nothing else, in the precious 30 minutes I could visit him every two weeks for the first year and a half. Osho friends supported us generously, especially by employing Dharmen as a carpenter so he could come out of prison in the daytime.
Two years and four months later he was free again. We went to Pune and then he wanted to move to Osho Risk in Denmark in order to live in an Osho community that supported daily meditation with Osho. He was warmly welcomed and genuinely liked in the community and in my family. We married in the spring of 1993; he started to learn Danish and got a job in a carpentry workshop.
Intensity, passion, love. Fun, friendship, supporting the best, provoking the worst in each other. For years I thought we could never leave each other. Sadly, though, his inner demons – was it an ocean of pain or his wild rebellious spirit? – drove him to drink more and more. Bad moods and angry fits grew and grew till it broke my heart. In 1998 he decided to move back to Holland. A friend came and picked him up in a van; we waved goodbye and never saw each other again.
Dharmen loved Osho with a totality and a certainty that I have rarely met – the bright light in his troubled life. He was totally sharp in spotting hypocrisy, life lies, old conditionings around him. This was one thing that again and again made him move on, to ‘somewhere else’. He was an absolutely unique soul, an Osho disciple deep in his heart.
I wish he will move on, with all the awareness he has gathered, to some truly greener fields, wherever they may be.
May you feel blessed and loved and fly high.
Full of life and vigor
I met Dharmen for the first time over four decades ago in his hometown Nijmegen. He wasn’t a sannyasin yet, but when we met again a couple of month later in Poona he had become Dharmen, the ‘virtuous’.
Our ways parted again and that’s how it went on for most of the coming years. Through mutual friends we heard about each other, but with the appearance of the internet, social media and the smartphones it was now a lot easier to stay in contact. Our connection became more frequent after the very troubled period of his life when he split up with Parigyan and his time spent in jail. To come to terms with that must not have been easy for him and I wonder if he ever did. Because afterwards he never again seemed to be the carefree Dharmen I had known before.
Then I met him more often, usually when he was in need of money, shelter and someone he could talk to without being judged. Drinking had become a painkiller, more frequently used than ever. His inner light had dimmed, his mind had become sharp and critical to the point of acidity.
Luckily, me and a lot of his old mates in the marketplace knew and remembered the Dharmen full of life and vigor, going for adventures, dreaming his dream. So, coming to the Netherlands between his travels, he still had people left who would help him when he was once again looking for work or a place to stay.
I remembered him well as a soft and gentle, relaxed, happy man. But now he mainly lived in survival mode and just ploughed ahead to achieve his goal; tying to find the people and the place to feel at home. Which for him wasn’t easy to achieve and wasn’t going to happen here in the Netherlands. He was sure about that.
So he started moving from place to place, kind of restlessly, not finding the right place, the right people, vibe, feeling. Until he started travelling in Africa. He seemed to feel a lot more at home there than in Europe or anywhere else. Even without an Osho centre or any sannyasins around at all.
Last year he returned to the Netherlands to make money and sort out some legal matters. Here in his hometown, Nijmegen. We spent quite some time together and I could see that he was in a better place. But he wasn’t here for good. All he wanted was to go back to Africa, where he had found a new love. A very much younger, very alive and smashing-looking woman who inspired a wonderful thing within him; the strength to stay sober.
Being back here he couldn’t always walk the line but most of the time he stayed away from his painkiller, alcohol. So when his affairs were sorted he flew back to his new life.
We stayed in contact and he seemed content and quite happy. Sadly, that wasn’t going to last very long. His girlfriend called me that Sunday morning with the message that Dharmen had passed away the previous night. Alone, in his rented little house close to the beach in Elmina, Cape Coast in Ghana. The cause of death is not yet known.
Quite shocked I really wished it had been otherwise but life and death dance their own dance.
He will be buried there, which was definitely his wish and his girlfriend will see to that. Even though she had no connection with Osho she had a seemingly very strong connection with him and made him happy. Isn’t that what counts?
I wish you well, old friend. While you are leaving your sometimes very troubled life on this plane behind, I wish you a glorious journey to wherever you are going.
A force of nature…
Dharmen is gone, I cannot believe it! Such a force of nature…
We met first at Croydon Hall, but we became friends when Dharmen came to Foix in SW France to do the Osho Mystic Rose in February 2020. He had left everything behind in Greece and came with his backpack to France for a new start with the Mystic Rose, which finished the day before the general lockdown all over the world – with planes grounded and no permission to leave the house…
That must have been one of the best times for us, survivors on Noah’s ark in Foix – six of us with Dharmen, working and meditating together, sharing our meals and having much fun for about 4 months. Not a worry in the world, with the best spring season ever. He loved the Pyrenees and wanted to settle here, close to an Osho centre. He bought himself a car, rented a flat, came to do Osho Kundalini regularly… Then masks were asked to be worn not only inside but outside also. One day he came back from Toulouse – he was so disappointed, so disgusted…
Soon after that, Dharmen sold everything and was gone to Africa. He sent news from time to time, to say that he felt really at home there and that he enjoyed his life.
Dharmen was a man with a big and a soft heart, shielded by his uncompromising and direct manner that, one could imagine, might have upset quite a few. What delight was it to talk with him about anything – he was thinking totally out of the box and was very well informed…
We will remember his generosity and his loud laughter which resounds sometimes here, out of the blue.
Fly high, beloved friend… We’ll miss you,
Leela, Anahato, Anna
Good bye my friend, many beautiful memories with you. So long.
A true sannyasin of Osho
We fell out on the day he left Corfu, to go to SW France. I made a judgement about his behaviour. It had obviously pressed my buttons and I omitted to self reflect in the moment and projected it outwards. One of the many that have fallen out of my mouth unconsciously, from my ego, over the years. And again something that I have really regretted afterwards.
So that was it. Friendship finished! I don’t blame him and, I as I said, I was really sorry to lose our connection and friendship. I did apologise to him later in a message.
I didn’t find Dharmen easy sometimes. He was a rough diamond. He would come out with charged statements, often especially about the Dutch Royal family and the Dutch Prime Minister, who he said were evil and corrupt and involved in paedophilia and other depravities etc. I didn’t know if this was true or not. So I would just listen and say ‘okay’.
He came to live in Corfu in 2019, planning to settle down there within the sannyasin community around Arillas, NW Corfu. I think this was largely instigated by him seeing my FB posts about the community there.
He arrived from Holland in his really big red van with all his belongings, tools and all! He planned to find work in Corfu applying his many skills.
He rented the large beautiful house in the Gayatri Mandir for the winter with views down to the ocean. He really loved it there.
We became good friends and would meet up and hang out. We had known each other, twelve or so years earlier, when we both lived and worked as part of the sannyasin community in Croydon Hall, a venue business in Exmoor Park, Somerset, UK.
When he had to move out of the winter house he rented a very small house in Dafni, a hamlet some miles from Arillas. Being Dharmen he just adjusted and settled in there.
He bought himself a really beat up old ‘banger’ (car). I looked at it and thought ‘my god, this ain’t going to last long!’ Which it didn’t! (He could not drive his big red van around as it was no longer legal.) But Dharmen was totally happy with it and in some way they both looked well matched!
He liked to have a beer or two and one night he had gone to Arillas to partake. On the way back home, he was unfortunately followed by the police and stopped. (It is doubly unfortunate as the police rarely appear in the rural areas in Corfu.) They said he was weaving around the road! They breathalysed him. They put him in handcuffs and took him to Corfu Town. He spent the night in jail and appeared before the court judge in the morning. Typically, Dharmen was not phased by any of this and just took it all in his stride!
The outcome was that he had to hand in his car registration plates for six months. I drove him to the police station in Paleokastritsa. When he came out he said they took his driving license as well for six months!
So from then on I would drive him around at times when he needed to do shopping etc, or go to the Saturday Osho Evening Meditation at Buddha Hall, or take him to town, or to the airport and back.
In the little house in Dafni he was translating the next book from Osho into Dutch. This was the first time I came to know that he had been doing this for many years and I was really touched that he did this. His love for Osho was really evident.
At one point he shared that he did not feel at home in Corfu, did not feel an affinity with the Greek people and began to make plans to move. (Dharmen had shared with me before that he loved Egypt, loved everything of ancient Egypt and really connected with the Egyptian people.)
He showed me a painting he had bought years before by a New York artist, whom I had never heard of. He said it is worth a lot of money now, maybe up to €50.000. He had contacted Sotheby’s in New York who were interested to buy it.
This was his ‘ticket’ out of Corfu and to start a new life somewhere. He had talked about moving to somewhere, anonymously, like Indonesia. This was around the time of Coronavirus beginning and he said plainly, “I am not afraid of a virus!”
Just before he left Corfu for good, he gave me some of his Osho books and some of his tools. He donated his big red van and other tools and belongings to the Gayatri Mandir.
I had arranged to pick up some more Osho books etc on the day he left, but I got in a ‘mood’ and didn’t go. So I never saw him again before he left. Another regret.
I found out that he was living in one African country and then in another, Ghana. This is Dharmen! He had this courage to go where he felt to! I remember feeling concern that he would be okay there, that he would be ‘safe’!
It is really good to read here from others of their relationships and experiences with Dharmen, a lot of which I did not know. It is beautiful to see the photos of him when he was much younger, looking very happy and very much alive, and to feel his love of and deep connection to Osho.
It has been a big lesson again for me in awareness. Do not judge. Do not judge another. Do not judge the behaviour of another. Instead, look in and see what is the reflection.
So, I apologise again to you, Dharmen, and ask for your forgiveness for my judgement. I can hear you say in reply, “Okay Shanti, yeah yeah, have a nice day!”
I don’t know how you died but I am sure you met death with the same unperturbedness, “Okay, yeah, yeah.”
Dharmen – a courageous soul and a true sannyasin of Osho. Good flight to the next adventure…
Very generous and giving
I want to write a few more words.
I am really affected by Dharmen’s death, by his leaving the body. This is somewhat unexpected as our friendship was quite short, lasting just a year and a half or so when he came to live in Corfu. So, it is a little surprising that I have been so upset upon receiving the news of his death. Maybe it is also possibly because our friendship ended and now I will not see him again in this physical realm.
I am also aware that it is reflecting something in me. It brings it closer to home the fact of my own mortality, the fact of my own death of the body.
It is heartening to read Leela’s (and Anahato’s) words on Dharmen’s time with them in Foix, their beautiful oasis in the Pyrenees, SW France. That he had such a fun, joyous time together with them and enjoyed so much this area. Now I realise how much more there was to Dharmen than I knew.
When I knew him he was very generous and giving. He had a soft heart. He had a sharp intelligence and a good sense of humour and loved life.
Reading what other friends have shared here about Dharmen, I see now his sensitivity and caring which was sometimes easy to miss when just taking him at face value and not looking deeper. I did feel at the time that perhaps he was carrying ‘inner difficulties’ which made him sometimes appear ‘gruff’, but I never felt to ask him about this and he never came forth in sharing this.
I am really happy that he found love and joy and a new life with his new beloved in Ghana. It is very sad that he did not live long to experience much more. I do say the silliest of things sometimes and looking at what I wrote here about Dharmen facing death is really inappropriate! It is obvious he was ready for more life and living. It is not my business and what an immense experience one’s death is, to leave the body we have lived in and known for all our life!
I realise that I cannot begin to know at all what it was for him to encounter death and the leaving of the body. It is truly a personal experience. I hope that it was not a traumatic experience and that he did not suffer. I have a feeling that Osho and Osho’s energy will have helped him and supported him in this somewhat difficult transition.
Dharmen, I hope that if you have to come again into a body, your next incarnation will be a real loving joyous peaceful one.
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