“How are you, Ma Laxmi?” The answer was, “Laxmi is fine.”
Yes, Ma Yog Laxmi, the secretary to Osho, earlier known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, always referred to herself in the third person. This is how she dissolved her ego by never using the word ‘I’.
When she was very sick and asked the same question, she would respond, “Laxmi is fine but the body has a lot of pain.” Here she was clearly showing the difference between her true self and her body. We identify ourselves with our physical bodies when we say, ‘I am hungry’, never realizing that it is only our body that is hungry while our real, eternal self can never be hungry.
Physically, Ma Laxmi was fragile, tiny and delicate; but her persona was totally different. Full of unlimited energy, bubbling with positivity while smiling and laughing, she attracted, inspired and motivated all who came in her contact. Based on her love and total surrender to her master, her sole purpose in life was to realise his vision.
Born on 12 February 1933 in a well-to-do family in Bombay, she got involved in social welfare work after her education. After attending one of the discourses of Osho, she was attracted to his path-breaking ideas and went on to participate in his medication camp in October 1970 when was initiated as a disciple by him. There was no looking back after this as she fully immersed herself round the clock in his work.
Four years later, Osho moved to Poona where she managed the phenomenal expansion of the commune’s facilities to cater for thousands of Indian and foreign disciples arriving to be with the enlightened one. Sitting with her master, she was bent on her notebook writing down her master’s instructions. Very focused, with downcast eyes, she was serious here. As she moved to her office, with a hundred priorities and dozens of visitors, she was ever smiling, joking and prodding her fellow disciples to new achievements. No problems here, only opportunities. This was her approach, with a light touch.
During her Poona days, she made constant news for Osho. No wonder that a top magazine, India Today in its annual review, named her as the three most celebrated women in India! As usual, she laughed it away as the blessings of the master. In fact, she treated everything as a blessing and/or a device of her master for her spiritual progress. Everything in her life was ‘His grace’.
She followed Osho to the United States where she retired from management. These were very tough years when she was arrested by US authorities and urged to testify against her master. She refused point blank. She also became very sick and hospitalized but managed to survive and return to India.
Wen Osho returned to India, she again happily served as his secretary for a brief period before retiring to her ancestral home in Bombay, battling with cancer. As she suffered, she never complained but said it was ‘His grace’, never tiring of thanking him as she breathed her last on 6 January 1995.
As a devoted disciple, Laxmi lived her entire life to the full by loving and laughing; and, most of all, whittling away her ego by always reminding us that we are not just the physical body as and when she said, “Laxmi is fine.”
On Ma Yog Laxmi’s birthday, 12 February, Swami Anand Kul Bhushan writes about Osho’s secretary who started as a disciple and became a devotee