Ma Prem Nirvano

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(Christine Wolf Smith aka. Alexa/Alisha Alexander)

Also known as Ma Yoga Vivek from 1971 to 1986 (*6).

The main article of this page has been written by Ma Prema Veena, a close friend and co-worker of Nirvano from 1972 to 1989. It was written in July 2022.
The other sources rely heavily on research of Sw Anand Neeten, private communication and Osho Source Book. The Wiki team is responsible for the selection of the texts.

Introduction by Veena

Ma Prem Nirvano, formerly Ma Yoga Vivek, was born in England in 1949 to middle-class, rather elderly parents. In tune with the times, she rebelled in her teenage years against her conservative upbringing. In her late teens she went to work in Germany where she met a young Indian man called Ravi. He invited her to go with him to visit his parents in Mumbai (then Bombay) towards the end of 1971. While there, Nirvano met Michael Graham, an author from Melbourne, Australia, who suggested that she go with him to listen to a talk by an increasingly popular Indian teacher called Acharya Rajneesh (later Osho), in a place called Cross Maidan in the centre of the city.
Later they went to meet Osho in his apartment and both stayed either there or nearby for a few months. She took Sannyas in April 1971.
When Osho arranged a meditation camp in Mount Abu in the spring of 1972, both Michael and Nirvano accompanied him there. Slowly Nirvano became closer to Osho and returned to Mumbai with him while Michael went back to Australia. (*1)
Although Nirvano did some work for Osho during the following year, she only started to take care of him full time when he went to Pune in 1974. From then onwards she dedicated her life to looking after Osho in a number of ways: as a trusted companion, housekeeper, nurse, secretary, photographer and general odd-jobs woman.
As she was accompanying Osho wherever he went, she was well-known to every sannyasin.
She had at all times to be aware and alert to safeguard Osho from those less alert than she was. She performed all these many roles with grace, humour, intelligence, efficiency and genuine affection but, at any careless action which might result in discomfort or danger to Osho, she could become as ferocious as any tigress intent on protecting her young.
She was supported by a team of people, most of whom lived in Osho’s house so that they would be able to assist in the event of an emergency. The team consisted of a doctor, a dentist, a dental nurse, two handymen, two car mechanics, three cooks, two cleaners, a laundress, a librarian, and some people who made his clothes and did other sewing tasks such a making curtains for his room and upholstering his chairs.
During Poona 1, when Osho held the Energy Darshans, Nirvano was in charge of all the mediums (women who assisted Osho in the energy work) who at one time numbered about thirty-six women. She also oversaw the work of the LaoTzu guards, some of whom eventually became known as samurai because of their martial arts skills. (*2)
As one of the team, I can personally say that, despite these very diverse tasks, Nirvano treated everybody with respect, intelligence, understanding, tact, and supreme efficiency.
But even in the face of her obvious dedication to taking care of all aspects of Osho’s life in order to facilitate his world-wide work, Nirvano was a target for spurious gossip and unfounded judgements.(*3) I again speak from personal knowledge when I say that she found these accusations hurtful.
An extreme example of the negative energy directed towards her was in Rajneeshpuram when Sheela, who had always been jealous of Nirvano’s closeness to Osho, arranged an attempt to murder her, which was fortunately foiled when a key did not open her locked door.(*4)
The insecurity and danger that Osho faced in the United States, ending in his imprisonment in a US jail, took a toll on Osho as well as Nirvano. The subsequent journeys around the world put his health in jeopardy and caused her untold stress as she was often unable to take care of him adequately. In the uncertain climate of the commune back in Pune in 1987, and as the result of the poisoning of Osho by US officials while he was in jail, Osho’s health and Nirvano’s declined simultaneously. (*5)
There has been no official explanation of Nirvano’s death on the 9th December 1989, but Osho said that "she died an untimely death".(*7).
(*1) An interview by Ma Yoga Sudha with Vivek, January 1979
(*2) Keeping Osho on Planet Earth Transcript of an interview with Veena about Nirvano, broadcast on 11 December 2019, as quoted on OshoNews.
(*3) Osho’s Companion – footnote in History - as an example of spurious gossip and unfounded judgements.
(*4) When under investigation by the FBI, the ex-mayor of Rajneeshpuram, Sw Krishna Deva, gave a detailed account of the attempted murder of Nirvano by Sheela and her minions, see Sw Krishna Deva - FBI Interviews Oct-Nov 1985 (source document), pages 26 - 28
(*5) Nirvano, a beloved friend: Ma Prema Veena on OshoNews, after hearing Ma Deva Anando in a recent radio interview in Australia making comments on Nirvano's mental health. With a postscript by Anando.
(*6) Ma Prem Shunyo writes in Diamond Days with Osho, p.160: "When Vivek returned from Thailand she changed her name to Nirvano - for a fresh start".
(*7) There are conflicting reports about where or how she died, see below on this page.

Other sources


Interview with Vivek, 1978

This is a long Interview by Ma Yoga Sudha with Vivek, in 1978, first published in magazine Sannyas, January 1979.

Love's Returning
"I almost feel as if this interview is too precious to be printed. I want to protect the flower of a love the likes of which I have never before come across. Vivek has given us a gift. I am amazed, moved, excited, joyous at it! What I felt as she spoke, crystal blue-grey eyes flashing, was a sudden perspective of the eternity of love. It is something I felt when my father died. It is very humbling.
Vivek breathes Bhagwan, so you will find him very present here. She has been a sannyasin for seven years now, and her 'work' in the ashram is to take care of Bhagwan--cooking, medicines, messages, his library, etcetera. She is one of two people who has direct access to Bhagwan at any time; the other is Ma Yoga Laxmi. The Master/disciple relationship here is very spiritually intimate. We are given only according to our capacity to receive.
The interview happened at tea-time, an afternoon ritual, in the kitchen where Bhagwan's food is prepared. Ma Yoga Astha was chopping vegetables, Ma Anand Nirgun was peeling beans, and Vivek and I were sitting on the floor, drinking tea, as the interview began..."
Sudha: Could you tell your story of how you came to Bhagwan?
Vivek: Mmm, how I came... Well, it was in 1971. Actually it all started in 1970 when I was living in Europe, in Frankfurt. ...

Osho 1971-04-16

I Am the Gate ~ 02

Yesterday, someone came to me in the morning, and I told her to take sannyas. She was bewildered. She said to give her time to think and decide, at least two days. I said to her, “Who knows about two days? So much you require…take it today, this moment.” But she was not decisive, so I gave her two days. The next morning she came and took it. She has not taken two days, only one day. I asked her, “Why? You have been given two days, why have you come so soon? She said, “At three o’clock at night, suddenly I was awake, and something went deep within me telling me, “Go take sannyas.”
It is not a decision that she has made, but a decision that has been made by her very deep-rooted mind. But the moment she came in the room I knew her, I knew that mind which she came to know twenty hours later.
So when I say take sannyas, there are so many reasons with every person to whom I tell it. Either he has been a sannyasin in the past life, or somewhere in the long journey he has been a sannyasin.
I had given her another name yesterday, but today I had to change it because I gave her that name in her indecision. Now I am giving her a different name that will be a help to her. When she came this morning, she herself was decided. That other name was not needed at all. And I have given her the name Ma Yoga Vivek, because now the decision has come through her vivek – her awareness, her consciousness.

Osho 1976-07-01

The Beloved Vol 2 ~ 01 question 5

Someone has dared me to ask you this impertinent question - what do you do with Vivek? Anything I could possibly understand through telling?
It will be difficult.
Vivek is so close to me that she is constantly on the cross. She has to be; it is difficult. To be so close to me is arduous. The more you are close to me, the more the responsibility. The more you are close to me, the more you have to transform yourself. The more you feel the unworthiness, the more you start feeling how to become more worthy -- and the goal seems almost impossible. And I go on creating many situations. I have to create them because only through friction does integration happen. Only through harder and harder situations does one grow. Growth is not soft; growth is painful.
You ask me, "What do you do with Vivek?"
I am killing her slowly. That is the only way for her to get a totally new being, to be reborn. It is a cross to be with me, and hard is the task.

Osho 1976-12-22

The Path of Love ~ 02 question 6

The last question. It is from Sw Yoga Chinmaya.
As Kabir is singing the path of love, excuse me asking a personal question. I could not resist the temptation, so... When did you have your last girlfriend, and the last love relationship?
You are all my girlfriends, boys included.
But this will not satisfy him; he needs something esoteric. So for him especially -- please, nobody else should listen to it, you close your ears. It is only especially for Swami Yoga Chinmaya, because an esoteric thing has to be very secret.
I had a girlfriend when I was young. Then she died. But on her deathbed she promised me she would come back. And I was afraid. And she has come back. The name of the girlfriend was Shashi. She died in `47. She was the daughter of a certain doctor, Dr. Sharma, of my village. He is also dead now. And now she has come as Vivek... to take care of me. Vivek cannot remember it. I used to call Shashi `Gudiya', and I started calling Vivek `Gudiya' also, just to give a continuity.
Life is a great drama, a great play -- it goes on from one life to another to another.
This is especially for Chinmaya. I hope nobody else has heard it.

Osho 1980-10-22

I Am That ~ 12 question 1

The first question:
For days now i have been on fire inside. I feel the unknown in part of me, and I am afraid to jump. Everything is cuckoo, and it's beautiful and scary at the same time.
Push me, !
On fire,
Crazy, baby, crazy! That's what I am here for, to put you on fire. And once it starts happening, nothing else is needed to be done. Then it goes on growing by itself, in spite of all your fears; they cannot prevent the fire. They are natural -- they come from your past, but the past is impotent when it confronts the present. The fire is present, the fire is now, and the fears come from the past; they are already dead. They belong to the non-existential, and the non-existential cannot do anything to the existential.
They are like darkness. The darkness can be very old, ancient, millions of years old, but just a small candle is enough to dispel it. It cannot say that, "I am very ancient, so how you can dare? You are just a small candle and you have come into existence this very moment, and I am so old, so ancient." But there is no time for darkness to say all that. The moment the candle is lit, the darkness starts disappearing. The problem is how to light the candle; once it is there, then there is no problem at all. If the candle is not there then darkness is very real, too real -- although it exists not. It is only an absence.
Vivek, once the fire is inside, even just a small part of you is on fire, that will do -- it will spread. It is not a fire that dies. Once it is there it is going to consume you totally; that is inevitable.
My work ends the moment the fire is on. Then the fire will do...
You say: For days now i have been on fire inside. I feel the unknown in part of me, and I am afraid to jump.
It is natural to be afraid to jump. And to jump in fire is like killing yourself In a sense it is suicide: the ego is going to die. Hence the fear, because we have existed as an ego; that is our identity. To drop it means death. The mind cannot conceive what else will be left once the ego is gone. The mind knows only the ego; it knows nothing behind, beyond. It knows nothing of the transcendental. The mind is part of ego, and when the ego starts dying the mind starts dying, and it creates all kinds of fears, anxieties. It is just a self-defense.
But once the fire is on, the mind is finished. It may take a little while for the fire to spread to the whole jungle of your being, but the mind cannot do anything to prevent it.
The moment the mind becomes impotent, the work of the Master is finished. Then he simply watches. Then he enjoys the disappearance of your ego, your mind, your whole so-called personality.

Osho 1985-09-28

From Bondage to Freedom ~ 14 question 1, about how Osho feels about women, as Sheela has recently left Rajneeshpuram and many crimes have come to light.

Look at Vivek, who has been with me longest – for fifteen years. When she first came, she was only twenty; now she is thirty-five. Almost half of her life she has been with me. And she has served me with an immense devotion, love care, such that you can only find in ancient stories about women, not in reality. From the morning when I wake up, till at night when I go to sleep, she is running all around. She has no time of her own, every moment she is devoted. Just to serve me is her joy.

Osho 1986-04-27

Beyond Psychology ~ 32 question 1

Beloved Bhagwan,
The most painful experience in the world is to be angry with you. This is not a question -- only an expression of sheer joy at feeling free again to love you.
That's right! It must be from Chetana! It is one of the most difficult things, to be angry with me.
You can ask Vivek, because she suffers many times for my sake, for my safety. And I can understand that if she becomes angry it is not against me. But then she suffers so much because of anger.
You love me so much -- you cannot conceive of being angry with me. But once in a while, just a taste is good. That will prevent you for the future from going into such spaces.
Of course for Vivek it is difficult. Now she has been continuously sad and worried because I have been continuously mistreated by the police, jail authorities, governments, deported from one place to another. And she knows that she cannot do anything to prevent it. This whole sadness sometimes turns into anger. Now she cannot even be angry with those governments; she can only be angry with me. But then to be angry with me is really difficult. It is almost an impossible task! And those who have to pass through it know its hell.
But one thing is good about it -- there is always something good, even in the worst situation -- that nothing remains forever. You come out of it, and then you feel a tremendous freedom and joy and understanding.

Devakant 2019

Devakant met Nirvano first on the Ranch. He became her lover in Poona2 in 1987. No dates are mentioned, but it seems this was for about half a year. These quotes from his book In the Eye of the Hurricane are only a small part of the incredibly touching love story and his observations.

pp. 233
She was physically very lovely, with a deep and mysterious beauty in her crystal blue eyes. But embracing her as I closed my eyes, that outer beauty was nothing compared to the strong and bright light that burned inside her. Whether it was her, or His energy in her, I'll never really know, but it burned through me as if I was a paper lamp, turning in the wind. In the dawn's light, she climbed down the ladder and went back to Lao Tzu House, and the ashram was stirring, along with the birds in the soft wind of sunrise.
p. 235
Nirvano and I continued meeting and were together nearly every night after that. After we had been together for some weeks, she asked me to move in and live with her in her room, which was part of Osho's private apartment separated by a glass door from the rest of the Lao Tzu house. Her room, all marble, next to Osho's, was practically barren of furniture, other than her bed. She had a little pillbox, in which she used to keep Osho's medicine next to her bed. She had no bedside table, so she would set it on the floor next to her pillow, so as to find it when she would get up in the night to give him his medications. His body condition was fragile at that time, and worsening each day. He would often be getting colds, and often needed antibiotics or some other medicine, which required that she wake up once or twice in the night to give it to him.
pp. 238 -- 240
One day, when we had been living together for a few months, out of the blue, I asked her about her relationship with Osho. She said they had a beautiful love affair for many years. They met in a meditation camp he had in Mt. Abu sometime around 1969. She would have been 19 or 20. She was so afraid to meet him, she hid in the bushes when his car passed by. One day during the camp as he was passing, he stopped his car, and opened the door. She shyly got in, and they spoke for the first time. They slowly got to know each other, and spent more time together, gradually becoming closer and closer. After some time, they spent the night together, and after some time more, became lovers. They never parted after that.
He called her Gudiya, from the name she had in her last lifetime, a lifetime in which they also had been together. This was just before Osho's enlightenment, in this present latest lifetime of his, before he was 21. She had remembered this lifetime of hers, which was now for her a 'past-life', remembering that she had brought him food daily as he meditated for long hours in the temple by the river in Gadarwara. She told me that she remembered clearly there was one day when she was 15, she brought the food for him, and someone was there to stop her, saying, "He needs not to be disturbed". Soon afterwards she died, of Typhoid; and probably, a broken heart.
She told me many intimate details of their relation of many years together in this life, of which there is no need to speak of here. Suffice to say that their love affair and relation as man and woman was beautiful, deep, mysterious, natural and remarkable. After she told me these things, she asked if I felt weird, if I felt different towards Osho. I answered that in fact it made me love him more, because I realized He is also a man, a human man, and that made his enlightenment all the more amazing to me. :After saying these things to me, I asked her if she ever tells these things to other people. She paused and said, "I NEVER TALK about these things to anyone... but one day... I WILL TELL ALL!"...
pp. 246 -- 247
On the exterior, if you didn't know her, she seemed very English. She could be EXTREMELY critical, and dry. Or worse, depressed, despondent. Her father was English. But her mother was French, and she grew up until the age of 10 in Paris, and this Parisienne side of her was much stronger when she was in a good mood. Vivacious, gracious, lovely and sweetly delightful, she could be the rarest and most feminine of birds, a queen in her court, or the nastiest adversary you could ever imagine. In short, she was one hell of a woman. If she was happy, it was like the whole universe was shining on you. If she was in a bad mood... just get out of the house. Quick!
She had remembered several other lives she had had before this one. She had been Rani Rasmani, the queen who gave to RamaKrishna the temple in Calcutta where she lived. She had cared for that enlightened man, and protected him; the same occupation she was having in this life.
I asked her about Osho's statement that she had been Mary Magdalene; she neither affirmed nor denied it, but this she answered me: she had remembered a lifetime in which she had been with Jesus. She described the day she met Him, in Galilee. She had seen a light, passing in a valley, and she walked to that light and met Him at the well.
And then she told me the strangest thing of all, and that was that she had also known Osho in THAT lifetime. That, in fact, Osho had been John the Baptist, and John the Baptist was the real physical father of Jesus.
With that, an earthquake went off inside me, and a chain of associations. Suddenly, something just fell into place inside me, like a piece of the puzzle. Why had Osho gone on a quest, a mission in fact to destroy all the falseness and pretension of Christianity, to unmask its lies and its hypocrisies, time after time, until in the end it would get him crucified by the fundamentalist Christian American government?
It was, if in fact this was true, his responsibility to do so. ...
(editor: Devakant, pp. 247-249, continues to discuss Christian mysticism and Osho's relation to this spiritual line].)
pp. 252 -- 253
Slowly friends could tell me the gossip, that now she was with Jayesh, he lived upstairs from her, and had made his move with her in the meantime while I was out of the house and sick, and they were in love. From stories she had told me about previous relations she had had, I knew that it wasn't her way to make a clean ending, an acknowledged ending, but that's what I wanted, and I figured she probably wanted to say something too, but was worried I would be too angry: so I took the step. I wrote her a little card, saying, "THANKS for everything, it was all a great gift. I am glad you are happy in your new love" ...And despite my sorow, it was my true feeling, that what I really wanted was that she is happy. I didn't matter in the equation, I knew and accepted that; what did matter was that she would be there for Osho totally, she was his lifeline to being in a body on planet Earth, that was utterly clear to me.
p. 347

Devakant writes on Nirvano's passing

The next morning, Dec. 11, Osho's Birthday, I was in the ashram at 7 in the morning, and my friend Asha, a beautiful Varanasi lady who always kept me well informed with all the latest ashram gossip, came up to me and grabbed my arm, saying, "Hey MAN! Have you HEARD? Nirvano has DIED!!"
I was stunned. Apparently she had died the day before, at 5:30 in the afternoon, exactly the time when I had finished the Buddha from the last block of marble, the story of which had all begun with her request. Neelam had been at the burning of her body in the ghats by the river in the evening, and said nothing to me when I had met her face-to-face at the exhibition an hour later, with just that look of unspoken sorrow. Nothing was being said to anyone about the death, officially. A stonewall of silence... No ceremony, No public funeral.
I was filled with a mixture of shock, dismay, anger, and disgust, about yet another cover-up in the commune, another 'skeleton' pushed into the closet. I went down to the river, to the burning ghats, where Nirvano's funeral pyre was still smoking where her body quickly and without public ceremony had been burned the night before. I sat there a long time... a very long time. I felt her, that she was glad to be dead, to be out of that body, free for now... I could hear her laughter.
p.364 -- 365
At this time of my life, I neither believe nor disbelieve, nor place any judgement whatsoever, on Nirvano's actions. I can truthfully and without a shadow of a doubt say that she was a higher being than me: higher in the sense of more crystallized in her energy, in the evolution of her consciousness, her being. She lived on a different level energetically. I could feel her look at my back, from 100 feet away. My body involuntarily shivered when I first saw her smile. She had a power inside her, which made me only love her, and not in any way feel myself to be her equal. She knew something, and had been somewhere inside that I had never been. And as such, she is subject to differ- ent laws than me. I.don’t know what they are, as “The lower cannot judge the higher”. I don’t know what happened to her or why she died. I do know it was covered up, whether out of embarrassment or guilt or awkward fear by the people who surrounded her and ran the ashram, I cannot say.
Suicide is not such a simple subject, painted in black and white. A person maybe as a last act, takes too many sleeping pills and falls asleep forever, thus ending the life in this body. But the road to get there, if that road is paved with seeming ‘friends’ who envy that persons power and position, and in her moment of weakness, push her further and further into a dark corner, who is really ‘responsible’ for the suicide? Is it really so clear? Are we all really so separate? Nirvano, although a very crystallized energy as a Being, had a personality in THIS LIFE with a tendency to ‘genetic depression’ as she herself called it, and she lived very apart from the entire rest of the ashram. Her emotional state was very much affected by stress, and she lived under the great stress of feeling personally responsible for Osho’s survival in his body.
For the 21 years that she was there, her entire adult life, while all of us were meditating, doing therapy groups, working in the commune, she was in a world apart, taking care of Osho 24 hours a day was her one and only task. In the two years she was with Jayesh, she stopped doing that work, and was isolated in the relationship, never entering really the commune. Although people loved her and admired her, it was mostly distant admiration and in some part envy. Although she had a few close friendships, as she was living in such a rarefied different world than the rest of the community, it was not easy for her to be social. That had never been a part of her life, she had one and only one reason for living, and that was to keep Osho in his body. She told me that personally. As Osho's health deteriorated and it became clear he was dying, her reason for living was disappearing with Him. Her depression grew, and her dependent relation on Jayesh, like a lifeboat, started leaking.
At the same time his power and position and money dominated more and more the forming of the Inner Circle of 21 which was to be the governing body of the commune after Osho's departure. Being the controller of the ashram finances, and the fact that no-one else was really able to keep track of where the money was going and coming from, gave him an unshakeable advantage and position of leverage over the whole movement at that time. I state this as neither good nor bad, it is just a fact of the jungle of money-power-and-politics of this world of duality we live in, a 'reality' already made very clear to me through the experience of the Ranch.
As Nirvano's depression deepened, Dhiraj, the 'founder' of the Tibetan Healing movement in the ashram who had 'miraculously' helped my back injury years before, had offered to treat her, and the offer was not accepted by her doctor. She was having a hard time in the relationship with Jayesh, and no longer living with or caring for Osho. Her mood shifts became more extreme, as she lost balance.
There was no autopsy performed on her body, she was already burning on her funeral pyre an hour after declared dead. There was no public ceremony, no recognition of the death given in any way, except for the funerary marker being given to me to do. Many questions... no answers.

Veena 2018

Nirvano, a beloved friend: In an article on OshoNews, 2018-05-03, Veena writes about Nirvano to correct inaccurate statements about her health, made by Anando.

To give a bit of credibility to myself and what I want to say, I would like to say a few words about my relationship with Nirvano and why I feel so strongly about this. I first met her at the beginning of 1972. I had just returned from Goa to visit Osho again after my meeting with him the previous December. Nirvano, Vivek as she was then, had just returned from the UK to stay in India with Osho. The meeting was at a lecture given by Osho in Cross Maidan in Mumbai to quite a few hundred Indian friends who were sitting in rows on the ground in front of a platform on which Osho sat. I walked hesitantly down the side of the area and then noticed this beautiful young western woman sitting at the end of the third row. I went over to her and asked her if I could sit with her because being one western woman amongst so many Indians was a bit daunting.
She said yes, probably for the same reason! Then I noticed there were four western women sitting up near Osho's platform looking very holy and important! Mukta, Astha and two others. I asked Nirvano why she wasn't sitting up there and she said she didn't want to be important, she only wanted to be in the background. This was Nirvano. Despite being so close to Osho and taking on the huge task of taking care of him and his health and safeguarding him and defending him from so many demands for his attention, she never felt herself to be important and wanted only one thing: to keep him safe.
My respect for her was enormous.
In the Mumbai days, Osho arranged for her and myself to share a flat and later to also live together when we went up to Mount Abu. When we moved to Pune, I first worked (editing) in Lao Tzu and then lived there – at Osho’s invitation. On the Ranch I first had the PR job so lived near Jesus Grove but later, when Osho started talking and more robes were needed, I moved back into the Ranch Lao Tzu House. And for most of Pune 2 I also lived in Lao Tzu House. Basically Nirvano was my ‘boss’ throughout the whole time – Pune 1 and 2 and the Ranch, a 20-year long period – and I worked closely with her in many different areas. She was a reserved person, not given to chatting much, but she was straight and clear and at times wielded an effective Zen stick. She was a Zen master in her own right! She was also a good friend and we had many laughing times together.

Divya 2017

Ma Prem Divya (American) writes on Vivek and Kranti in Tightrope: My Story with Osho Before He Was Osho p. 17

His intimate life is clouded in veils of inference. Few knew details of his relationship with the woman called Vivek, how this combined the master-chela as well as the man-woman relation. From what I witnessed, I believe he loved her deeply but would not afford himself the luxury. He was not the type to acknowledge needing anyone, even if he made sure that he was needed. Before any of us knew him, I was told by the close Indian companions of that time, as a young man he had trained in sexual Tantra with a woman referred to as a "cousin". It appears he was unwilling for it to be common knowledge, for he promptly dispatched her into exile the moment his Western audience was secure. We will never know if it was for her protection or for her own inner journey. The mores of Indians and Westerners, especially then, were very dissimilar, and it would be unfair to judge his actions from our moralistic standards. I remember catching a glimpse of her, a dark older woman with very wise, sad eyes. She was assigned a leading Indian chela to be her guardian for life and disappeared swiftly into anonymity.

Constantino 2016

Avikal Constantino writes in When the Ocean Dissolves into the Drop, on meeting Osho and Vivek:

When I first met her in 1987, Vivek had been with Osho for sixteen years and her devotion radiated with grace and beauty, and her love for the Master was like an aura that surrounded her, a glow that emanated out of her. She was a private person, a classic and refined beauty, with long blonde hair, slender in form and with one of the most penetrating looks I have ever come across and, following an attempt on Osho’s life by a Hindu fanatic, whenever she was near him in public situations, she guarded him like a tigress protecting her cubs. She spent her time dedicated to Osho’s needs, with or around him, taking care of his day-to-day personal matters. One day I was on guard shift at the gate, if I remember correctly it was in the afternoon, when Vivek came over to tell me that Osho wanted to do a photo session wearing a black, turtleneck sweater that was in the process of being made and he wanted me to be the photographer and that I should be at the ready because the sweater was almost finished…

Maxwell 2017

For Rahid Maxwell's book The Only Life a monograhpy about Ma Yoga Laxmi, Yatri writes on Laxmi, Vivek and Sheela:

pp. 122 -- 123
Now I come to a very personal and almost certainly contentious observation about the three women who dominated the Poona commune in the seven years before the exodus to the USA. It is not a cosmetically and politically correct view but it was the reality to this eyewitness. It also highlights the unique difference in the character of each woman.
There was Laxmi - the first disciple and carer of Osho. There was Vivek - his new and intimate companion and carer of a few years. And there was Sheela - the secretary in waiting. This was a clash of giants and often quite uncomfortable to be around.
In the case of Vivek and Laxmi there was a real mutual respect even though I witnessed some fiery clashes between them. In the years between 1973 and 1976 they shared a certan - almost virginal - nun-like appearance, both in the choice of clothes they wore and in their outward air of chaste calmness. In 1976, Vivek entered the first of her relationships with men and the difference between them started to become more and more apparent. Gradually, Vivek became the women's role model while Laxmi remained aloof as the virgin queen. The original orange colour chosen by Osho changed as Vivek - also with Osho's blessings - experimented with alternative tones and shades of sunrise colours. These were both created and imitated by her little coterie of tailors and seamstresses in Lao Tzu House. Soon her shades and fashions spread throughout the Ashram, eclipsing the original Laxmi colour.

Yatri also describes the beginning of the end of the Poona One phenomenon:

I was aware of the deep harmony that existed betweem Laxmi and Vivek in the caring for their master. That harmony was disrupted however, as early as 1979, when it became apparent that there was a direct challenge to both Laxmi and Vivek from a third party. While both of them were only interested in caring for Osho, his health and his vision of awakening as many of his disciples as quickly and comprehensively as possible, it was evident that, for Sheela, the major thirst was to be his Number One disciple.

Sam 1997

This is from Life of Osho by Sam (Sw Prem Paritosh (British)).

Warning: questionable source In this quote, the "found dead in a Bombay hotel" is not correct, according to the present consensus. She died in the commune in Poona, and Sam mentions that possibility also. But for sure, "Bombay" was the most common story in those early days, and to this day (2022) many people who did not check the later testimony hold that belief.

pp.234 -- 235
Perhaps he [Osho] could have hung on still longer – but just before his birthday celebration in December [1989] Vivek was found dead in a Bombay hotel room. No public announcement about what had happened was made. Her body was brought back to Poona, and burnt on the ghats at night with only a handful of friends present. The story was that it was a drug overdose – but whether accidental, or a deliberate decision to kill herself, no one knew. In fact no one knew whether she did really die in Bombay – or whether it was in the ashram, and they just hushed it up. Whatever it was, she seems to have been in a state of great inner pain. Of all the inadequate things in this account perhaps the worst has been my failure to do justice to Vivek. I never knew her, and there has been no way I could work her into this; but so far as I am concerned no other person, apart from Osho, played so important, or so fine, a role in the history of sannyas...In her way she was as alone and mysterious as Osho himself. No one seems to know anything much about her. Osho’s ‘caretaker’ they call her in the ashram books. This is really disgusting. She was his lover, and the only friend he ever had. She gave everything she had, and I think it tore her apart. To have been that close to enlightenment when she was with him...only to have it disappear when she was alone again. To have been surrounded by all those ashram women, all eaten up with jealousy; and then to have had to watch him die.
Horribly, her body was found just before one of the biggest of the annual celebrations at the ashram, Osho’s birthday. The gleaming new marble complex was throbbing, packed with new sannyasins from Germany and Italy and Japan, probably none of whom even knew who Vivek was. The big ‘celebrations’ were always sannyas at its sweaty, shouting, Nuremberg Rally worst, and Osho must have had to sit there, amidst the deafening music, with all of them jumping up and down and bellowing his new name – “Osho.. !” “Osho.. !” “Osho.. !” – like he was some savage god, some idol in the jungle. Did it all replay in silence in his mind, how he had met her in Bombay that summer so long ago: she a young English girl, shy, with a long nose, and as beautiful as the day?
Osho was only to live for a few weeks more. If there was ever any doubt about the depth of whatever strange bond there was between them, the closeness with which he followed her into death should dispel it. With Vivek’s death any hope of ever really knowing Osho – of knowing him humanly, with any intimacy – disappears once and for all. Vivek was the only person you could say was close to him. She was the only one who got to throw things at him. Which he richly deserved. Living with him must have been intolerable... One time at darshan I remember him saying, “I might be wrong.” Wrang. “I might be wrang.” He sounded genuinely intrigued by the possibility…

Forman 1988

Ma Prem Maneesha writes in Bhagwan: The Buddha for the Future about her work as editor of Osho's discourses into books, in early 1985 (on the Ranch):

Raj, Geet and I had hilarious times together, so good that they couldn’t possibly resemble the most liberated boss’ notion of work; but happily, the closest identifiable person we had to a boss was Vivek, who was about as easygoing a coordinator as you could wish for. In addition, like me, she couldn’t bear the notion of “mums,” and certainly had no motherly aspirations in regard to Lao Tzu House and its residents.

Shunyo 1992

Osho with Shunyo (Chetana) and Vivek (Nirvano) in energy darshan

Ma Prem Shunyo writes in Diamond Days with Osho about her work in Lao Tzu (a.o. to do Osho's laundry), close to Nirvano.

Vivek had been Osho’s caretaker for about seven years at this time (editor: so this must be around 1980). Her relationship with Osho goes back through past lives, as He has talked about in discourses - and she can remember. She was a mysterious child/woman, Pisces, with all its qualities of Neptune, with large blue eyes. She had never been away from Osho for even a day, so when she announced that she was going to England for a couple of weeks and would I take care of Osho....
I spun dizzily in a confused state until, in an effort to stay in the moment I said to myself that, “Nothing is really happening, nothing is really happening. Just stay cool.”
How could I possibly be clean enough to go into Osho’s room?
pp.53 -- 55
Sheela was getting a taste of stardom. She was asked to go on many TV programs, I think because her gross behavior, such as giving the finger as an answer to a question, helped the ratings.
There were, by now, many new sannyasins from Europe who had never seen Osho. To them Sheela was The Pope. At her meetings held in Rajneeshpuram for the whole commune, she was always surrounded by young people with adoring faces, fresh from the communes in Europe, eager to clap their hands at anything she said. These meetings used to frighten me. I used to think how they must have been like Hitler’s youth movement.
I retreated more into the mountains.
As Sheela increased her fight with the “outside world,” so a battle began within. Vivek and Sheela gave a meeting together in Magdalena cafeteria one night to assure commune members that there was no rift between them. :Although the meeting seemed genuine and was touching, it did in fact confirm everyone’s suspicions that there was indeed conflict between the two of them. Otherwise, why the meeting?
Vivek didn’t trust Sheela one inch, and she was not allowed a key to Osho’s house. When she came to see Osho, Sheela first had to telephone Vivek, then the door would be unlocked for her at the exact right time and locked behind her. Sheela was also forbidden to walk through our house to get to Osho’s trailer, she had to use a side door. This was because she always caused trouble when she walked through our trailer, but of course, it pissed her off because she felt insulted. It was a matter of who had the power.
Sheela would never have told Osho about these seemingly small squabbles, because she had enough sense to know that His solution would diminish her power. I never told Him, because in comparison with how Rajneeshpuram was growing it seemed petty. I was under the illusion that at least if Sheela was angry and nasty to us (meaning the people who lived in His house), then we would be her outlet for anger and she would behave well with the rest of the commune. I was being naive.
I can’t remember suffering at Rajneeshpuram, even though I was working twelve hours a day and the rules about what we could and could not do were increasing. I know once when Osho asked me if I was tired, I replied that I couldn’t even remember what it was like to feel tired. I thought everybody was blissed out. Excuse me, but I never had the feeling that it was a difficult time. In our sleepiness we were allowing ourselves to be ruled by a group of people who were undermining our intelligence and in some instances creating fear in order to control, but that took time to surface and in the meantime, we were enjoying ourselves. If you put a group of sannyasins together, the common denominator will be laughter.
Vivek suffered a lot though. It was the beginning of a hormonal and chemical imbalance that manifested in bouts of depression. I also think that she was so sensitive that her intuition about Sheela and her gang was driving her crazy. She was prone to depression and would sometimes be in a black hole for two or three weeks. We tried every way we could to help her and nothing helped, except to leave her alone, which is what she was asking for in the first place.
She decided to leave the commune. John, a friend, and one of the “Hollywood Set” - a small group of sannyasins who had been with Osho in Poona, and had now given up their luxurious lives in Beverly Hills to join this great experiment - was asked if he would drive her to Salem about two hundred and fifty miles away so that she might take a direct flight to London. They drove for eighteen hours through a snow blizzard, visibility nil, and roads slippery with ice. She caught the plane though.
John made his treacherous trip back to the commune, and before he arrived Vivek had called from England where she had visited her mother for a few hours and decided she wanted to come back to the commune. Osho said, yes of course, and John was to meet her at the airport, as he had been the one to see her off. John arrived back at Rajneeshpuram, just in time to turn around and do the trip again. The snow was so thick by now that many roads were closed down and the snow was still falling. They made it, and Vivek was welcomed back with open arms. As usual she carried no guilt or embarrassment and walked back into her life, head held high as though nothing had happened.
It reminds me of a Gurdjieffian device. It wasn’t a device though.

Navjot 2015

Ma Antar Navjot writes in her blog about the period 1988 - 1989 that she was working in the Lao Tzu library. This happened on May 10, 1989:

It was a quiet afternoon in the library that day, until Nityamo came in and beckoned to me. I went over to her and she said ‘I need you to help with something. Can you be discreet?’ I nodded and she set off down the corridor, past Maneesha’s room and out of the door to the Lao Tzu driveway. I followed her closely. ‘I need you to do some cleaning work for me as you are still cleared for Lao Tzu’ she said.
I wondered why we were walking down the driveway towards the Lao Tzu gate, but didn’t ask any questions. Nityamo was walking quickly, so I hurried to keep up with her.
We continued on out of Lao Tzu gate and down the path towards the main gate. Krishna House was on the left. Nityamo turned into a doorway of Krishna House and led me upstairs to a bedroom. The room was large by ashram standards, big enough to fit in a double bed and cupboard. The room had a window overlooking the old Vrindivan cafe, which was now an upmarket bistro.
There was another ma there and Nityamo instructed us to give the room a good clean and change the bed linen. We quickly got to work to ready the room for whatever was required.
We were just finishing up when Nityamo came in, helping to support Nirvano, Osho’s girlfriend of many years. It was rumoured that they were no longer together. Another ma who lived in Lao Tzu, the silent ma called Krishna Priya was also helping to support Nirvano.
Nirvano was incoherent, and was helped into the freshly prepared bed. She appeared to be on heavy tranquillisers or some other strong drug. I wondered if she had been up all night lookng after Osho, although I actually had no idea what Nirvano did these days.
Nirvano’s speech was slurred and I could not make out what she was saying. Krishna Priya was stroking her forehead and settling her down. Nityamo gestured to me and the other cleaner and husted us out of the room, closing the door quietly behind her.
At the bottom of the stairs Nityamo told me to head home for the day, and not to talk about what had happened. I didn’t actually know what had happened, except that Nirvano did not seem to be very well, or drugged, and had to be put to bed in the middle of the day.
I was left disturbed and worried by this incident, but was not able to discuss it with anyone. I thought back to the incident earlier in the year when Nirvano had called the library, sounding either drunk or drugged, and asking for Shunyam. I had answered the phone then, and given the message to Maneesha. She had also told me to be discreet about it.
What was wrong with Nirvano? I wondered.

Devageet 2013

Osho: The First Buddha in the Dental Chair p. 251

In the middle of December 1989, Vivek died from an oveerdose of sleeping pills. Her death came as a shock to everyone in the commune. She had been in a disturbed state of mind for weeks. I had assumed it was due to her turbulent love life. Osho's health, already precarious, took a downturn.

Osho Times International 1990-01-01

This is the official and only announcement of Nirvano's passing in the main magazine of the time.

This is the official announcement of Nirvano's passing in the main magazine of the time.
This is the official announcement of Nirvano's passing in the main magazine of the time.

Vaidya (2017)

p.104 Alisha Alexander - death certificate.

Indian journalist Abhay Vaidya writes in Who Killed Osho? :

pp.104 -- 121, chapter 6
The Suspicious Death of Osho's Girlfriend
Christena Woolf Smith, an attractive Britisher known by her sannyas name Ma Prem Nirvano, had been Osho’s caretaker for the most part of his life since 1974, and his lover for many years. At the time of her death, she was just three months away from her 41st birthday on March 19.
A search for her death records with the Pune Police resulted in some interesting findings: Recorded as ‘Death No. 135’ under the Bund Garden Police Station, her name was entered, rather strangely, as ‘Alexa Alexander’; 41-year-old female “Rajneesh disciple,” residing at 17 Koregaon Park, Lane No. 1. The police records stated that Nirvano was brought to the N.M. Wadia Hospital’s Ward No. E/4 on December 9, 1989 at 6.15 a.m. and declared dead at 18.20 hrs (6.20 p.m.).
In the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) records, Nirvano’s Death Certificate mentions her name as ‘Alisha Alexander,’as against Alexa Alexander’(see p. 104) in the police records. All the details of her address, age at the time of death, date and name of the hospital where she died match with the police records. Under the column ‘Cause of :Death,’the PMC’s Death Register states ominously, “opinion reserved.”
Why the name variations? None of the senior-most sannyasins the author spoke to were able to identify Nirvano by the names that have assumed her identity in the PMC and Pune Police records.
The Commune informed its senior-most members that Nirvano had committed suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills as she had been suffering from depression. Neither was the press informed about her death nor was the news leaked out.
During an interview with the author at his Osho Nisarga base at Dharamsala, Tathagat who was the Commune In-charge then, said when he came to the Commune at around 6 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, December 9, he was told by the guards that “somebody had gone sick in the night and a car had been driven out of the Commune to the hospital.” When Tathagat checked, he found it was Nirvano.
“She was admitted sometime in the night,” said Tathagat, adding that she had been brought in an unconscious state to Wadia Hospital, off Bund Garden Road, about two kilometres from the Commune. Nirvano was declared dead at around 6 p.m., Tathagat said. Her body was then taken to the government’s Sassoon General Hospital for the post-mortem which he termed as “the medico-legal, viscera inspection,” and then, after the autopsy, it was brought to the burning ghats for cremation.
Tathagat was not aware of the precise cause of Nirvano’s death. “She might have over-dosed herself as she was suffering from depression and taking treatment from a hospital in England,” he said.
Tathagat was emphatic that Nirvano had been found unconscious inside her room in the Commune itself and had not been brought from Bombay as was being stated by some former sannyasins on the Internet, and during interviews with the author.
Nirvano’s sudden death was kept hidden from the press and public and discussion was not encouraged even within the Commune which was in the midst of preparing for Osho’s 58th birthday celebrations on December 11. Since Neelam, and Tathagat were also unaware—or unwilling— to disclose the circumstances of her death, it meant that the facts were known only to the top-most rung at the Commune—Jayesh, Amrito and Anando. The official line was that Nirvano was suffering from chronic depression and had died accidentally due to an overdose of sleeping pills. According to the Commune, she was denied the “death celebration” on Osho’s instructions as she had not died a natural death.2
On the day Nirvano died, Premgeet was on guard duty at the Commune and was asked to be present at Nirvano’s funeral. He recalled that episode vividly. “On that day,” said Premgeet, “I could not go to the evening darshan as I was sitting in Hotel Dreamland with my friends Rajani and Samarpan who had come from Surat. Whenever I would go out of the Commune, I would call the front gate to check if all was okay. When I called the guards at around 8 p.m., they sounded alarmed and said, “Where are you? Tathagat is searching for you frantically.” So I left the party and came to the ashram.”
On reaching the Commune, Premgeet met Tathagat who asked him to rush to the Tulsiram burning ghats. He did not give any details and said, “You will know once you reach. You may be required there.”
“So I reached the burning ghats and saw 10-15 people there. It came as a shock to me when they brought out Nirvano’s body. Till that point, I didn’t know that Nirvano was dead. Very few people were informed that Nirvano was dead.”
Apart from the death, he was shocked by the hurried cremation. As he put it, even when an “ordinary person” would die at the Commune, Osho would come to the Buddha Hall, offer flowers and then the body would be taken for cremation. Here was a person who had been Osho’s lover and caretaker for so many years, “who was like a shadow to Osho all his life,” who had died. “A person of that importance, and nobody even comes to know of her death? Why?” wondered a shocked and puzzled Premgeet.

see also

  • Original Osho Will claimed to have been destroyed by Vivek - a report of 2017-09-30 about the a petition in a court-case filed by Osho disciple Yogesh Thakkar, complaining about lack of police action on his allegation that much money were being siphoned off by the current Osho Foundation, on the basis of a forged will.
Mukesh Sarda, one of the accused, booked by Koregaon Park police on the basis of Thakkar’s complaint, has filed an affidavit claiming Alisha Alexander, who was also known as ‘Ma Nirvano’, actually destroyed Osho’s last will.
  • Ma Anand Sheela, Osho's secretary who oversaw the rise and fall of the Ranch, writes in Don't Kill Him! extensively about difficulties between Osho and Vivek, painting a picture of her as a possessive and hysterical wife.
Warning: questionable source Generally, the truthfulness of her statements can not be determined by this Wiki, because Sheela has been caught lying on numerous occasions, and she has been convicted of very serious crimes, including attempted murder, and --additionally-- as relieable sources have told of her poisoning and murder attempts at Nirvano (then Vivek).
Still, we want to give one quote, because that has been re-quoted elsewhere as the truth. But it paints a completely inaccurate picture of Vivek.
Sheela writes (p.251 -- 252):
One day, back in 1978, when we were still in Poona, she wanted to teach Him a lesson because for a long time He had not shown any interest in her. She had sex with Him without using contraceptives and became pregnant. This was a very scandalous situation in India, especially for a holy man like Bhagwan. His followers had often claimed that He was a celibate. That is expected of saints, particularly in India.
Fortunately, one of His dedicated Sannyasins was aprominent gynaecologist in Poona. He also owned a private clinic for women. With his help, Vivek’s pregnancy problem was solved quickly. She had an abortion, and then sterilization.This was no big deal. This doctor regularly performed abortions for Sannyasins and the women of Poona. Birth control was promoted and abortions were legal under the government of Indira Gandhi to address the problem of overpopulation.
Laxmi very quickly organized an abortion and sterilization date for Vivek. I was in her room when she called the doctor. The event was being completely hushed up. Only Bhagwan, Dr Saraswati (the gynaecologist), Laxmi, and I knew what wasreally going on. Everyone in the Lao-Tsu House was walking as on egg shells. They had just been told that Vivek was not well. Laxmi asked me to look serious when visiting Vivek in her room. Laxmi was quite worried because of this matter and felt it could be risky to trust just anyone. But she trusted me in such situations.
Editor's comments :
  1. "She wanted to teach him a lesson" :
    There is no way that Sheela could make such an assessment. Ma Prem Shunyo and Ma Prema Veena have both said that Vivek did not trust Sheela at all. It is therefore very unlikely that Vivek would have shared her intimate personal details like what contraceptives she did or did not use, with Sheela who, by that time (1978), had only just started working in the front office with Laxmi and knew very little about the very private life of the people working in LaoTzu house.
  2. "She had sex with Him ..." :
    Vivek was in a long term settled relationship with someone else at the time, making such a claim doubtful.
  3. "... without using contraceptives" :
    There is no way Sheela could know this. What is known is that 'the pill' was not yet available in India, and other methods of contraception were outdated and unreliable. Quite a lot of sannyasins had unwanted pregnancies during the seventies, and these were often solved with an abortion, via the clinic that Sheela describes. We know this from several independent correspondents.
  4. "The event was being completely hushed up. Only Bhagwan, Dr Saraswati, Laxmi, and I knew (...) Everyone in the Lao-Tsu House was walking as on egg shells. They had just been told that Vivek was not well. Laxmi asked me to look serious when visiting Vivek in her room. Laxmi was quite worried because of this matter and felt it could be risky to trust just anyone. But she trusted me in such situations." :
    One of our correspondents, who lived and worked in Lao Tzu at the time, gives this comment: "Everyone in LaoTzu house knew about this event because we all took on extra work to help, while Nirvano recovered. But we didn’t talk about her personal life to all and sundry of course." So that completely invalidates Sheela's version, including the eggshells in Laoy Tzu and her own special trustworthiness.
Warning: questionable source (editor: Althoug a lengthy, 26 page monograph specifically about Nirvano, we have abstained from quoting from this work. It has flagrant errors. And although it is written in a religious journal it lacks any of the religiousness that is, for many sannyasins, at the core of the relation between Nirvano and Osho.
Here is a taste of the text:
Vivek was an elite member of Rajneesh’s inner circle and an intimate companion to the guru. By studying her life, we might gain insights into what Max Weber calls the “charismatic aristocracy” and how significant members of this elite group function as “central causal agents in the etiology of charisma.” 3 Vivek’s life offers an interesting example of what sociologist Paul Joosse calls “disciple charisma,” a state which requires a delicate balance of obsequiousness and “personal charismatic qualification.” 4 By examining her role in Rajneesh’s daily discourses and darshans, we begin to understand the “dramaturgical” element in the social construction of the guru’s charismatic persona. 5 Finally, Vivek’s story raises the issue of propinquity to the source of charisma. Since Vivek’s precarious spiritual status appeared to wax and wane in response to her level of physical proximity to her guru, I will analyze her charismatic career within the framework of two relevant studies: religious studies scholar Amanda Lucia’s exploration of “haptic logics” (the phenomena of sacred touch) and historian of religions Manon Hedenborg White’s study of “proximal authority.” 6)

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