Ma Prem Kavisho

a celebration of her life

[For “synchronicity” fans: typical of the pace of unfolding here on the Wet Coast, the hard copy version of this magazine came out in September ’97, almost six months after Kavisho left her body. A few days later the then-current issue of Viha Connection arrived, celebrating the death of a different Ma Prem Kavisho. And then there’s this poem, written 20 years to the day before she left her body...]

I offer my spirit – not to possess
But to join with – in celebration
Of the beauty that awaits us all

Reach out – grasp – entwine and release
Once discovered it can never escape,
Or be destroyed

Run with me and I’ll give you flight
Fly with me, I offer you “today.”

Kavisho, March 20, 1977

As many of you might know, Ma Prem Kavisho, a Vancouver sannyasin since 1979, and centre leader in the early ’80s, died on March 20, 1997, in the Pearson Hospital here in Vancouver. A beautiful send-off celebration was held at Mandala House on March 28, attended by her friends and family. It was a heart-touching celebration in which sannyasins and non-sannyasins melted together in singing, dancing and sharing of memories of Kavisho.

Ma Pramilla, Kavisho’s sister, offers us the following glimpse into their bonds without bondage, of family, sannyas and....

Unconditional Love

by Ma Pramilla

avisho was born as Patricia Anne on May 3 1948. She was a gift for my second birthday. From the beginning, we shared a very special bond, more friends than sisters.

Pat took her university training in Vancouver and in 1974, after many unexplained medical problems, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She spent the next five years unstructuring her life, in an effort to understand this unpredictable disease. She was frightened, confused, and emotionally fragile, yet she still possessed a keen sense of humor. It was difficult to explain Multiple Sclerosis to her friends. When they asked what was wrong with her body, she would look up with a twinkle in her eye and say, “I have Multiple Neuroses.” Pat was in constant pursuit of M.S. treatments, while struggling to come to terms with the uncertainty of her future.

In 1979 Pat asked me to go with her to Poona, India. Before I knew what was happening, I was en route to meet an Enlightened Master. On the plane, I read the book, I am the Gate, by Ba-hug-a-wan. This Ba-hug-a-wan appeared to be an interesting person indeed.

The day after we arrived in Poona, at 7:30AM, we found ourselves sitting on a cold concrete floor in Buddha Hall, waiting for the Enlightened One. He appeared, unannounced, entering from the right side of the podium. As he moved softly and gracefully, a silence filled the air. He walked with his hands folded, as if in prayer. He silently turned and effortlessly greeted the crowd in front of him. It was as if there was a presence in the air, subtle, like a gentle morning breeze. I leaned forward. I readjusted my position, so I had a clear unobstructed view of him, and waited to hear the words of wisdom from this Enlightened Master.

He bowed his head slightly before sitting down in an armchair. The silence became more silent. Then very softly he said, “What do you get if you cross a rooster with peanut butter?” There was a hush, a pause, and I sat taller as he continued: “A cock that sticks to the roof of your mouth.”

In a deafening roar of laughter, I turned to Pat, in a state of shock and said, “We have flown thousands of miles to hear our father, [who is a marathon joke teller] dressed in a white nightgown, tell jokes. There has to be more or I’m going home.” There was more – much, much more.

I took sannyas on November 11 1979, Remembrance Day, and Bhagwan gave me the new name Ma Pramilla. He talked about my loving connection to people, animals, nature and a special bond I have with children. In closing, he left me with a lesson to be learned: that of unconditional love. I didn’t know then that I would learn that lesson by unconditionally loving my sister.

He gave Pat the name Kavisho, and the gift of herself.

It was an honor and a privilege to sit before an Enlightened Master. Bhagwan is beyond experience. Osho too!

Being in the presence of a master is not about words of wisdom, it is not to be explained. If you got it, you got it. You cannot leave, there is nowhere to go. You can’t come back because you never leave. If you got it, your life continues to take form effortlessly. It is a part of your very being and you move in totality, on the path to your own truth.

Kavisho lived her last independent years in Vancouver, near the ocean she loved. At first she walked independently (dancing, hiking, canoeing and kayaking), then with canes, and finally in a wheelchair. This was possible because of the love and support of the sannyas community in Oregon and Vancouver. In spite of her disease, Kavisho gave unselfishly of herself. She became a writer, a poet, a dancer, a naturalist and an artist.

In 1986 Kavisho left her home at Mandala House on Tolmie Street and took up residence in the George Pearson Extended Care Centre. Before she bravely made her descent into silence she honored me with Power of Attorney, trusting me to see that her wishes were carried out. Kavisho gave me a very special gift that day. I was honored to be chosen to be her voice and we spent hours and hours together in preparation for her journey into silence. In the end she was ready for our new relationship.

For six years I wrote to Kavisho, and received no answer. I sent gifts and cards and no thank-yous came. The phone was held up to her ear; I spoke, and she spoke not. I held her hand, caressed her face, sang gently to her, and no acknowledgment came. Kavisho gave me the opportunity to experience unconditional love. For this, I thank her most.

On March 20, 1997 Kavisho left her body. She had asked that her closest friends gather to sing, dance, and drink Grand Marnier, in celebration of her freedom. I told my daughter Carra, “Kavisho was having delusions of grandeur.” She answered, “No, she was having delusions of Grand Marnier.”

I expressed Kavisho’s wishes to Veda and Nirmal, and it was as it should be. Mandala House was transformed on March 28, and Kavisho and I found ourselves again surrounded by a sea of sannyasins. There was much love, laughter, singing, some tears of goodbye, and much sharing of experiences. Kavisho was escorted with drumming out of her life as she knew it; and all drank a toast, in her honor, with Grand Marnier.

Thank you to the host of sannyasins who came out to experience the Celebration of Kavisho’s Life. A special thank you to Veda and Nirmal, and the sannyasins of Mandala House, for providing such a wonderful, wonderful atmosphere for Kavisho’s spiritual send off.

Kavisho gave people the gift of life, by living her own life in totality. She touched the lives of all who knew her. Kavisho leaves a legacy of determination and love.

To my sister Kavisho:

I can’t possibly express in mere words the depth of your commitment to life itself, and to those who knew and loved you. You have given me a lifetime of memories, and I shall carry you always in my heart. On March 20, 1997 ~ you entered a new freedom ~ leaving me without your form to register new memories but the essence of you will live on.


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