We live in an ailing world at a time of rapid changes and often we feel powerless. We are not. We can change things. If we change our selves we immediately change the world.
The Only Life is the story of an ordinary woman thrust into an extraordinary life. Laxmi was a child of India: in her genes there lived the sages of the Upanishads, the merchants of the spice trade, and the warriors of Shivaji. Her heritage was lavish with bright saris and the purple clouds of monsoon, ecstatic chants and dancing, the scent of tuberose and jasmine.
Like most young people, she wished the world was a kinder, better place. Her large extended family presented her with many of the challenges and conflicts of society. She was constantly looking for ways to free herself from the charmed but tangled circle: the golden cage. Growing up she did good works, supported Gandhi and the Indian Independence Movement; she sought freedom. Unsatisfied with her meagre results she withdrew to make room for something else. Something different.
In her mid-30’s she met the enlightened master Osho, then known as Acharya Rajneesh, who opened her eyes to the treasure trove of life. He changed the game by stirring her to look within herself. In his field of play, she learned the value and the power of meditation. She became his first disciple and his chief administrator, his right hand and his honoured voice to the many thousands drawn to him. She was the sunflower turning to his love.
Proximity to the furnace of a master affects people differently. It inflates the ego of some, burns others and the fit ones it purifies. Self-realisation does not come cheaply. Many apparently devoted disciples are not willing to pay the price. To rise higher, Laxmi had to fall. She saw the inner work she had to do. The protégé whom she had trained and cherished, the now notorious Sheela, deposed her from her elevated role.
For two long years, she wandered in the wastelands of America. She both suffered and was joyous there, lived by cooking street food from a van, had a cancer removed from her stomach, was worked over by the US Immigration Service and finally returned to India.
There, despite her damaged body, she laboured tirelessly to realise her master’s vision. But still she had to plumb the depth of her unconsciousness, uplift to the light of her awareness the wilful parts of her that sabotaged her elemental needs and ultimate quest to be free.
Osho as a master uses every trick and every device to awaken those who understand the need for change. In his compassion, he provided Laxmi with all the heat and hits for her to go beyond her concept of herself, transcend her ego. She emerged from the Master’s crucible as pure gold.
Laxmi does the work. She is transformed. She is neither saint nor sinner. She is you, she is me. Osho points the way and, over the days and decades, Laxmi walks it.
This is her story.