Madhu 3rd from right, standing
(Dharmishtha B. Shah)
Madhu was among the fabled first group of people to officially take sannyas from Osho in Manali in 1970. For years before that, she was the principal of Sanskarteerth School in Ajol (GJ) and hosted Osho repeatedly for camps there.
Osho wrote many letters to Madhu. The wiki has no manuscript images but most if not all were published, so there are links below to where they can be found in books.
Madhu was the niece of Morar Ji Bhai Desai, who became a Prime Minister of India; Osho frequently ridiculed him for drinking his own urine. Morarjibhai was said to have been very angry about Madhu's initiation. Osho recounts a story about her and Morarjibhai with several threads in Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (ch 3). It begins with the story of a gold watch given to him by the astrologer in Varanasi who had earlier foretold his future, then ... (continued below gallery)
- I gave that watch to the first of my sannyasins. The name of my first sannyasin is Ma Anand Madhu -- a woman of course, because that's what I wanted. Nobody has initiated women into sannyas like me. Not only that, I wanted to initiate a woman as my first sannyasin, just to put things in balance and in order.
- Buddha hesitated before giving sannyas to women ... even Buddha! Only that thing in his life hurts me like a thorn, and nothing else. Buddha hesitating ... why? He was afraid that women sannyasins would distract his followers. What nonsense! A Buddha and afraid of business! Let those fools be distracted if they want to be!
- Mahavira said that nobody in a woman's body could attain to nirvana, the ultimate liberation. I have to repent for all these men. Mohammed never allowed any woman into the mosque. Even now women are not allowed into the mosque; even in the synagogue women sit in the gallery, not with the men.
- Indira Gandhi was telling me that when she visited Israel and went to Jerusalem, she could not believe that the prime minister of Israel and herself were both sitting in the balcony, and all the men were sitting downstairs on the main floor. She did not realize that even the prime minister of Israel, being a woman, could not be allowed into the synagogue proper; they could only be observers from the balcony. It is not respectful, it is an insult.
- I have to apologize for Mohammed, for Moses, for Mahavira, for Buddha, and for Jesus too, because he didn't choose a single woman as one of his twelve apostles. Yet when he died on the cross the twelve fools were not there at all. Only three women stayed -- Magdalena, Mary and Magdalena's sister -- but even these three women had not been chosen by Jesus; they were not among the chosen few. The chosen few had escaped. Great! They were trying to save their own lives. In the hour when there was danger, only women came.
- I have to apologize to the future for all these people; and my first apology was to give sannyas to a woman. You will be amused to know the full story....
- The husband of Anand Madhu, of course, wanted to be initiated first. It happened in the Himalayas; I was having a camp in Manali. I refused the husband saying, "You can only be second, not the first." He was so angry that he left the camp at that very moment. Not only that, he became my enemy and joined Morarji Desai. Later on, when Morarji Desai was prime minister, this man tried in every way to persuade him to imprison me. Of course Morarji Desai does not have that kind of courage; one can't have if one drinks one's own urine. He is an utter fool ... again, sorry ... utter idiot. "Fool" I reserve only for Devageet, that's his privilege.
- Anand Madhu is still a sannyasin. She lives in the Himalayas, silently, without speaking. Since then, my effort has always been to bring women to the front as much as possible. Sometimes I may even look unfair to men. I'm not, I am just putting things in order. After centuries of man's exploitation of women, it is not an easy task.
Now, Osho's version of the story about Madhu's husband seems to be incorrect, since there are other accounts of her husband taking sannyas. But he did become an "enemy" ...
Gyan Bhed writes:
- Bhagwanshree initiated a woman first so that she could get back her lost glory and Ma Anand Madhu became the lucky one to avail that opportunity. Her husband [Babu Bhai Shah - Swami Krishna Chaitanya] had requested Bhagwanshree a lot that he should get the opportunity to become the first one to get initiation from Bhagwanshree. When it did not happen so, he became an enemy and began to live with Morarji Desai. Ma Anand Madhu was the niece of Moraraji Bhai and so he was angry with Bhagwanshree for giving initiation to her. When Morarji Desai became the Prime Minister of India, Ma Anand Madhu's husband tried a lot to send Bhagwanshree behind the bars but could not succeed.
And Laherubhai writes, in Blessed Moments with Osho, that Osho's discourses, meditations and camps began to be filmed in 16mm film. One of the four reels that were to go into the making of The Rising Moon was lost but "later on, it was discovered that Ma Madhu's husband had destroyed the reel which was lost, in Ajol (Gujarat)".
Madhu left her body on May 18, 2021, reportedly fully aware. She had been living in Rishikesh for many years but went to friends in Dehradun for her final moments.
- Osho's letters to Madhu
- Dhai Aakhar Prem Ka ~ 029 (Dec 2 1969)
- Dhai Aakhar Prem Ka ~ 031 (Jan 12 1970)
- Dhai Aakhar Prem Ka ~ 032 (Feb 5 1970)
- Prem Ke Phool ~ 139 (Oct 15 1970)
- Prem Ke Phool ~ 140 (Oct 25 1970)
- Prem Ke Phool ~ 127 (Nov 26 1970)
- Antarveena ~ 049 (Dec 16 1970)
- Ghoonghat Ke Pat Khol ~ 031 (Dec 28 1970)
- Antarveena ~ 144 (Jan 9 1971)
- Dhai Aakhar Prem Ka ~ 071 (Jan 15 1971)
- Pad Ghunghru Bandh ~ 096 (Feb 24 1971)
- see also
- Osho News obit