Osho disciple and Tarot card reader Ma Prem Usha, left her body on July 17, 2008.
Lovingly known as Ma Usha, she had been suffering from illness for sometime.
The clairvoyant and fortune-teller, who travelled the globe to read her cards, was
initiated into neo-sannyas over 30 years ago.
Introducing Respect and Spirituality into Tarot By Swami Kul Bhushan
She always had a charming smile as her eyes lit up when she greeted in her soft voice, brimming with love. Laughter came to her very easily. Her focus and concern was always on the other. That's Ma Prem Usha for over three decades as an Osho disciple.
She took sannyas in the late 1970s in Pune where she lived with her husband, Col. Raj Kapoor, also an Osho disciple. For some time, she worked in Osho's library and wrote out Hindi poems, Sanskrit 'slokas' and Urdu couplets for Osho for his discourses and embroidered small towels for Osho that he carried all the time. She used to paint joyful themes in vibrant colours but when Osho told her to move on, she left painting.
After living in Mumbai for some years when her husband acted in films, both of them followed their Master to Oregon, USA, where they lived and toiled on the new city that arose from the wilderness. When Osho left USA, she lived for a year in Medina, an Osho meditation centre in London, before returning to India in late 1983.
She was introduced to Tarot cards by a gypsy - an American and a close friend of hers who was also an Osho sannyasin. With her spiritual dimension and deep intuition, Ma Prem Usha took to Tarot instantly. Now she needed a location for Tarot readings and came up with an innovative solution. Elegantly and impeccably dressed as always, she went to the bar with her Tarot cards at the five-star Maurya Sheraton in New Delhi. There she started playing with them by herself and soon someone expressed interest in what she was doing. Intrigued, they wanted to know about their future with Tarot. Soon, she became popular fixture and had regular clients. Realising that Tarot reading was going places; the hotel provided her with an office in their shopping arcade. In her personal consultations, she brought in the insights of Osho to advise her clients.
She started her horoscope column in The Osho Times that soon became a favourite. Gradually she started to contribute similar columns to other magazines and newspapers. With the popularity of her readings, she moved to major media until The Hindustan Times described her in its tribute as 'The Queen of Tarot'.
For the mainstream media, she devised a new title - 'The Zen Master' - for Osho. Like Tarot, this title also intrigued readers as these concepts were relatively new to the mass readership. Every one of her columns is always headed by an Osho quotation and the forecasts have a deep spiritual context. Not only she introduced Tarot in India in the mass media; but more importantly, she introduced respect and spirituality into Tarot.
She appeared regularly on TV shows. In 2006, The Discovery Channel invited her to answer questions from viewers for their show - Prophecies Foretold. She became so famous that The Lonely Planet Guide for India mentions her.
In 2003, she authored her first Annual Horoscope book that was an instant bestseller. She published four more editions until 2006 with her daughter Ma Prem Rithambhara who joined her in Tarot by then. Also translated into Hindi, these books had a very high content of spirituality and Osho.
During the launch of one of her Annual Horoscopes at Osho World Galleria, New Delhi, she seemed to have summed up her life when she said, "I really have nothing to say after hearing Osho and the silence but I must say that its been the journey of a lifetime being with Osho and it has been the greatest transformation, its like death and rebirth, your whole vision changes when you be with Osho, just listening to Him.
"I used to listen to Him every morning and I used feel like I am upside down, what He is saying is putting me right side up. And it had to happen everyday because everyday I would to go upside down. And then just sitting in front of Him, I was right side up again.
"So I have to do that every morning and it's a good thing that I read cards because that's what I am doing for everybody who comes to me trying to put them right side up, just showing them a mirror that they are standing on their heads, most of us are because our heads are our greatest forte. We live in our heads.
"So everything that I have written in that book is really insights which I may have got from Osho. But I share with everybody through the tarot cards is Osho's vision and whatever I have to share. I hope it's doing something for a few or just giving you a little chink or an insight into what Osho was saying because He was saying the truth. It sometimes hurts but when you sugarcoat it you can swallow it. The tarot is just a medium that I am using to share what I have from Osho."
Single handedly and without fanfare, Ma Prem Usha brought Osho into the lives of millions, and her daughter, Ma Prem Rithambra, continues with her legacy.
Article in the Hindustan Times
Tarot card reader Ma Prem Usha died
Tarot card reader Ma Prem Usha, an Osho devotee for over three decades, died on Thursday in the capital, a family member said. She was 70.
Her husband Raj Kapoor and daughter Ma Prem Ritambhara survive her.
"She died at 2 p.m.on Thursday afternoon. She had been ailing for sometime and was operated upon recently. But there was a relapse, from which she did not recover," Raj Kapoor, a retired army colonel, told IANS.
She was cremated later on Thursday evening and ashes will be taken to Haridwar for immersion into the Ganga.
"Ma Prem Usha was a follower of Osho till the every end," said Kapoor.
The clairvoyant and fortune-teller, who travelled the globe to read her cards, was initiated into the order of the Zen mystic Osho over 30 years ago. She was interviewed and written about in several national and international publications.
She contributed weekly readings to major websites and leading publications across the country and wrote on a wide range of subjects including politics, fashion, health, food, children, men and women.
Usha was taught the Tarot by Sona
Usha was taught the Tarot by Sona
By Kamakshi (Published in The Gateless Gate Newsvine)
You have a reputation for being one of the finest tarot readers. What makes you so good?
Osho taught me, himself. I had been reading for 15 years professionally before I came to Poona, and Osho called me a fortune teller. He said you put people in their minds because you tell them about the future. You don't know here and now, you must read from the present. I really didn't know what he was talking about. He then started sending me people, and I would go see him once a week.
There were so many people, I was reading 10-12 hours a day, one person after another, I'd try to understand what language was here, and understand what they were saying - that's how I learned. He taught me in a 9 month period, completely shifted my consciousness, so that I got out of the way; to read. I was like a psychic sponge, I worried about every reading, I worried about all those people. I didn't know how to disconnect and I was just going mad. But it cleared me a lot, he started saying that I would be a master of Tarot, so I was encouraged to take bigger and bigger chances, without having any safety nets, just going for it. There's a possibility - if somebody's mind gets blown enough by what you're saying - that there's a gap. They could become enlightened, both could! (laughs)
That's the secret of the Tarot; for that mind blowing experience only takes one tiny little nano second, that's all we need where two hearts go like that.So each reading is, I feel, Existence offering an opportunity for two people. that's why I don't read for myself. Some readers are very good, they read for themselves. I don't do that because I feel its a two way street, its heart to heart. I knew it from the beginning.
Were you always reading cards?
The cards happened because I saw the word tarot one day, and it rang a big bell, and I started asking around what did that mean, I didn't know it was even a deck of cards. Same thing happened when I saw Tantra and come to find out they mean the same thing. But I got the same kind of inner feeling, I don't know what is that - the warrior way, the middle way, and that made sense to me.
What are the origins of Tarot? Its history?
Somebody had the presence to ask Osho that question. I'd never ask him anything in darshan, I'd get in there and I couldn't think of a question. But other people would ask, and very articulate questions. I'd think wow, I should have thought of asking that, about their experience with the reading, and how it affected them, and they'd ask if there was a secret to the Tarot? I mean what a great question.
He said that it was at the time that the library in Alexandria was burned, and it took 9 months to burn, it was such a huge place. The holy men got together and comprised 22 Major Arcanas showing people how to wake up. Each can be the stepping stone, it can be the thing to us, like a challenge or an obstacle that we would go through to become totally clear. They decided to disguise this book of tarot as a deck of cards.
He said, knowing man's propensity for gambling and entertainment, they were put in the hands of Gypsies who spread it throughout the world. On the 8 of Cups, there is what looks like an 'M', they might have written it a long ago. And in the miter, the hat that a pope wears, there was another upside down M, perfectly out of sync with the rest of the card.
Then Osho told me that Jesus had not died, like they said that he did. He was a Yogi, he had become enlightened in India, and he had put himself into a deep samadhi like a deep sleep, Yogis can do that, and that they had got him down. He then continued his ministry, was married to Mary Magdalene, had children.
So that M was a way of letting the people know her lineage is still ongoing. Osho had told me this back in '75. So, chronologically I don't know when it happened, I don't even know when the library burned down, but to me that rang a bell of truth..
How did you arrive in India?
I was 35, I used to read for some very big people, revolutionary people, they'd fly me down to the Burbank studios on the Red Eye, and I would read for people in Hollywood, and then go back to San Jose, 50 miles from San Francisco. I was reading for a benefit in San Francisco to raise money for a meditation center - Divine Light Mission people. An Indian man came in, actually I wasn't reading cards, I was reading hands because he showed me his palm, and I told him exactly what had been going on, which was quite amazing really, because it wasn't a usual set of affairs. And he was very intelligent, he decided I would make a very good partner to him because of my abilities, and so he brought me to India.
I came for 3 months, but no one knew anything about Tarot, so I only read hands. And then the next time I came to India was at the end of '74, and I had decided I wanted to come to Poona to meet Osho.
You also teach how to read the Tarot, do you think anyone who is interested can learn it?
Yeah, because I believe that the people who come are supposed to come. And after a while they say that too, they start looking in retrospect, how they first heard about it. I had somebody tell me the other day that they've been looking for me for 20 years, and they had gone to Dr. Patrick's. I had left a card there on the table, and they had to move the table, and the card fell on the floor.. (laughs) And it said Sona and phone number (9850722828 :-) ) . she was so happy.
So that's how I think it is - its just some beautiful play and synchronicity.
A very famous Indian lady, a very fine reader, Ma Prem Usha, she does the tarot scope for the 'Osho Now', she does the 'Delhi Pioneer'. and she's on television. She has her offices in the Maurya Sheraton Towers in Delhi, I didn't tell her I was coming and one day I just dropped in the door and walked in. She was sitting behind this beautiful desk, and she said "I've been waiting 6 years for you to come through that door."
She said "How am I doing?" So sweet. She was my first student in India, and she gives me full credit. Lot of people don't, because I was blacklisted for many years, it wasn't popular to be my student. I mean there used to be crosses on my front lawn. (laughs)
People were superstitious, I'd have to move.
Are people scared of tarot and readings?
My youngest daughter is 40 years old, this was 40 years ago.
What about free will and destiny?
That has been a query for me - whether its predestined. I have read some people's palms over 30-40 years; and I can see that the main lines stay the same, some lines can disappear, and more can come.
So I started having them take prints every 3 months. Even after a 10 day meditation camp, your hand can change - its amazing.
I'd take prints from people before the camp and after. Everything's made perfectly balanced. I don't think of it as free choice. I think we have freedom if something comes up - to accept it and go along with it, or kick and scream and drag our feet. (laughs)
But the river's moving, one way or another, so might as well surrender and enjoy it.
You have said 2007 is the year of ten thousand buddhas awakening?
Yes, ten thousand. That was really fun, so clear.in Goa. That's where I heard it, I'd been sitting silently for about a week. I heard it really clear, its not just the words, its the way it came, and in that moment, that electric moment, it was just really incredible!
I'd been sitting watching the ocean for about a week, and it just shocked the hell out of me. I mean its just too much! (laughs)
It was the one, even now the hair raises on my arms, I get goose bumps thinking about it. It was amazing! I always tell everybody when I get a flash like that, but I can't jump up and start going "There will be 10,000 Buddhas!!!"
But that's what I felt to do.
I was predicting earthquakes, and I really got scared - I had to stop all that. I even moved my children to a zone that I thought would be safer - and the earthquake came there. So I went and found my earthquake, basically that's what happened. And I was telling everybody to move and some people even sold their house, so I couldn't go back to that town.. (laughs) I'm pretty convincing.
What do you make of that?
For me not to be meddling in the affairs of tomorrow so much. (laughs) Not to be a doomsayer, its not my job.
Where do you see people are at now? Do you see a change??
I see in the way young people talk to each other, the words that they use. When I was that age, I didn't have a clue to be talking about 'projections', or 'that's just a trip', or 'don't worry, you'll get over it'. In this way there's much more emphasis on awareness, being aware. I look into children's eyes, and I see amazing children. I see a future that is more conscious.
Sona means gold - divine gold, divine treasure, divine wealth. And that's how one should look at oneself - as a great treasure. We may not have discovered it yet, but it is there. And if you really want to discover it, first you have to accept - at least hypothetically - that it is there, otherwise you never search and never enquire. Once you know that the treasure is somewhere, you start looking for it.
That is the only meaning of trust - something that is not known, but is possible... something that you cannot be certain about right now, but somebody else, whom you love, is certain... to take his certainty in trust, and the journey starts.
This is going to be hypothetical. It cannot be absolute. Unless you have known, how can it be absolute? But even a scientist needs a hypothesis to work with, to begin with. He is not certain whether it will prove this way or that, whether it will prove true or untrue. But just to start one has to take a hypothesis - maybe it is so, maybe it is not so, but a possibility is there that maybe it is so. Then one has to search and one has to do hard work.
Everybody is carrying a treasure, but the idea is lost. In the modern world nobody reminds you about your inner treasure, and everybody reminds you about many treasures which are outside - which you have to achieve, which you have to complete for, you have to struggle for. The struggle is very ugly and very violent - and the end result is just nothing.
Once a person succeeds in the outer world, he comes to know that the whole life has been a wastage. You have the money, and nothing has come. You have the power and the prestige and the respectability, and you remain empty - in fact, your whole life is gone, has gone down the drain. Now only death is waiting. Of course you will die as a successful man and there will be reports in the newspaper... but you never lived!
You will die as a successful man, but you never lived truly, because life is from the within, and it is never from the without. Life is a welling up of your treasures, an overflowing.... I am here just to remind you of this - and by becoming a sannyasin, you start trusting me, and then you start searching for the treasure. It is there - I say it is there... I can see it. If you cannot see it, it only means that you have to train your eyes to see it. You have to become a little more silent, because the voice inside is very still, very small. You have to drop the noise, the inner chattering, then you may be able to hear it.
It is a whispering, a murmuring, of a very small spring, but it is of tremendous value, because that spring is that of nectar. Once one drinks out of it, one becomes deathless. Once you drink out of it, then for the first time you are alive... alive in a totally different meaning, in a different sense. You are no more alive as a body - you are alive as a spirit.
The body will end because it began. The spirit has no beginning and no end....
Osho - Blessed Are the Ignorant #20
Just the other day it happened: Mulla Nasruddin's wife went to see Sona - you know Sona, the tarot card reader? - and she came back very much disturbed.
The future disturbs. Anything about the future disturbs. It is good not to know about the future because once you know anything about the future it starts changing your present, and disturbance arises.
She was very worried. Mulla Nasruddin asked her, "What is the matter?"
She said, "I have been to a tarot card reader, a very good woman, and she has said a few things and I am very worried."
Mulla Nasruddin said, "Don't be worried. Nothing is certain in life so no prediction can be made. I tell you that only fools are certain."
The wife said, "Are you really certain about that?"
He said, "Absolutely certain!"
Osho - Tao: The Three Treasures, vol.1 #9
Here, I am teaching nothing other than your own being. I am bringing you closer to nothing other than your own being. I am throwing you back to yourself. You are missing nothing; you have only forgotten the treasure that is within you, you have forgotten the ways to look withinwards. Again, The Fool in the Tarot cards....
If you have looked meditatively at the Tarot card... and they are cards to be meditated upon. They are old secret methods of meditation. The Fool is standing on the cliff, one foot dangling, hanging over the cliff - and he is not aware, and he is looking at the stars, and he is very happy; his head must be full of dreams. And he is carrying four sacred symbols on his back, and he is not aware of what they are. He is not even aware that he is carrying four secret symbols on his back. These are the four secret symbols: the jungle, the forest, the garden, the home.
Now it is up to you. If you turn... a one hundred and eighty-degree turn will be needed. That's what conversion is, that's what sannyas is all about. If you TURN, you will simply see that you have never lost for a single moment the bliss of all blisses, the delight of all delights. You have never left your home; you were only thinking that you had gone far away.
You are in the home; you never left it. When this is discovered, one becomes a buddha, one becomes a Christ, one becomes a Krishna. This is your destiny. And unless you attain it, you will never be at ease. Unless you attain it, you will never have rest. A human being has to be restless. A human being is a bridge. He is not a being yet, he is a promise.
Osho - The Path of Love #3
One thing that is very fundamental has to be remembered, and that is that whenever we are doing anything - astrology, future prediction, horoscope reading, palmistry, I - Ching, Tarot, anything that is concerned with the future, it is basically a reading of the unconscious of the person.
It has nothing much to do with the future. It has more to do with the past, but because the future is created by the past, it is relevant to the future too. Because people live like mechanical things, the prediction is possible. If you know the past of the person, unless the person is a buddha, you will be able to predict his future because he is going to repeat it. If he has been an angry person in the past, he is carrying the tendency to be angry; that tendency will have effects in the future.
Ordinarily, an unconscious being goes on repeating his past again and again. It is a wheel-like phenomenon, he repeats it; he cannot do anything else. He cannot bring any new thing into his life, he cannot have a breakthrough. That's why all these sciences work. If people are more aware, more alert, they won't work.
You cannot read the horoscope of a buddha, or read his hand, because he is so free of the past and he is so empty in the present that there is nothing to read!
There has been a great misunderstanding between life and time. Time is thought to consist of three tenses: past, present, future - which is wrong. Time consists only of past and future. It is life that consists of the present.
So those who want to live, for them there is no other way than to live this moment. Only the present is existential. The past is simply a collection of memories, and the future is nothing but your imaginations, your dreams.
Reality is here, now.Those who want just to think about life, about living, about love - for them, past and future are perfectly beautiful because they give infinite scope. They can decorate their past, make it as beautiful as they like - although they never lived it; when it was present they were not there. These are just shadows, reflections. They were continuously running, and while running they have seen a few things. They think they have lived. But in the past, only death is reality, not life.
Those who have missed living in the past - automatically, to substitute for the gap - start dreaming about the future.Their future is only a projection out of the past. Whatever they have missed in the past, they are hoping for in the future; and between the two non-existences is the small, existent moment that is life.
For those who want to live, not to think about it; to love, not to think about it; to be, not to philosophize about it - there is no other alternative. Drink the juices of the present moment, squeeze it totally because it is not going to come back again. Once gone, it is gone forever.
But because of the misunderstanding, which has been almost as old as man - and all the cultures have joined in it - people have made the present part of time. And the present has nothing to do with time. If you are just here in this moment, there is no time. There is immense silence, stillness, no movement; nothing is passing, everything has come to a sudden stop.
The present gives you the opportunity to dive deep into the water of life, or to fly high into the sky of life. But on both sides there are dangers - past and future are the most dangerous words in human language. Between past and future, living in the present is almost like walking on a tightrope - on both sides there is danger. But once you have tasted the juice of the present, you don't care about dangers. Once you are in tune with life, then nothing matters. And to me, life is all there is.
You can call it "God", but that is not a good name because religions have contaminated it. You can call it "existence", which is beautiful. But what you call it is not of any consequence. The understanding should be clear that you have only one moment in your hands - the real moment. And again and again you will get that real moment. Either you live it or you leave it unlived.
Most people simply drag themselves from the cradle to the grave without living at all. I have heard a Sufi story about a man, when he died, who suddenly realized, "My God, I was alive." Only death, as a contrast, made him aware that for seventy years he had been alive. But life itself had not enriched him.
It is not the fault of life. It is our misunderstanding.
Watchfulness will give you life without even thinking about it, because watchfulness can only be in the present. You can witness only the present. Live totally and live intensely, so that each moment becomes golden, and your whole life becomes a series of golden moments.
Osho - Introduction to the book Tarot in the Spirit of Zen
(excerpted from The Further Shore #5)
|Remember, only that which you can take with you when you leave the body is important. That means, except meditation, nothing is important.
Except awareness, nothing is important, because only awareness cannot be taken away by death. Everything else will be snatched away, because everything else comes from without.
Only awareness wells up within. That cannot be taken away. And the shadows of awareness - compassion, love - they cannot be taken away. They are intrinsic parts of awareness. You will be taking with you only whatsoever awareness you have attained. That is your only real wealth.