(21 April 1923 – 14 April 2024)

Chhaya was born in Venice, Italy, almost 101 years ago. As a youngster she excelled in 200 m sprint, reaching times almost as fast as male runners. This career was then cut short by her father’s displeasure and the start of WWII.

During the war she worked as a Post Office employee in Venice, where she met her future husband, the musician Oreste Canfora (bigger brother of director and composer Bruno Canfora) and then followed him to his workplaces at the RSI Orchestra in Lugano, Switzerland, then to the Scala in Milan.

They had a son and a daughter, the musician and cook Anubi (Ananda Veda) and choreographer and therapist Deepti. Chhaya took sannyas after them, on 1 May 1977.

For many years she worked in the offices of Renault (Racing) and Citroën, to support herself and the two children after her divorce.

She was part of the Akshaya Meditation Centre and Commune in Sorengo-Lugano and of Osho Miasto where in both places her work ethic was highly appreciated.

Chhaya spent her last 8 years in Casa Verdi, a retirement home for musicians in Milan, where she died early morning on Sunday, 14 April.

Anubi/Veda was at her hospital bed on Saturday night. While holding her fragile hands (with drips and what-not) he saw in her eyes, in a window of mental clarity, a totally awake presence and then heard, as if it were a goodbye, a loud roaring Buddha laughter come from her.

Chhaya was always a giver, of attention, presents, an impromptu warm meal, a big hug, and had an open mind for everything she heard.

Thanks to Anubi for text and to Deepti for photos

Chhaya taking sannyas
Chhaya taking sannyas

Divine Shadow

sannyas initiation with Osho

Deva means divine and chhaya means shadow – divine shadow. We are all god’s reflections, and to think about ourselves otherwise is wrong. We are joined to god as the shadow is joined to our body. There is no way to go away, the shadow cannot leave – it simply follows.

Once this is understood, life becomes very easy and very blissful. Then you are not the doer, then there is no responsibility on you. The whole responsibility is on god’s shoulders, and in that there is rest and relaxation.

So from this moment, leave everything to god and suddenly you will feel a great transformation.

Become a shadow!

Osho, This Is It, Ch 1 – 1 May 1977

More Tributes

Fly high, sister!

Shunyam / Rabindra


From short-lived mother-in-law you became a true friend, on equal terms. You always had time to welcome me in your apartment after my business errands in Milan, and there was always a warm meal ready for the two of us.

It was rare I ever left without a present. For many years I treasured two bags and a vest. They were wonderful reminders of you, mainly when I had moved abroad. It was always, “I am going to take Chhaya’s bag…” until the items slowly disintegrated from too much use. You were present with your love in the object you had given to me with so much love.

Thank you for everything, dear Chhaya! Love you.



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