Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Please Share

Your thoughts, stories, and remembrances would be appreciated.

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ED R said...


Vivian Kurz said...

Dear Nicholas,

Annapurna was a pure example of a true dharma friend and sister. Always there for everyone with the bright and warm smile full of fun and love, and comforting and very positive words and an outlook on life that completely reflected her great devotion to and understanding of the Buddhist teachings.

An inspired practitioner who lived the teachings to the fullest extent in pure view and compassion...Annapurna you will be deeply missed and your energy and inspiration are irreplaceable.

When I was quite ill a few years ago, Annapurna gave me wonderful advice that helped me greatly. She was a sparkling presence to so many and that includes some of the greatest teachers of our times.

Prayers and butter lamps for her are going on at Shechen Monastery in Nepal and the teachers there and in France have been notified.

I am convinced that her great ability to focus on devotion and pure perception and her understanding of the nature of mind have lguided her to a pure and wonderful place.

Vivian Kurz

Geoffrey Gordon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
steven said...


Thank you for spending time talking to me by phone yesterday. I had the need to be close to your mom and speaking to you helped me connect. I appreciate this blog as well since it allows me to relate my story of meeting Annapurna and the magic that she helped weave into my life.

I met Annapurna in October 2004 on a flight from San Francisco to New York where I live. I am a clinician at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York where I work as a physician assistant in the outpatient HIV clinic. So I was returning from a conference in San Francisco. She was on her way to Europe with her mother for a cruise. She had the window seat, me the aisle. I don’t remember what sparked our conversation, but it might have been some remark about how often I have to get up to pee, a predicament that Anna shared and I think she was relieved that she didn’t have to excuse herself a dozen times since she simply followed me to the head for our micturation excursions.

Anyways, through small-talk, I found out that Annapurna had graduated Berkeley in 1966 and moved to the Haight-Ashbury shortly thereafter. Now I was hooked. I am an archivist of the Haight-Ashbury and am conducting interviews for an oral histories project on the Haight, so I was drooling. She spoke about the scene, seeing Joplin and Big Brother and what a thrill the weekend dances at the Avalon and Fillmore were. She related having gone to the Human Be-In on January 14, 1967 and what a blast it was to see how many other people were heading in the same cosmic direction. She didn’t much like the Grateful Dead – she just didn’t think they were that good. She told me how she picked up a bad vibe at Altamont so went back to the car to wait until the concert was over. She discussed an intense acid trip she had out on the beach at the Great Highway and how she saw an image of Christ on the cross with arrows piercing him in several directions. I told her that image would have freaked me out. She told me she just saw it as another dimension. She told me she had 13 bad trips before she had a good one but continued on because she thought it was important. She was impressive and daring, a real pioneer of mind and spirit, as well as a strong woman.

Now here is where the story gets a little self-indulgent, but speaks to what a magic encounter we had that day. I had gone through a very rough period from the spring of 2001 through the end of 2003/beginning of 2004. In brief, I turned 40 which was followed by the 9/11 attack on New York, the death of two grandmothers, my partner, David, becoming deathly ill, the death of a patient from medicines I had prescribed which made my soul feel nauseous, and then turning 42, the age my mother was when she died. It was an intense period but the intensity of what I was going through felt somehow larger than the sum of all those events. By the time I had met Annapurna, the worst part was lifting though I still felt tenuous and reeling. She asked me my astrological sign (how 60’s!). I replied that I was a triple cancer to which she said, “wow, you’ve just come through a rough 2 and a half year period.” She said something about Mercury, etc. But I was just floored by her statement. I had been so cocksure before 2001 in the worst new-agey way. Then I was brought to my knees from this extended period. Annapurna caught me as I was brushing off but still dazed and wondering how to proceed. Her statement and the conversation that ensued helped steer me toward new openings when I wasn’t sure there were any. Let’s say I was having a crisis of faith.

Annapurna got me in touch with Jo’Ann Ruhl, a psychic who read my chart and gave me some insights that further normalized that difficult period. Jo’Ann got me in touch with Irene Siegel, an EMDR practitioner, and my life again feels fresh and expansive. I don’t mean to have this sound like hyperbole but I really see that “chance” meeting in the plane as pivotal to where I am now. Annapurna was not pushy. She was a darling and seated right next to me when I need nothing other than what she had to say.

In 2005, she met David and myself at the corner of Haight-Ashbury for tea at a nearby cafe. It was so nice to spend the afternoon with her. As I mentioned earlier, she was a doll. She was jubilant, unassuming, and pointed in her speech. When I found out she had died I was stunned and brokenhearted at the idea of her loss. But the sadness I feel about Annapurna dying coexists with immense gratitude. In the movie Shadowlands Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger are lovers. DW is dying from cancer. While on vacation enjoying themselves, DW brings up her cancer. Hopkins interrupts her and says “let’s just have happy times”. She says, “the happiness we feel now is the sadness we feel later – that’s the deal.” Thus it is when I think about Annapurna, a mixture of feelings I wouldn’t miss for the world.

I wish for love and happiness for Annapurna and for all those who knew and loved her.

Steven Palmer

RJCassinelli said...

As her oldest cousin I never really knew her as Annapurna; she will always be Georgeanne to me and the rest of the cousins. But I certainly remember the girl with whom I went to Lake Tahoe during the hot summers so many years ago. And after my own journey to India, although in a different capacity, I came to appreciate how she had grown tremendously from the girl of those long ago days lying on the beach at that crystalline place.

She told me not so many years ago, she and I were soul mates; and I knew it to be true. Just as she and I were that close, we knew no matter the length of time since last we spoke, there would be no lapse in the connection.

This heart will miss her physical presence, but I know she is with me even now.

"I am not ashamed to confess that I am ignorant of that I do not know." Cicero

Beverly Sky said...

I first met Annapurna or Georgianne Coffey at the Macrobiotic student house in Brookline Mass where we were studing with Michio and Aveline Kushi in 1967. Always beautiful,kind and generous of spirit, every now and then she would be felled by an asthma attack, taking her breath away. One time Michio and I applied ginger fomentations for her frail respiratory system for an hour and half before she could breath easily again. We took to calling her Georgianne Coffing.It is a miracle that she survived so long and with a life filled with adventures,hardships as well as joy and tremendous spiritual integrity in this challenging world.
I miss her great spirit in our midst and wish her peace where ever her spirit travels to now...

Noorunisa said...

Annapurna was a dear friend of mine since the late '70s. We shared so much of our lives. I will be forever grateful for her presence, her wisdom, and her friendship.

Her death is one more reminder of the evanescence of life. If she were to say one thing to us, I think it might be: Live your life to the fullest, with kindness, helpfulness, and joy!

Enjoy your freedom, Radiant One!

Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate
Bodhi Swaha!


Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading the stories of Annapurna that everyone is sharing. SHe seems to have touched everyone in their uniqueness. I met Annapurna in NYC in the mid 80's and continue to enjoy the presence of her light.
The day after receiving the news of her passing I received this quote from a daily subscription to "Loving Each Day"

"When you do your spiritual exercises, you practice going in
and out of the body. You practice traversing the spiritual
realms beyond the physical level.

Death is nothing more than transiting from this level to
another level, and you can become quite adept at that.
Sometimes you do it unconsciously, and other times you do it
with some degree of conscious awareness. There is value in
learning to travel consciously because it gives you a sense
of confidence and reduces fear. When the time comes for your
physical death, it will be just one more lifting out of your
body, except that you won't be coming back.

When you place the name of God in every situation and every
moment, then in the moment death overtakes you, you'll
remember the name of the Lord as a matter of habit, and you
won't be caught in death's throes. Or at the moment of
death, if the Lord calls your spiritual name, you'll be so
attuned to listening inwardly that you'll hear it, respond,
and move immediately into God. You'll defeat death and rise
into greater life. Either way, you'll demonstrate the
ability to go immediately into the line of transcendental
energy that overcomes death."

- John-Roger
(From: Living Love from the Spiritual Heart, p. 19-20)

Happy Birthday into the Greater Life Annapurna
Love, Suna

Leif said...

I met Annapurna sometime after I returned from India, visiting NKB Ashrams in 1982. I will always treasure our friendship. She was a very generous person.

When I met my partner Pam I was suprised to find out that they had been childhood friends in Sacramento and later went to Berkeley in the 60's at the same time. Another wonderful coincidence.

Pam told me that she had dinner with Annapurna and some college friends the Friday before she left her body, and that she was happy and radiant, as usual.

I e-mailed Swami Staya Nanada of the Devi Mandir Ashram in Napa as soon as I heard about her passing. Swami remembered her from the Kainchi Temple days with Maharajji.

A Chandi Homa (Devine Mother Puja) will sponsored on her behalf at the Mandir. This Homa should be on the Temple Web Cam at 9:30 am Sunday, June 17th at

I feel very sad yet happy that I knew her. I feel her presence now more strongly than ever.


Durga said...

When Uma telephoned to tell me the news, at first I couldn't believe it. Annapurna, so alive and so vibrant, was now, in a seeming instant, gone?

A couple of hours later while thinking of Annapurna, I had such a clear flash that she was perfectly fine. Not only fine, but radiantly happy.

Vedanta says that when a person's prarabdha karma (those karmas which brought that person into this life) are over, when those are finished, then that body drops. But the dropping of the body, although the end of that body, is not the end of the 'person.'

According to that understanding, whatever it was that Annapurna had to accomplish in this life has been accomplished, and she had no more need for that body, no more karmas to fulfill in that physical form.

But for us who remain, there is a feeling of great loss. She was a friend to all. A compassionate healer, always loving and kind. A great story teller, with many wonderful tales to tell. And a dharmi extrodinaire! Always with positive outlook and a unique and upbeat take on all things, she shone her light on all those around her.

May the joy of her presence continue to live amongst us. May she be happy and free from all suffering. May her legacy of kindness and joy continue to grow, and never diminish.

We will miss her in that form which we loved so well. We will miss her humor and her charm.

The end of the body is not the end of the being, although it is the end of that form. This seeming paradox is often difficult for us to accept, let alone comprehend, but for Annapurna, whose wisdom ran deep, such an understanding was a mere piece of cake!

Love to all,

Judi Shils said...

I met Annapurna in a small dress shop of a friend about a year ago and her luminence never left me. This past March the Search for the Cause, an organization that I run honored her as one of Marin's 100 Magnificent Women. Leading up to the celebration we photographed and videotaped each of the women. Your mom was so soulful, elegant, beautiful and a peace envleoped the room as soon as she walked in. Even my 16 year old daughter was entranced when your moms gaze met hers. I wish that I had gotten to know her though that moment in time I will always treasure. I love listening to her music that she gifted us with.
thank you for including us in your outreach. my prayers. Love, Judi Shils

James McCormick said...

Just wanted to add my thanks for Annapurna's generosity during almost 20 years of friendship with the Broffman family. A deep shock to hear of her passing but this blog shows the breadth of her positive impact on the world around her.

Condolences and warmest wishes,


Usha said...

Annapurna!! I will miss you so! Your generous spirit, laughing eyes, and jois de vivre always inspired me and shored me up during the difficult times of life. Such gratitude have I for our friendship.

When I moved away from Hawaii to Marin with my son and daughter, Annapurna opened up her home to us~ "If you fall I will catch you, time after time..." Yes, that was Annapurna- always the generous healer, offering wisdom, telling it straight, a lover of truth-- Annapurna bowed to the Great Mystery- we shared humor and the cosmic joke~ She could howl with laughter, and also suffered the pain of her once broken heart, and her challenge to breathe. We shared asthma stories--I somehow always knew she lived by grace since often her breath was so light, such grasping, and such letting go.
I met Annapurna in Boston in 1973. We shared astrology, and macrobiotics, and especially the spiritual quest. We were pilgrims, and young women, growing up together and traversing the challenging pathways of relationships and mothering...Nicky and Gita, Mikyo and Lalita- our stories about raising them~ more laughter and understanding about the poignancy of the human drama.
One of many great memories: and Annapurna and I were sitting in the forest above her house when a huge deer came leaping at us, jumping over our heads at the last moment~~Whew!! we curled up together like two fairy wood sprites, thankful to be alive...

It is setting in~ this reality, that she is no longer in body, but now in spirit, dancing on the rainbow with her luminous heart, free from the constraints of this world. I will miss very much. I will miss turning to her to speak of the ironies of life, the benchmark moments, -- our eyes would meet and we would just know, just get it... Om Tare Tu Tare Ture Swaha! Om Ah Hung Silver Queen~ Weaver of wisdom and truth~ Skywalker and Dakini, you are forever my inspiration~ a precious jewel, a one of a kind maverick goddess.

Usha said...

PS. Love to all the family and friends of Annapurna. How blessed we all are to have had her magical angel dust touch our lives.
With Love and Aloha,

Anonymous said...

Dear Nick, Gita, and Michael,

You are all in my prayers and thoughts and each day I dedicate my Red Tara practice to Annapurna and she smiles from a picture on my altar. She's amidst a wonderful bouquet of the vibrant colors she so loved...I enjoyed her interview on line so much. I was there when she wore that red sequined dress!

I am still in disbelief at her sudden departure ...when I received you e-mail, Nick, --after re-reading it about 50 time--I just reached over and dialed her number. Her sweet voice was still on the machine.

I will miss her immensely. I too met her as Georgeanne, but Annapurna was the right name for her. We discovered macrobiotics and zazen together, sat with Suzuki Roshi and Katagiri, danced at the Fillmore and were suffused with the energy of changing our consciousness through buddhism, food, compassionate action and LSD. We lost touch with each other for quite a long time in the 70's, missed the raising of our respective children--but reconnected in a restroom line at a conference on Entheogens! Once reconnected we never lost track of each other again...and spent many wonderful hours together. For a few years we drove around Marin and Sonoma looking at land, loving the idea of living in community together. We fantacized many exotic travel plans too...
Annapurna's sweetness and generosity were unsurpassed...she DID always looks for the light, and the lightness of things...she enchanted my kids and always offered them acupuncture. My daughter, Winona, was so sad at her passing. She said, "Annapurna was such a girl!..she loved fashion and clothes, and even gossiping!" She did Tarot readings for my children, infused with subtle life teachings, and always made them feel special.
She always made ME feel uplifted & lighter as well!
I'll miss her great sense of humor, her political savy, her diverting tales of conspiracies and past lives...and our lunches at Eliza's, where the Eliza Cakes (onion pancakes w/peanut sauce) were her favorite...
Yes, dearheart, keep going to the light; you left plenty behind for us! Much love, Cindy Palmer Horowitz

ohstop said...

dear nick, gita, michael and all the friends who are sharing memories about our beautiful, perspicacious annapurna,

we will all miss her because she was a such a dear heart and a such big person:
always kind and always seeking the high road through life.

god, i will miss her laugh and her ear to ear smile...!

i knew her first as georgeanne in the kushi macrobiotic study house we lived in, in brookline, massachusetts in 1968. she and we all had found our way there to begin a new life. our lsd taking days were behind us. we learned a lot about ourselves from these journeys and acid opened the doors of perception and, in some people's cases, like georgeanne's, it opened the doors of compassion as well. she was a great macrobiotic cook and food was now her and our best medicine.

we would all take turns cooking for the whole house and i loved eating her food.
(interesting how majaraj-ji would give her the name annapurna: goddess of sustinence, goddess of food.)

she had such grit in the face of her asthma. i remember many nights when we, her house-mates, would take turns applying hot ginger compresses to her back and chest in an effort to ease a bad attack. a couple of times she had to go to the hospital and i feared we would lose her then. but no way, her capricorn grizzle was no match for some silly health issue. she was such an inspiration to us all.

we lost touch for a few years. i went to england to study acupuncture with jack worsley. when next we met again, she was annapurna and that name obviously suited her perfectly.

i treated her asthma for a while and i believe it was somewhat helpful.

i stayed with her and gita in boulder in the summers of 1976 and again in 1977. i was there to teach chinese medical diagnosis at a healing arts festival up in the mountains. i met michael broffman in boulder as well, and was dazzled by his chinese medical skill. when i heard that she and he had married i was so glad for them both. it is one of life's great little miracles when two such fine people hook up....and have a child.

a few years later, i too became part of the maharaj-ji sangha, and now saw her often, especially when she lived in forest hills, n.y. in a joya house. i continued to treat her with acupuncture then.

over the next 25 years i would always meet up with her when she came to nyc. our conversations were about spirit and the difficulties of navigating through negativity.

she had many soul- brothers and sisters and i count myself among them, lucky to have known
her on this mysterious jaunt through life.

today, i am planting seeds in my vegetable garden
and remembering dear annapurna. man, that swiss chard is gonna cook up good.

with my deepest sympathy to nick, gita and michael,


richard sandler

Mark said...

I met Annapurna in India in 1972. My college friend Nicholas Magriel had a house in Assapour, a few miles from Sarnath where the Buddha gave his Deer Park discourse.
The house was an adobe set between fields of eggplants and mustard. We had just come from spending time with Maharaji (Neem/Neeb Karoli/Karore Baba) in Vrindaban and had only been in India one month. Nick was a crazed sarangi player with a demonic passion for musical intoxication. I was with my family of close musical friends -Jai/Govind/Janaki/Ganga.

Nick took us to visit Dhammadipo and Annapurna who lived a mile or two away. We walked through the mustard fields and rice paddies to their house. Dressed in lungis and kurtas and chappals, we strode into the sunset feeling rural India's magic charm. We arrived at a Raj era colonial mansion, two stories with colanades and balconies, behind a massive wall. Let in by a chokidhar through a metal door, I sensed we were leaving the realm of reality and maybe going back through time, or into another dimension. Climbing up to the second story we visited with Annapurna and Dhammadipo in their chambers. We sat on ropebeds and ate peanuts. The cracking of the peanut shells became the music we made, a kirtan all of its own.Annapurna didn't wear a sari, she was dressed in Nepalese fashion and she floated through the night like some kind of character straight off a thangka. With a cheshire cat smile, she beamed and radiated something, though the room was dim and barely lit. I don't remember much else but the beauty of the moonlight on the way back home echoed something distant and ancient.

Sita Sharan said...

Dear Gita and Nicholas,
My sincere condolences for your great loss.
Annapurna & I first met in Bodhgaya, India in 1971. In a moment, she embraced me with her sublime smile. Annapurna was the first to istruct me in the meanings of karma, dharma, siddhi and grace. We were together, that auspicious day, when we first met Maharaji (Neem Karoli Baba) in Allahabad, India.
The words of those songs and poems she taught me fill colored pages in my tattered journal. My memories with Annapurna are woven into the tapestry of my spiritual life.
with love,

Sita Sharan

shankar gallery said...

Om Mani Padme Hum, the last time I was with you was at the Meenakshi kitchen,and now , just your spirit,
Love, Shankar

Andrei Laszlo said...

Hello vajra sisters and brothers
I have known Annapurna since 1981 when I met her at her house when a Trek Cho retreat was being discussed.I was a disciple of Dudjom Rimpoche and Annapurna was always very generous with comments and insights concerning his teachings. She gave me two pictures as a present that are still on my altar: a picture of His Holiness as a young man and the famous picture of the heads of all lineages with their entourage. Thus she has been part of my practice for the last 25 years even though I did not get to spend very much time with her. I visited her about 8 years ago and she was very kind and open, and gently pointed out some of the subtle fallacies in my practice.
May she reach the rainbow fields of Padmashambva radiantly and rapidly !

Anonymous said...

Annapurna Broffman was and is one of my closest friends. We met at the Pine Street Clinic in 1994. I had just written the Peace Angels Project and felt very sincere in my deep appreciation of what had happened in the inspiration. I felt very insecure though about the magnitude of the Peace Angels vision. Throughout all of the subsequent years I was able to call Annapurna at all hours of the day and night to discuss with her the spirit of Peace Angels. She had had her own spiritual vision about the angels that had told her how important this mission is to help the world. It was sometimes her confidence that helped me to hold on and to continue in the balance of forgiveness and humility. I love her so very, very much. She had gotten to me, relics from the Dalai Lama's lineage for the base of the New York Renaissance Peace Angel which was unveiled at Crossroads School of Arts and Sciences and then, at the entrance to the World Trade Center tragetdy post 9/11. She guided me as only a very close friend can. I will keep her in my heart with my husband, Daniel. Speaking to them, becomes a way deeper. Listening becomes the journey.
Lin Evola-Smidt
Founder of the Peace Angels Project

rene pittet said...

dear nickolas, michael, and gita. as you know i met annapurna at sokoji in 1968. in 1969 we worked together at the post office and the customs warehouse. after your mother left zen center i followed her adventures through the spiritual grapevine. once she became famous in india during the ram dass interval with maharaji, stories were plentiful and her healing practices became a legend in our time. i ran into her again at karmadzong in the mid-seventies and several other times during the passing decades. i last saw her at green gulch for suzuki roshis 100th birthday celebration. we held each other magically for a time and she gave me her card promising free acupuncture. i had an email from her several weeks ago offering free acupuncture again to ease my pain from a recent motorcycle accident and surgery. i put it off. now i find that annapurna lived in greenbrae too only a few blocks from my house. i feel terrible for not taking her love and caring more seriously, like the precious gift offering it was. i feel blind to my life and all it offers. i love annapurna. i have loved her for 40 years. please forgive me for not taking her final gift offering of care and healing. om mani padme hum

Sakina Sati said...

For several days now, I have been looking for the right words to express my feelings with about Annapurna's passing. I realize those elusive words must not exist after all, since I am still speechless. As one of the first generation of satsang children, Annapurna was a spiritual auntie to me. I have more memories of her loving presence than I can sort through, and each seems so perfect and beautiful as to be unrecountable. As I read through the stories here, I realize how distinct my perception is of Annapurna... one of a sweet, humble, maternal figure feeding me licorice bark, listening to music in her room, talking about daily things, making dinners of salad and tea. I will never forget her grand inner beauty or the tiniest of her details. She has definately touched and changed me for the better and I cherish the lessons I have learned from her loving nature. Annapurna, I wish I had the proper words to honor you with, but these words seem ridiculous and frail, strung together like beads on a tenuous thread, the proverbial bridge of hair over the chasm of fire, so instead I offer you my open heart to read prayers from.

Om Namah Shivayah. Jai Jai Jai Kali Ma.

With boundless love,

Sakina Sati

Katherine said...

From Katy Perlman:
I met Annapurna in the late 70's in Boulder, CO where we worked together at the Karmapa's house during his month-long stay. She was my favorite person to work with, always steady and optimistic. I loved her blend of magical qualities and grounded presence. She seemed to teach naturally just by the way that she moved in the world.

Our paths had not crossed for years and I didn't learn of her passing until recently---but a few days before I learned the news, I found myself thinking about her quite vividly. I hope my own passing will be as graceful. Good bye lovely being. Thank you for your special gifts.

Tamam said...

There was a dinner honoring Lama Palden last night, sunday, June 8th...
and before I knew it I was thinking Annapurna would be the perfect date. We were both Palden's long-time friends.
Her name was on my lips, especially when I stood and talked with Lynn Weinburger and we both paused and remembered our wonderful friend. so in a way, we both took her to the party.

Dear friend, on this anniversary of your passing I remember you and miss you! love, Tamam