Review of Ma Anand Devika’s book Love Song for Osho,
by Alok John
This is a lovely book by a committed sannyasin. It is a memoir of Devika’s sannyas life, from 1976 when she first met Osho, to His death celebration in 1990.
Angela was only twenty-two in 1976 when, through a stroke of “luck,” she walked through the gateless gate in Pune to fall head over heels in love with her Master. Within a few days she took sannyas directly from Osho, in spite of her fears she would never be able to wear a white wedding dress.
Devika was from a modest background in Kent, South-East England. At the age of eleven she knew her destiny would take her to India. She had to work hard both as a teacher and in a factory to pay for her trips to her Master. She was a real worker and in the Communes she was often to be found working hard in the kitchen.
Devika never became a member of the Inner Circle. She was never a star or a big boss or a therapist, just an ordinary or perhaps extraordinary sannyasin. This makes the memoir interesting and unusual. Devika was in love with Osho when she took sannyas in 1976, was still in love with him when the book was completed in 1995, and I presume her love continues with the publication of her book in 2008. She says that one look from her Master meant more to her than all the jewels in the world.
This is the story of Devika’s adventures on the spiritual path — its peaks and valleys, sunshine and shadows. And there certainly were valleys : almost dying of hepatitis, her tree house falling to the
ground in the monsoon, a mental breakdown, collapsing with dehydration in front of Osho’s Rolls-Royce during her first trip to the Ranch. Once she had her palm read, and was told it was a miracle she was still here.
But existence obviously wanted her here. Devika kept faith with her Master and she experienced great peaks and bliss as well. Indeed in the Preface she says that if there is a heaven, she would like to live her life with Osho over and over again for the rest of eternity. Her Master sent her (or appeared to send her) an Indian husband when she needed one to recover from her breakdown.
The book includes much description of Pune 1, Devika’s sannyas initiation discourse, energy darshans, groups with Sudha and Somendra. For a little while she lived at Prem Pantha in Devon, and Medina, though she was never a Medina groupie. The book includes descriptions of her travels around India and her visit to her husband’s family in Gujarat.
My only tiny reservation is that the book contains little about her family’s reaction to the life she chose. I don’t think they could have been very happy when she returned to India after almost dying of hepatitis there. And Devika says they blamed Osho for her mental breakdown. It would be interesting to know more about all this; I expect Devika omitted it out of love for her family.
Devika was in Buddha Hall (as I was) that January evening when Osho’s death was announced and sat the whole night at the Ghats by the river as her Master’s body was burnt. There were a few hundred of us, wearing our white robes as we had come directly from the Evening Meeting. We sang Peter’s haunting song “The Universe is singing a song, the Universe is dancing along, the Universe is singing on a day like this. It’s high time to dance, it’s high time to dance, it’s high time to dance. So wake up and dance…” And as Devika walked back to the Commune at dawn to prepare breakfast the whole sky is full of Osho’s energy and she knows truly, “He never died.”
If I read this book and wasn’t already a sannyasin I’d think “You’d have to be pretty mad not to take
A great book, full of love and truth, dedicated to Osho and his caretaker Nirvano (Vivek).
Love Song for Osho by Ma Anand Devika is available from Diamond Books in India, www.dpb.in/ for 200 Rs. including airmail postage, about £2.50. (Card details are only accepted by Internet Explorer or Netscape.)