A Letter to an Expired Dervish

My greatest guide has passed away, and now she is truly above and beyond. I feel sorrow and invite it in, but went for a walk upon this land, and all I could honestly see was beauty all around. So I sent it all to her and as I bid farewell, I know it has probably been the exact time for her to leave her fragile body behind and cary on. Cary on to the light, dearest Akash, you are now released to go on to whatever path is there for you.

You are always with me in my heart and deepest being, so now you can truly go on. Your heartful and touching teaching has been so gracefully passed on. I remember you every time I hear the bell gong, “wake up, wake up” it says in your calling soft voice. I walk around me and between the tears all I see is endless serene beauty, I send it all to you for your path onwards, along with love and the uttermost gratefulness for everything you had taught me.

I’ve been told that you once said that you are content with what you accomplished and if death comes you will go feeling fulfilled. When I first met you in Goa after the shock-stroke you told me that the third conscious shock is “die before you die“. You’ve probably finished that octava so gracefully and bravely as now you were ready to complete the dying after dying part. So cary on, released, dear friend, guide, teacher, fellow path walker, bright mirror, pure truth. The moving endless universal caravan is all weeping and will dance with joy for you to cary on, cary onwards.


I guess that something inside me already knew that I’m not going to see her again when I left Goa after two months of living at her presence and home at Casa Azule Sky. From the outside it might seems so precious to live in the house of your grandest master. And it was precious, but it was also how life is: down to earth and unlike the wishful-thinking fantasy realm. And it was very humane- and something very simple and true about it, that would never let me make her a guru, or a high throne goddess, or something grand and godly to bow to.

Cause once you see your teacher restricted to her bed, spending most of her days in it, unable to walk by herself or even stand up unassisted, you can not delude yourself into seeing in her more then what she is: A Human Being. Fragile, Mortal, weak when the body is sick, sad when she is going through many recurrent days of weakness. It was heart breaking to see, and when I would go up to her room and enter it I would almost always feel tired, my energy would be down. I would be happy when Boaz would come, with his talkative chatty vibe he would bring a new live atmosphere into the house.

But with her I was mostly quite, because she as herself with me was mostly like that. So much I learnt through quite endless moments with her. That not always things has to be passed through words and that so many times I want to speak just to break the uncomfortable sensations in my body that arise when I am not habitually distracted in conversation.

It was so sad and altogether so precious and majestic, that even when she said that she is refusing to go back to teaching, there was teaching in so many words she spoke (unrelated to teachings), in the way that she held her body, in the presence that she held even when she was weak and down. That is a true master, that the teaching is her life to that extent that even by simply living, so much could be learnt from her even when she was not directly speaking about the inner work.

Yes, I guess I already kind of knew it, without wanting it to be so.

“…or to give my very best painting the glass doors that she wanted me to draw on. To do it as if there will be no tomorrow and as if after I’ll leave I would never see her again. Because being here in Goa now feels just like that. Maybe there will be no tomorrow. Maybe the coconuts that crash here from the trees and the waves of the sea are not going to exist any more.”

I read back now into that post, that I named also as “No Tomorrow” (!!!) and I get goosebumps down to my bones. as if after I’ll leave I would never see her again

Akash, since you left this body everything seems so beautiful. I look around this Portuguese scenery, and there is so much beauty in every single leaf, in every single cloud. The raspberries, figs and grapes are ripening, I sleep underneath an olive tree, and the cornfields and rice fields around, and path walks between, are the most majestic thing on earth.

Since you died I see so much beauty, I don’t really feel like you’ve gone. I still feel you here.

In the culture that I grew up in, mourning a dead is so sad and shocking, we say about someone who mourns that “his world has demolished upon him” (עולמו חרב עליו). But weirdly, apart from remembering you here and there with a cry, the world is not sad at all, if anything: it is more beautiful. The beauty is revealing itself all around, inside and outside me.

Lately I’ve been receiving all these messages- inner work is precious, there is no time to waste. The only time is present, a present to do the work now. Now, cause there might be no tomorrow, a blink of an eye and this now is gone. The fire in Karuna, the realisations about Israel, and now you, or rather what you used to be. And now your current physical body has gone, and you are passing on. Pass with grace, pass with peace, pass on. On and on. Life ends so fast after what seemed like an eternity.

In one of the tough days of ups and downs of the infections, when Seema saw you crying she told you “you are a strong woman, don’t cry“. You told me that you replied “I am a strong woman, and that’s why I can cry“. You were the strongest softest woman I have ever met. When you gave us your heartful sharing about the stroke at the end of the last movement retreat in your studio, you said words that came to you when your Sufi master died, you said you understood that “This, too, is Divine”.

Akash, I walk slowly past the cornfields here, the rays of the sun are dancing between the leafs and berries, grapes and figs are ripening, and there is so much beauty all around. So much beauty I share and I send to you for your path onward. Because This, too, is divine.


All photos in this album were taken by © Gili Chen

4 thoughts on “A Letter to an Expired Dervish”

  1. Ah such beautiful words you leave in her wake Raaya. Thank you for those. And the beautiful photos of her. The time I spent with you all in the Burren was so precious, and she, herself so beautiful and inspired me so much . As a woman, as an elder. We must, as women grow into grace… I hope I am doing an ok job..
    Thats all to say… I thought at that time in the Burren I would spend more time with Akash. But this is not to be so…BUt we “SAW”, each other. Particles of Sky to Sky.
    I am grateful tha i got to spend that time…
    There is a beautiful poem by Maya Angelou
    When Great Trees fall…..its fitting for her now…
    Much love to you sweet thing.
    I hope you remember me
    Mary Sky. Ireland

  2. I have read, reread and read once again your article on Akash. I have watched the videos over and over. For me it has been a way of reconnecting with Akash. I first met Akash in late 1960 and believe me she stood out from our many other friends. So very graceful she was soft spoken and had a gentle way about her self. Akash would write me beautiful worded letters in which she would enclose poetry or the like. We became very very good friends.
    Life has its way of taking us down different paths. I can clearly recall the last time we met. Akash turned a sad occasion into one I will never forget.
    I guess I was privileged to have known Akash at a time before she blossomed into the person you knew.
    I will continue to try and piece together information about Akash so that I will have a fuller picture of this wonderful individual.

    1. Hello Ronald! Thank you for leaving your comment. It was quit unexpected to get a comment in an unknown blog as mine. I wonder which videos are you referring to?
      It has been a few years now, and looking back I feel that her passing away was the most complete passing that I experienced, at least in the way that it impacted me. I hope that the path you ended up walking is a good and meaningful one to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.