Mistakes on the path

In 1976 Osho asked me to write a book called Mistakes on the Path. Here it is.

After an adventurous teenage-time, in 1973 I was summoned from San Francisco by my little sister Sarita, to Bombay – to meet the mystic Osho (then called Bhagwan.)

In this book I describe my 30 extraordinary years in Osho’s communes in Poona, India and Rajneeshpuram, Oregon. Internally I confronted and worked with OCD, sex addiction, anorexia; externally, relationships, the power clique running the Oregon commune, and the general snafus life throws our way.

My central issue though was one of the most fundamental questions of the spiritual journey: pushing the river vs letting it flow (Doing vs Non-Doing.) All of this involved what I call The Art of Blundering; and oh boy, did I bash into things…

Also explored here: the inner workings of an Intuitive healer; as I grew into this gift and began to hesitantly find something more resembling maturity.

Shocking, funny, sad, and transcendently joyful, this book gives a taste of life in a rare milieu; where the essence is spacious silence… and where human foibles rise up to meet it; and are (sometimes) transformed. The ambiance of an enlightened Master, in all its radiance and mystery, is portrayed.

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Some reviews of Mistakes on the Path

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Madhuri lights this firecracker book at both ends, intimately revealing the heart of a mystic in love with her Enlightened Master, Osho.

Inspiring, raucous, luminous and honest, this is a rare masterpiece of poetic flight grounded in humor, mystery, trust and courage; the magnum opus of a Western woman and her heartfelt integration of authentic Eastern wisdom.

Shunyo Mahom, Zen artist and author

Thank you for this wonderful book... what a ride!

I enjoyed it utterly... it lightened up my day, or sometimes threw me in at the deep end. A very pleasurable, intense, and inspiring read. An unusual marriage between Fear of Flying by Erica Jong and Mojud the Man with the Inexplicable Life by Osho, all spiced up with Madhuri's flair for poetry, her ruthless honesty, and her unquestionable devotion...

Madhuri is a 'Fool,' in the most illustrious spiritual meaning. She throws herself into whatever experience is being offered her, and lives it all, blissfully and tragically. She is a Baul, a Sufi, a Devotee.

Svarup, Osho Primal therapist

This book is just a treat, a giant Madhuri smorgasbord all done in high fashion.

Peggy Sands, artist

I am deeply touched by revisiting these previous times together - Madhuri is like Ouspensky to Gurdjieff only lighter and more fun. She is one-of-a-kind and gives herself in a no-holds-barred way. She captures the essence of our connection with Osho...

If you would like to discover what the documentary, Wild Wild Country, left out of the picture and what British psychiatrist Anthony Storr was unable to grok in his analysis of Osho, in his book Feet of Clay, then join Madhuri on her trip, this caravanserai of delight. In this intimate and poetic memoir Madhuri takes you into the inner mysteries of the love affair between a devotee and her Master.

Prepare yourself to be touched to the depths of your heart and soul.

Prakash Mackay, Diamond Approach teacher/minister, Maui

Madhuri is a present that doesn't need unwrapping - (She's already unwrapped) but instead, the givee has to unwrap himself. This is not a book for the faint of heart. Disarming is the honesty, brutal at times. As her path emerges, parts of me I had successfully lulled to sleep emerged from my boulevard of broken dreams, whispering at first, undeniably alive well before the book's end. I knew a trap had un-shut around me.

This is the power of Madhuri's sharing: if somewhere deep inside an ember glows of the original longing to live this miraculous life to the fullest, she will rekindle the fire, fan again the flame.

Anurag Srajano, once Osho's videographer, Netherlands

Madhuri – poet, painter and psychic – has finally come out with the book Osho asked her to write back in 1976. It was worth the wait: the story moves from her childhood in a big, poor-but-brainy family in California, to years as a hippie traveler; invited then by her sister to meet Osho – an encounter that would dramatically (if reluctantly) change her life... all seen with an understanding and sense of humor that comes after years of maturity.

As the narrative flows through day-to-day events, we're given a view into her inner process and the many interactions with her Master. We also get a flavor of life in the first commune, an oasis in the archaic, unhealthy India of the 70’s; the second commune in labor-intensive Oregon; and back again to the more prosperous Pune of the 90’s. She evokes with the surety of the born writer what it was like to absorb the Master’s presence, his words and silences... and then, after Osho left his body, what it was like when a whole new phase began. She writes too of the times ‘in the world,’ when it was time to go out and make money in order to return to the Master’s garden.

We are often shaken, stirred, torn upwards and downwards, between frivolity and deep introspection; jealousy and friendship, self-deprecation and love; laughter and tears, clarity and confusion, tenderness and disgust, control and let-go, doing and non-doing. After surviving bone-shattering G4 forces, we see the roller coaster tracks in front of us gradually even out, but still we travel quickly on – now between meadows and moors - through the profane and the sacred alike, experiencing first-hand her indomitable courage; richness of spirit and deep sense of freedom.

The title Mistakes on the Path was given her by Osho. She therefore has his total permission to stumble (with acute and poetic observation) over the most ridiculous mistakes... mistakes I have also made... and some I thank god I haven't. It’s also refreshing to read razor-sharp descriptions of fellow-travelers, warts and all – with the same naked ruthlessness she uses for herself. Hilarious in places, bitchy too... very few stones, one feels, were left unturned. The main theme - the main Mistake - concerns Doing and Non-Doing - important for a meditator. Madhuri examines it at both gross and molecular levels.

Sex comprises a big part of the book. We follow her in these explorations, first numb, then excessive, abusive towards herself; until she discovers Tantra, and finally reaches a natural, spontaneous celibacy. In the early years too she suffered from OCD and anorexia and describes with a simple eloquence how she overcame these ailments; and how traumas from childhood were healed with the help of Osho’s presence and teachings.

This generous 630-page volume, stuffed with photos and drawings, beautifully designed by Peggy, inside and cover both – will intrigue you like a thriller. At the end Madhuri has added a useful Appendix: meditations, a self-healing process, and her approach to crystals and healing stones.

Ready for a roller coaster ride? Then this is a book for you!

Punya Kaufeler, editor, oshonewsonline, Corfu

About Madhuri Z K Akin

Madhuri Z K Akin

Madhuri was born in California in 1952. She studied poetry and dance at UC Riverside, then in 1970 left hitchhiking on her travels, was invited into a film as a dancing extra, ending up in Europe for two years, where she wrote, published, and had unwise teenage misadventures. She returned to San Francisco, where she performed poetry and acted in dubious films. Her younger sister had meanwhile made it to India, where she met the mystic Osho, then called Bhagwan. She sent for her sister and mother to share in the revelation.

Madhuri then spent 30 years in Osho's communes, meditating, working, dancing, and eventually teaching psychic opening.

Her first book, Impassioned Cows by Moonlight, was published by Hanging Loose Press, New York, in 1974. She is the author of nine books, including the memoir Love at Dancing Leaves: a Tantra Memoir, and Mistakes on the Path.

She lives in Hebden Bridge, England.