(5 February 1945 – 8 August 2023)

Valerie Kauffman was born on 5 February 1945 in Pennsylvania and moved out to Ambler, PA later on. She graduated from Northeast High School, Philadelphia in 1962, attended Penn State University and graduated from Temple University, Philadelphia in 1969. She has a son, David, and a brother, Marc.

A fun-loving spirit

by Maira Shalese Deva Fogelvik

Our beloved Ma Anand Valerie Kauffman has passed in the tragedy of the Lahaina Maui Fires, supposedly of asphyxiation, with much sadness in many hearts.

Meeting Valerie on the outskirts of Philadelphia in 1975, we shared many unique experiences and moments in times. Her inspiration and search for different teachings of a spiritual nature had changed the direction of her life, as well as mine. Even though I never became a sannyasin, our activities led us to being surrounded by many through our home-bases, travels – and we each married sannyasins.

Over the 48+ years Valerie and I spent on and off, she taught me much from Astrology, Buddhism, Meditation, Reincarnation, to Tai Chi, Yoga and living a wholesome life. Valerie took me to many dancing meditations and gatherings as she searched for the perfect Master to follow, which led her to finding Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, as he was called back then in the late 70’s.

After exploring several Gurus, Valerie went onto receiving sannyas from Rajneesh and took off to Poona, India around 1979 for a summer of personal growth. In 1981 she went to Amsterdam for more intense sannyasin workshops. Meeting many along her spiritual journey, she met her beloved Nikhilananda while living at a sannyasin commune in DC.

Valerie later went to the Ranch and lived there on and off twice, driving a huge earth mover as one of her jobs. Although it was hard work, she loved her time in Oregon. On her many journeys, she stopped by Austin in ’82 -’83 to visit me for several months, got married, and also became part of the sannyasin community there.

After the ranch… she learned many sannyasins were moving to Maui and decided, in 1985, that would be her next stop in life. Except for few years, where she left to be with her mother as she died, she then traveled back to Poona again for more lessons. She later returned to the quaint little town of Lahaina which she so loved, and finally settled on making Maui her home, with a few short intermissions to San Diego and Florida.

While living together on Maui and in several sannyasin community homes, our fun times included cruising Lahaina on Friday Art Night, plus there were many fun-filled Halloween adventures strolling Front Street and dining out. Valerie found her place in the sun, enjoying the beach, warm weather and watching sunsets. She had a beautiful smile, and a fun-loving spirit, laughing often with a playful nature, sneaking into hotel hot tubs whenever the chance presented itself.

In the last few years, she had started taking a few cruises; one to the Caribbean and another to Australia. Her next cruise was to be Mexico in September. Sadly, she will not make it. Yet, she will forever be voyaging in the cosmos. She stayed true to her beliefs, practices, vegetarian life style, while always having a place in her heart for Osho and his teachings.


Valerie and me

by Nikhilananda

I first met Valerie (Ma Anand Valerie) in June 1981 at Deva Deep, an Osho (then Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) ashram in Washington, DC. I had just returned to the United States after having spent a year and a half in India.

We moved to Buckingham, PA where for the rest of the summer I helped run an Osho center; during which time Valerie left for a month to do a workshop with Veeresh at the Humaniversity in Holland. After returning, we spent another month in Buckingham, then returned to Washington, DC and moved into the Deva Deep ashram, with twenty-three people in a six-bedroom home.

We both stayed there until spring 1982. Valerie left first and a couple of months later I made my way to Rajneeshpuram, the spiritual community in Oregon. Though I stayed for four years, Valerie spent less time at the Ranch, moving to Seattle for a time and eventually to Lahaina on Maui.

When I left Oregon, I moved to Maui and stayed with Valerie in Lahaina. We lived together at various times over the years, including for a time when Valerie lived in my home in Huelo and other places upcountry before moving back to Lahaina, where she lived for many years, until the tragedy of the fire in Lahaina.


Many thanks to Michael Vedam, Nikhilananda, Mats and Maira, and to Upchara for alert

More Tributes

Lahaina memorial

Last night I was handed a candle with Valerie’s name on it for a memorial ceremony in Maui for Lahaina fire victims. Over 100 candles were distributed and placed in a circle during an interfaith ceremony.

Today, I decided to try and find out more about Valerie. There were a few connections. She grew up and went to school in Pennsylvania. I was born in Pennsylvania. I lived near Penn State during the 60s when Valerie was attending university there. My husband grew up near Philadelphia near the town where she grew up.

Another connection was her Indian adventures. Valerie spent time in Poona, India. My family was based in Poona (now called Pune) as well.

It would have been great to have a conversation with Valerie about our shared backgrounds.

Sadly that will never happen. But I like to think your candle was meant for us. We will
keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

Rest in Peace Valerie. 🙏

Patricia O. (May 27, 2024)

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