Osho - A psychopathic cult leader

Hindsight Man

Jedi Master
I had a quick browse and I don't think anyone else has posted this yet. --
It's a link to a youtube documentary about Rajneeshpuram,from the inception of the town to it's downfall.It's only 40 min long,but it's pretty dense and covers everything you guys are talking about.
 

loreta

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
These pictures are amazing. Some are very disturbing, those where you see the "army" of the guru, and also the pictures where you see all the people under the spell of Osho. These people become totally blind to the reality and to their reality. And they don't see at all who was really Osho, the Mercedes lover ( he had many Mercedes), the multimillionaire, the crook. In fact I feel sad for them.

Seeing those groups of groupies I really am grateful of this forum, this group, that give us the map to knowledge the only way to be free and strong.
 

Marina9

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I saw the Wild Wild Country thing on Netflix, but couldn't really sit down and watch it all. It was just so weird. This reminded me of another one on Netflix called "Kumaré" which is all about a guy that fakes to be a guru and how people fall so easily in his trap. For me it was pretty scary to see how people fall in this so easy.

Also reminds me of Bikram, the guy that "created" this yoga style in a hot room etc, and the guy has been sued for millions of dollars cause of rape etc,.

I concur with loreta, that im very happy this forum exists, and how we can give a little grain of salt so people don't fall into this nonsense.
 

loreta

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Yeah, I believe he owned 93 Rolls Royces.
Wow! 93! This is incredible! Plus his airplane, evidently.

It is amazing how people continue to admire Osho even if they know that he had so many Rolls Royces. They think, they really think, that what is important is his message (about meditation, and all the bla bla bla) and that his love for the material is secondary. :rolleyes: Oh well, now where he is he don't need anymore his cars. But people continue to love him. Strange and incomprehensible even if we know why.
 

seek10

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I had a quick browse and I don't think anyone else has posted this yet. --
It's a link to a youtube documentary about Rajneeshpuram,from the inception of the town to it's downfall.It's only 40 min long,but it's pretty dense and covers everything you guys are talking about.
Interesting Video. All this can happen in a country like India, how did it happen in a country like USA where there is a lot of close scrutiny of peoples life. It is not a surprise when looked in the context of new age cointelpro of the 70's and 80's. How did all these people got away with minor penalties for the conspiracy to kill the people.

I wondered why India has a bigger share of these Godman Scams/scandals than others. They are pretty common news of Indian media. Often people with foreign national followers attract more attention to the media. Maybe it is related to religion or history or poverty or religious fighters fought Muslim/British rule or combination.

Some fall under religious authorities and some Self-made Godmen. I came across this article which talks about this phenomenon.

_India’s godman syndrome
India’s godman syndrome

Godmen do extraordinarily well in our country than in most others, and that is where the puzzle lies. Is our society more vulnerable? Or, does this show up so blatantly among us because of the way we practise democracy and secularism?

In a family of godmen, a clean baba stands out like a white sheep. That, however, does not stop people from stooping to charlatans in robes and matted hair. And the reason is simple: these godmen happily stomp on grounds where scientists fear to tread.

What facts can help figure out the beginning of the beginning, or how something came out of nothing? Alternatively, which experiment can explain the end of the end, or what it is to be dead? It’s a mug’s game to press scientists to find solutions to these questions, because they are actually riddles. In one case, the answer lies before a fact was born and, in the other, after a fact has gone.

Riddles, however, are the staple of godmen, mystics and saints. It is not enough to know why wood floats, stones sink or how planes fly. Science can tell us about these and much more, but that does not stop us from speculating on the wonder of life or the darkness of death. When all is said and done, no matter the quantum leaps in knowledge, those niggling, nettlesome issues will still remain.

When science has to concede

It is not just the illiterate and the uncouth who ask questions which have no real answers. Some of the best scientists too have been assailed by similar doubts, especially after their lab hours are over. In short, this line of inquisitiveness is a universal failing — a quest that has no real solution. It is in this empty space that the godman strikes, with nothing more than a prayer and a song.

As these eternal questions have, and will, torment us forever, there is no getting out of the fear and the awe of the supernatural. Consequently, whenever there is despair, or when the future is uncertain, or when terror stalks the soul, the godman gets a near open invitation, all expenses paid. Scientific advance concedes empty knowledge spaces, but as faith abhors a vacuum it readily serves up answers to the unanswerables. At this level there is just no contest — science has to concede.

No doubt, there were great ascetics and kind and generous faith leaders who, at tremendous personal cost, often gave succour to the masses in times of great distress. From Jesus, to Muhammad, to Vivekananda and even Dayananda Saraswati, we have had such heroes who shored up our spirits and gave us strength. The truth, however, is that when these great souls depart, they leave behind followers who are human — all too human. As they lack the charisma of their gurus, they reduce the substance of their teachings to miracles and magic.

To blame Indians, or Hindus, alone for being prone to mystics and godmen would be unfair and unjust. What remains true is that godmen do extraordinarily well in our country than in most others we know of, and that is where the puzzle lies. Is our society more vulnerable? Or, is Hinduism particularly susceptible? Or, does this show up so blatantly among us because of the way we practise democracy and secularism?

Or, is it a combination of the above?

India and its divisions

True, it is difficult to find another place where people are as divided as we are in India. Just imagine living with thousands of castes where each order has a different prescription of what is a “good life” and how to lead it! Worse, those at the top lord it over the rest in the name of an imagined myth. This, in turn, creates rivalries because nobody likes to be told that their rightful place is way down, perhaps even as outcastes. At each level then, origin tales and fables multiply contesting actual rankings with imagined and aspirational ones.

Second, notice the unique features of Hinduism. This is one major religion that does not need a communion — there is nothing that two Hindus can do which one Hindu cannot! As a result, instead of a priest, or a Mullah, leading a community prayer in a church or a mosque or a synagogue, we have designer gurus. Many of them are ready to be domesticated should their patrons be rich enough. In fact, Manu warned us against “wandering ascetics”, preferring instead the house-trained ones. Leave aside the lesser texts, gurus of this sort abound in both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

It is hardly surprising then that Hindu godmen should behave like magicians and their followers like clients. Within the walls of any “dera”, hermitage, or guru’s lair, devotees are hugely outnumbered by pay-as-you-go clients. None of these Hindu godmen has ever led a religious war, for those who visit them are not believers, but miracle-seekers. They have not come to die for a cause, but to get something out of it.

Undeniably, Hindu scriptures soften the mind and make it more prone to magic. The Vedas, for example, go on and on about how the gods must be pleased with libations and lavish praise, to win wars, beget sons, and acquire immeasurable wealth. While other religions frighten devotees with religious wrath, Hindu texts instead take the route of pleasing their gods who are always open to persuasion. Neither Shiva nor Kali is nearly as vengeful as Athena, Aphrodite or Yahweh.

Playing the godman card

But most important of all, it is the way democracy and secularism is practised in India. People everywhere are prone to mystics, but what makes our godmen seem so powerful is that our politicians use them as baits to catch votes. It never really quite works that way because the godmen’s followers are thinking cures, bank balance and success, not democracy. From Bhindranwale to Ramdev to Nithyananda to Asaram and now Rampal, not a single baba ever succeeded in converting their clients into vote banks.

Still, politicians persist in this tack and cover their backs by sloganeering democracy and secularism. Winning elections by playing the godman card seems perfectly acceptable to them because they see their voters as dumb, driven, religious cattle. Sadly for the babas, though, they just have a few good years at the top. Very soon, the godman has to be dispensed with: it is either because of the genie out of the bottle syndrome, or because a new power centre has emerged.

It eventually, therefore, distils down to politics. Babas catering to gullible folks would hardly be a social nuisance if politicians did not meddle in this magician-client relationship. Indira Gandhi’s choice of Bhindranwale is the best illustration of how a petty soothsayer can become a monster and cause enormous public damage. If Bhindranwale had been left alone in his “dera” he would probably be living today and so would thousands of innocent Sikhs who were caught in the crossfire.

Many of us do not quite appreciate why Nehru refused to pull in his horns when he opposed President Rajendra Prasad’s decision to inaugurate the Somnath temple after its post-Independence makeover. To read his objection as that of an atheist against a believer would be grossly misleading; in fact, it was a warning not to involve the state too intimately with religion. Yet, his daughter, Indira, rarely kicked off an election campaign without a temple visit. Nowhere does the book of democracy say that worship is out, it would be ridiculous to make such an assertion. At the same time to have the official airwaves swinging to chants and hymns undermines the sanctity of secularism.

Hindus may or may not be overly religious, but that should not excuse politicians when they include babas in their power calculations. Most societies are religious and yet, if they are democracies, it is important that they keep faith in its place.
 

PopHistorian

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I'm reminded of Soviet KGB defector Yuri Besmenov, who said that all these "gurus" are doing a tremendous service for the global elite conspiracy by distracting Americans from reality. He said, 35 or more years ago:

"This is exactly what Marxist-Leninist propaganda wants from Americans, to distract their attention and mental energy from real issues of the United States into non-issues, non-world, non-existent 'harmony.' Obviously it's more beneficial for the Soviet aggressors to have a bunch of duped Americans than Americans who are self-conscious, healthy, physically fit, and alert to the reality. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is obviously not on the payroll of the KGB, but whether he knows it or not, he contributes greatly to the demoralization of American society - and he's not the only one. There are hundreds of those gurus who come to your country to capitalize on naivety and stupidity of Americans. It's a fashion. It's a fashion to meditate. It's a fashion not to be involved... KGB was very much fascinated, they were convinced that that type of brainwashing was very efficient, and instrumental to demoralization of the United States."

I recommend the video of the whole Besmenov interview:
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thanks for sharing the various links and videos. Following reading and watching, I looked for more information about the leaders of the Ranch/Rajneeshpuram, Ma Anand Sheela and Ma Anand Puja, who appear to be key to the direction events took.

Ma Anand Sheela is said to have been a defacto leader: see slide on: _https://arssymposium.absa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/1630_Perman_ARS_USDAFeb4_2015.pdf
And there is:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma_Anand_Sheela said:
Ma Anand Sheela (Gujarati: માં આનંદ શિલા; born 28 December 1949 as Sheela Ambalal Patel in India, also known as Sheela Birnstiel)[1
In the German Wiki there are other details: _Ma Anand Sheela – Wikipedia


Then there is Ma Anand Puja who was a leader of the medical center at the ranch: About her there is:
https://www.upi.com/Archives/1988/12/31/Gurus-ex-aide-back-in-Oregon-after-prison/1337599547600/ said:
[...]
[....]Ma Anand Puja, 40, also known as Diane Yvonne Onang, was released from the federal prison at Pleasanton, Calif., Thursday after nearly 39 months behind bars, including time spent in a German jail before she was extradited to the United States in late 1985.[...]
Ma Anand Sheela only served about 2 and half years of a 20 year sentence which she served along with Puja at a minimum security prison. They were released early due to good behavior. Elsewhere I found that only one of the people convicted from the Ranch served her full term, 5 years; there may have been other circumstances, but she had refused to witness against the others.


In the comments to an article on SannyasNews there is one from a person who was an ordinary participant at the ranch:
http://sannyasnews.org/now/archives/4933 said:
On The Ranch’s Medical Director
Posted on 17 April, 2015 by sannyasnews
SN Notes on Ma Anand Puja
[...]
Parmartha says:
18 April, 2015 at 7:21 am
The evidence I would quote are the transcipts of the trials, which were first published 25 years after the event. If you read them all, which is quite a task, then it sort of becomes self-evident. But very few people seem to have read them. The most telling I read was the testimony of the person knwn by some as the Secretary’s Secretary, Ava.
Transcipts at
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/73830-01-ava-avalos-fbi-statement.html#document/p14/a14390
In the Ava testimony she speifically says that Sheela and her cabal were extremely keen to make sure there were no leaks, and that Osho should never get to know of their strange games. These testimonies were given on oath.
[...]
The FBI took away loads of taped conversations from the Ranch between Osho and Sheela, and also Savita, etc. and must still have them. Had there been anything incriminating Osho, they would certainly have used them rather than simply prosecuting Sheela, Savita, Puja et al.
In the above legal document pages 27-29. It becomes clear that even people close to Ma Anand Sheela were very much afraid of her, and that it was less Rajneesh and Ma Anand Sheela and the nurse Ma Anand Puja who were in control of life at the ranch at that time.
Later the above person, Parmartha says in the same thread:
Parmartha says:
[...]
Had someone interviewed me on Sept 14th, 1985 I would have had no idea anything like this was going down, and I think it fair to say that applied to at least 95 per cent of commune members. The next day, Sheela left and the following day we all began to hear of her and her cohort’s crimes.
Some say we should have known, but for the life of me I can’t see how. The transcipts show how tight and controlled the conspiracy was.
[...]
The last sentence is possible, how much do we know of the secret deals behind closed doors in the society we live in.

There was another article on SannyasNews that comments on the action of Sheela.
Ma Ananda Sarita on http://sannyasnews.org/now/archives/7758 said:
[...]I was there with the first 20 people before Osho came to the ranch and then I was there until there were only six people left. [...]
Ma Ananda Sarita on http://sannyasnews.org/now/archives/7758 said:
In the very early days, I was working in Sheela’s house as a cleaner and later on I was shifted to work in the press office. I saw that things were going in a not very pleasant direction with her and the people around her. I saw that she was under a lot of stress. Osho had invited her to live in his compound, and he advised her to work during the day but in the evening to come back to a meditative space in his compound, to leave the work behindshe chose not to do that. When people are under stress, they do strange things.[...]
This Ma Ananda Sarita is explaining Sheela's behaviour away with stress, the pdf I mentioned at the beginning is more inclinded to think it as an expression of a personality disorder.

Below are som views of the personal doctor of Rajneesh who himself was the object of a murder attempt by Sheela and Puja.
http://sannyasnews.org/now/archives/7751 said:
Amrito gives his take on Wild, Wild Country
Posted on 25 April, 2018 by sannyasnews
Osho’s Personal Doctor Gives His View on Wild Wild Country
http://sannyasnews.org/now/archives/7751 said:
[...]This first appeared in “The Cut” . As the Sheela cabal tried to murder Amrito it is important testimony, and a major flaw that the film did not try to interview him, or see it as important.
The following interview has been edited and condensed.
Did the documentary makers ever reach out to you to be in the documentary?
No. I wasn’t contacted.
[...]
What would you have wanted to add?
I mean, in a way, Osho’s really not a central part of the documentary at all. If you wanted to really tell the story properly, you’d want to know something about Osho, right? And all the coverage in a way totally misunderstands Osho. I saw Megyn Kelly [New series ‘Wild Wild Country’ focuses on 1980s cult community in Oregon] the other day — it was actually disgusting, really, in terms of misrepresentation — she did an interview with the two guys who did the documentary, and it was kind of, oh you know: these ridiculous cultists, sex all the time, they were killers sort of just pure misrepresentation. Well, hang on: You don’t say all of Chicago are killers because Al Capone lives there. [...]
The other part of the story which is really not clear, but you could pick up on it, is that over a period of time, basically Sheela split from Osho. She openly said, “I’m not interested in meditation at all.” So you’ve got a non-meditater trying to understand the vision of someone whose only interest is meditation. That’s a pretty strange starting point. And then, basically, she starts saying: “He’s lost interest in his vision, but I know what his vision is and I’m going to be the one to deliver it.” As time went by, she really started to push back and not do anything Osho wanted. By 1984, she’s really kind of going off the rails, really.
[...]
Q: Sheela has definitely been this sort of object of fascination, I think, for people who’ve watched the documentary. Can you give any insight into what kind of person you think she is based on the time you spent with her?


A: Definitely courageous. No question. She was this kind of high-powered, fast-moving, quick-talking, quick-thinking, intelligent, courageous, go-getting person, and everyone went “Great! This is wonderful.” By sort of early ’81, Sheela’s really everybody’s favorite. It’s we who chose Sheela, and Osho who crowned her. And she’s an incredibly able administrator, able to get things done. Yet she had no sense of Osho’s vision. She thought Osho’s vision was to create a community. But Osho’s vision was to help people become themselves. He’s not interested in creating an alternative society. He’s interested in people who go into the normal life and live beautifully wherever they find. [...]
Sheela takes the power and runs the show. And where was Rajneesh in all this? It is mentioned here: The “Editing” of Osho’s Words by the Cabal | sannyasnews
For another critical view of Sheela, see:
http://sannyasnews.org/now/archives/7746 said:
The View from the Street: The Ordinary Sannyasin at Rajneeshpuram
Posted on 22 April, 2018 by sannyasnews
Rashid Maxwell
Artist/painter and farmer living in England. Lived at Rajneeshpuram for four years.
Because of my agricultural experience, I was one of the first people to go to Rajneeshpuram. My job then was taking the land, which had been totally neglected and overgrazed, and getting the basics of agriculture started. Very soon after that I had many disagreements with Sheela, I never got on with her. It didn’t feel to me like she was intelligent, even. She was cunning, clever, but not intelligent.
[...]
Finally
http://sannyasnews.org/now/archives/7733 said:
http://sannyasnews.org/now/archives/7733 said:
The other difficult thing is she refuses to show any remorse. Even in the Netflix thing she sort of agrees that the Dalles town was poisoned by her cabal, but then says it is one of those things that simply happen. Extraordinary.
[...]
From the discussion at the SannyasNews forum I gather that the members have talked and thought a lot about the events at the Ranch in Oregon. Some are tired of talking about it, some have finished dealing with it, others feel a need to keep seeking the truth and learn from past experiences through reflection.

One of the people who was involved in misdoings, actually an assassination plot against Charles Turner, the then United States Attorney for the District of Oregon: 1985 Rajneeshee assassination plot
1985 Rajneeshee assassination plot - Wikipedia is a Catherine Jane Stork, who published a book, according to reviewers very well written, about her involvement in the Rajneesh group and leaving:
Breaking the Spell: My Life as a Rajneeshee and the Long Journey Back to Freedom
Which is reviewed here: https://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Spe...keywords=Catherine+Jane+Stork#customerReviews
and here:
https://www.amazon.de/Breaking-Spel...39&sr=8-1&keywords=jane+stork#customerReviews
Catherine Stork left, still there are many people in the communities and people involved with the ideas of Rajneesh as evident from:
Category:Countries - The Sannyas Wiki Some have been involved for many years, some came later.
 

Voyageur

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
And what of Anand Sheela later? This was mentioned in the film above with the purchase of two Swiss nursing homes:

From Swissinfo.ch

The rebirth of Ma Anand Sheela: from Rajneeshee queen to carer for disabled

Many photos on the link article - and the article is long:

The rebirth of Ma Anand Sheela: from Rajneeshee queen to carer for disabled
Apr 12, 2018 - 11:00

Sheela Biernstiel - aka Ma Anand Sheela – has created a new life for herself in Switzerland as a carer for the mentally disabled, leaving behind her notoriety as the suspected mastermind behind a bioterror plot in the United States.

When you arrive in the village of Maisprach, you know you are in rural Switzerland. The yellow postal bus - transporting elderly women carrying grocery bags and school children returning home for lunch - drops me off near the village centre. First unsure of which direction to take, I spot a sign at the bus stop for Matrusaden, the disabled home run by Sheela.

The route there follows a narrow road through green fields and meanders uphill towards a small glen. Just as I begin to wonder if I’d missed a turn, I spot another Matrusaden sign poking out of a carpet of dead leaves. I plod on with growing apprehension of meeting the notorious Sheela. Her Wikipedia pageexternal link, that I had consulted earlier, does her no favours.

“As the personal secretary of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the spiritual leader of the Rajneesh movement, from 1981 through 1985, she managed the Rajneeshpuram ashram in Wasco County, Oregon, United States. In 1985 she pleaded guilty to attempted murder and assault for her role in the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack,” it said.

Too late now. I crest the hill and finally catch sight of the home. There are several vehicles in the car park and horses stabled at a vet on the other end of the road. As I am a bit early for my appointment, I wander towards a mare and her foal. Just as I’m about to pet the horses, I hear my name being called. Two women have come running out of the home and are beckoning me in. Sheela is one of them. I’m struck by how frail she looks but that is because the photos and videos I had seen were taken decades ago. After all, she will turn 70 this year.

Rajneesh and Sheela
Also known as Osho or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the Indian spiritual guru gained a following in Mumbai from 1970 onwards before relocating to nearby Pune where his followers built a retreat for him. He gained notoriety for preaching against religious orthodoxy when it came to wealth and sex. In 1981, he appointed India-born Sheela as his secretary and she was tasked with finding a new location for the commune in order to expand. A ranch in Oregon in the US was purchased for close to $6 million and was renamed as Rajneeshpuram. It became the headquarters of the Rajneesh empire.

The commune soon came into conflict with locals who were against the development of the ranch and the alternative lifestyle of red-clad Rajneesh disciples. To overcome hurdles to their building projects, the commune succeeded in getting its members elected to the local government. In 1985, Sheela quit the commune claiming that she could not handle Rajneesh’s demands for Rolls Royce cars and expensive watches. After her departure, Rajneesh broke his vow of silence and accused her and her close aides of poisoning local residents with salmonella bacteria to swing the outcome of the local election. He also claimed she had stolen $55 million from the commune.

Sheela was extradited from Germany where she had fled and was charged with attempted murder among other crimes. She eventually pleaded guilty to the charges of immigration fraud and illegal interception of telephone calls and served 39 months of her 20-year sentence. Rajneesh was also briefly arrested but handed a 10-year suspended sentence for immigration fraud and ordered to leave the US. After a few years of a nomadic existence, he returned to his original retreat in Pune in 1987 and died three years later at the age of 58.

A documentary film called Wild Wild Countryexternal link on Rajneesh, Sheela and the Rajneeshpuram commune in Oregon was released this year.

Dementia temple
As soon as I enter the building, I see a large photograph of a bearded man. I assume it is Sheela’s former guru, Rajneesh, but on closer inspection realise I am wrong. Sheela tells me it was her father and the picture next to it her mother. She had named her two homes for the disabled “Matrusaden” (mother’s home) and “Bapusaden” (father’s home) in honour of their memory.

I am then ushered into the office, which is unlike any I have ever seen. The computers and desks used for admin work are surrounded by beds for patients. Sheela calls the room "Demenz Mandir" or dementia temple. This is where the most severely handicapped patients spend the night, so they don’t feel isolated. It is also a stratagem to normalise dying by exposing the residents to the death of other patients in the room.

“A lot of mentally disabled people have a massive anxiety of dying. They should come in contact with it to see that it is nothing to be afraid of,” says Sheela.

Most of the patients were in the sun-bathed conservatory at the opposite end of the home and were busy with their colouring books. One by one they introduced themselves and shook my hand. Many were born abroad in countries like Brazil, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Serbia, Germany, Austria and India. The youngest is 42 and the oldest 83. Most had been at Matrusaden for over a decade. While the home can only admit patients between 18 and 64, they can stay as long as needed. Matrusaden is a non-profit foundation and patients get government support to cover whole or part of the CHF8,500 ($8,854) monthly fees for their care.

“We are known for dealing with difficult patients who have not found a place in other institutes due to their handicap. We have patients who have visited 15 other homes and no place has functioned for them,” says Sheela.

The only patients that Sheela turns away are drug addicts and those suffering from tetraplegia. The former are not her “cup of tea” and the latter require special infrastructure that is difficult to provide in a small home.

The most unique aspect of the place is that there are no designated areas patients are restricted to. They are free to walk into any room, including Sheela’s bedroom that is located on the first floor of the home. I feel like an intruder when I enter her bedroom at her assistant’s bidding.

My eyes are immediately attracted to a large framed photograph of what appears to be Rajneesh being served champagne by Sheela. It is hard to imagine she still has affection for the man who blamed her for carrying out terrorist acts against the American government and the commune. The accusations resulted in her spending 39 months behind bars.

“My character was fully assassinated by Bhagwan and his people, as well as the Oregon government. I was trying to digest that and had no idea what I would do when I came out of prison. When I eventually did, I was unfit for the outside world,” says Sheela.

After serving her prison term, she left the US for Germany but was denied re-entry without explanation while on a shopping trip to Switzerland (Germany had extradited her to the US when she first left the country and commune in 1985). After a short stint in Portugal she settled in Switzerland in 1989.

Sheela had acquired Swiss nationality through her marriage in 1984 to a Swiss national who was in charge of the Zurich Rajneesh commune. Her husband died while she was serving her prison term in the US, leaving her with nobody to depend on. A German lawyer, who she had an affair with, refused to leave his wife and start a new life with her.

“I was still in shock due to my past life and was adjusting to a new environment. It was a very intense period,” she recalls.

She eventually found a job as a housekeeper for an old couple in Basel.

“It felt right because I was missing my parents very much. The old couple were in their eighties and helped soothe my heart,” she says.

Later on, she rented a house and took in six elderly disabled patients in 1990. She built up her reputation as a competent carer and five years later she moved to a bigger place and was responsible for 16 patients.

“In those days, there were no educational qualification requirements. They saw I was doing good work and they left me alone for 18 years.”

A law on caring for the disabled was eventually introduced and Sheela says she worked hard to meet the requirements. In 2008, her home received government accreditation, but the philosophy behind the care given is based on personal intuition and life experiences.

“Prison was my highest qualification and I don't consider it time wasted. I learned patience there. I also learned the value of time and to accept my own reality better. These are the qualities I use in my work,” she explains.

Back in the limelight
Sheela remained relatively anonymous during her first three years in Switzerland. She wasn’t hiding but nobody had made the link between Sheela the carer and the controversial Ma Anand Sheela of the Rajneeshpuram commune. That changed when a journalist from a regional newspaper contacted her for an article on homes for seniors.

“After I gave him a two-hour interview, the journalist called me later at night and said my face and name was familiar. He asked me if I was the same Rajneeshpuram Sheela and when I confirmed his hunch he changed his article from senior homes to me. I became known to the public again.”

The fact that her cover was blown did not bother her since she has never shied away from her past.

“It is a crown that I still carry today and was never something to be ashamed of. It was my honour to be living close with men like Bhagwan. He had a major influence on my life's experience which in turn influences my work,” she says.

Her work today is all consuming with a total of 29 patients in the two homes under her care.

“I think Rajneeshpuram's training does come handy. When you manage a huge place like that, this home looks like a joke,” she says.

It is approaching tea time. As keen as I am to sample the coffee and cake the patients are given at 3pm, I do not want to overstay my welcome. Sheela’s sister, who is away buying groceries, makes an appearance. She is not pleased to see me.

“I think journalists are people who cannot work for a living but only make money out of other people’s lives. These things happened so long ago and yet the press cannot leave her in peace,” she says.

I can understand her hostility. Sheela is remarkably open about her life. That’s a journalist’s dream but can be a family member’s nightmare.

Before I leave, I have one last question for Sheela. Does she feel that her homes for the disabled are her life’s work as opposed to Rajneeshpuram where she was merely an instrument to realise Rajneesh’s vision?

“After I left Bhagwan, everything I do is my baby. I am proud to say his training comes in handy but this is my life's work. Rajneeshpuram was Bhagwan's life's work and this is purely mine along with my team. I am happy with both my legacies: with and without Bhagwan.”
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thank you Voyageur for sharing your find. It seems that Sheela has been able to make use of some of her life experiences.

In this post, there is first except about some sentences that were given to the people from the Ranch that went to court followed by some excerpts with writings that show how others experienced Sheelas power grap and how it expressed itself, which included editing the words of Rajneesh to suit her agenda and how Rajneesh saw the situation. At the end I include a link to a biography about the first part of the life of Rajneesh and a short section from this book which explains the reason for the conflict Rajneesh had with some Indian academics of the 1950ïes when he attended college.

On Sannyas News there was a comment which spells out some of the sentences pronounced by the court, apparently a reproduction from an old article.
http://sannyasnews.org/now/archives/7746 said:
Parmartha says:
24 April, 2018 at 12:16 pm
[...]
1986: PORTLAND, Ore.
His former secretary pleaded guilty to attempted murder, electronic eavesdropping, immigration fraud and engineering a salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 750 people.
http://sannyasnews.org/now/archives/7746 said:
Ma Anand Sheela, 36, was given concurrent, 4 1/2-year federal prison terms and a suspended 5-year sentence Tuesday after admitting her guilt before U.S. District Judge Edward Leavy.

On the state charges, Wasco County Circuit Judge John Jelderks sentenced Sheela to 20 years in prison and Puja to 15 years for attempting to murder the doctor and assaulting the county officials. Sheela also was sentenced to 20 years for arson.

Sheela admitted creating an electronic eavesdropping system at Rajneeshpuram, the sect’s commune-city, and conspiring to spread salmonella bacteria on food in 10 restaurants in the area.

The five-year immigration fraud sentence, for helping to arrange more than 400 sham marriages among the guru’s disciples, was suspended on the condition that she leave the United States after completing her prison time.

“For the rest of your life, it would be improbable that you would ever be able to return” (to the United States), Leavy told her.

The restaurant poisonings were aimed at sickening Wasco County voters as part of an attempt by the sect to gain political control over the county, federal investigators said.

Another commune leader, Ma Anand Puja, was sentenced to 4 1/2 years for conspiracy in the salmonella poisonings, to be followed by 3 years probation for wiretapping. Puja, a 38-year-old Filipino who led the commune’s Rajneesh Medical Corp., is not required to leave the country.

Sheela also pleaded guilty to state charges of plotting a poison-syringe attack on the guru’s physician, giving poisoned drinking water to two Wasco County officials and setting a fire that damaged the county planning office.

A third former sect leader, Ma Shanti Bhadra, 40, of Perth, Australia, pleaded guilty to attempting to murder the doctor and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Bhadra, treasurer of the sect’s religious organisation, was accused of injecting the poison in Swami Devaraj.


Below are reports and impressions about what the students and Rajneesh thought about the time
http://sannyasnews.org/now/archives/7733 said:
The “Editing” of Osho’s Words by the Cabal
Posted on 15 April, 2018 by Parmartha
I always find it outside of normal logic when commentators and others, most of whom never stepped foot on the Ranch say it was Osho telling Sheela and her cabal to do “things”.
http://sannyasnews.org/now/archives/7733 said:
I dont share this view at all. Telling him to bug his own room, or knock off Amrito, just rubbish.

Here is another example well contoured in Maneesha’s book “Osho the Buddha for the Future” (which is about to be republished. )

Maneesha writes in her book:

So how, you will wonder, did we reconcile all that Osho is saying about religion and priests versus true religiousness with the fact that we are now ‘Rajneeshees’, of the religion of ‘Rajneeshism’, with a bible called The Book of Rajneeshism and our very own pope, with her papal regalia for special occasions, in the form of Sheela? Osho has reiterated so many times that the last place you can expect to experience God or feel the essence of religiousness is within the confines of a formal religion. Yet that is exactly what Sheela appears to have created – I presume because we were applying for permission for Osho to stay under the category of his being a religious teacher. She wants to substantiate that by having all the trappings of a formal religion. Apparently, our lawyers have advised her that this is not necessary. In fact, it will prove obstructive when it comes to the issue of the separation of church and state.

It’s just a gesture and almost certainly none of us take it seriously. But later I wonder if Sheela used the situation to consolidate her position. For sure many of her strategies to gain and then maintain power have a popish ring about them.

Perhaps, because Sheela is not listening to him, Osho tries to warn us all through discourses that what we are doing, or allowing to be done, to his vision is the very thing that has been done to masters in the past. Perhaps what usually happens only after the master is dead, Osho is allowing to be played out now, while he is still alive, to watch what our response will be and to guide us.

Does any Christian who has any real understanding of Jesus believe that the pope embodies the precepts of Jesus’ vision? What would Jesus find, and what would he do about it, if he came back to earth today and met the pope in the Vatican?

In any case, one incident in particular illustrates Sheela’s popish behaviour: her editing of Osho’s discourses. By ‘editing’ I don’t mean the kind Devaraj, Devageet and I were doing – adding commas or correcting the English, as he has asked us to.

Unknown to most of us, Sheela actually cuts whole sentences and passages from not one but several discourses. Her rationale is that she is protecting Osho and the commune from unnecessary political or legal repercussions; that Osho is speaking on subjects of which he is ‘meant’ to have no knowledge and is thus incriminating himself.

Later, Osho spells out very clearly that not only are his acknowledged enemies trying to stop him talking, even his disciples wanted to hinder his message. He says he knows exactly what he is saying and is aware of the ramifications. But according to several sannyasins who know Sheela, her attitude towards Osho is that he doesn’t understand much that goes on in the world and it is up to her to protect him and to take care of certain matters without his guidance.

That she sets herself up as protector, one might argue, though misguided, is well intentioned. However, consider the position Sheela puts herself into as protector of Osho and censor of his words. Without his knowledge, advice, or consent, Sheela can, and does, interfere with Osho’s message to his sannyasins and the rest of the world.

From one particular discourse (December 19, 1984), she deletes several pages in which Osho talks about how he envisions certain corporations within the commune functioning. These many separate bodies he sees as necessary to decentralize power and avoid a concentration of power in the hands of just one person.

Now, why should the spiritual head of the commune be endangering his status by talking about how to decentralize and so avoid the abuse of power? To say that the discourse implies Osho is involved in the details of running the commune is analogous to saying that if the pope makes a comment about nuclear warfare he is making bombs! The more likely explanation as to why these passages are removed is that they signify a threat to Sheela personally…

[…] It is here that several passages are deleted. I for one would even dispute whether the phrase ‘other religious affairs’ is Osho’s and not Sheela’s; it does not strike me as a phrase that is characteristic of the way Osho talks. I could be wrong on that score but certainly there is no question that two pages later a phrase of Osho’s has been replaced with one that is not his. Osho has been saying that we should learn from the past and not allow organizations to use us…

And if you can see all the possibilities that destroy religion…’ Osho continues, and before they get hold of my religion I am going to finish all these possibilities. Sannyasins can have a totally different organization. That promise you can always remember: I will not leave you under a fascist regime.’

But in the written discourse you will find the last phrase reads, I will not leave you in a state of chaos.’

From Ignorance to Innocence, Ch 20, Q 1

Devaraj and Devageet are both present at this discourse, and they remember this particular phrase as originally said. In fact, they remember a good deal of the discourse and are aware, when they see the transcript given to them, that much material has been edited out. Trusting that if it has been omitted it is for a good reason, they ask no further about the matter.

Only some time later I hear that Zeno – who worked in the tape and video department where the initial editing had to be done – does ask about why so many of Osho’s words need to be cut and changed. Subsequently, she is falsely and deliberately diagnosed as having a positive AIDS antibody test and is sent to live with others in a special area set up for those having the syndrome. (This form of incarceration is used as punishment for at least one other sannyasin; apparently, rumour has it, because when asked to be involved in a drug run by one of Sheela’s gang he refused to.)”

“On September 8th we celebrate Mahaparinirvana Day (the day on which we celebrate all those sannyasins, past or present, who have died enlightened). Sheela is absent it is the first ranch celebration day she has missed and returns a few days later. It’s common knowledge that Sheela’s trips away from the commune, ostensibly to visit centres all around the world, have become increasingly frequent and lengthy. On her return from this latest visit she writes a letter to Osho saying that she no longer feels so excited when she comes back to the commune, that she enjoys more when her work takes her to Europe, Australia and elsewhere.

Osho responds to this on the evening of Friday, September 13, 1985 in the press conference in Jesus Grove. As it happens, Sheela is not present; she has a cold. Needless to say, Osho’s response spreads rapidly among those of us who are not present.

Perhaps she is not conscious,’ Osho tells the forty or so sannyasins present and this is the situation for all she does not know why she does not feel excited here anymore. It is because I am speaking and she is no longer the central focus. She is no longer a celebrity. When I am speaking to you, she is no longer needed as a mediator to inform you of what I am thinking. Now that I am speaking to the press and to the radio and TV journalists, she has fallen into shadow. And for three and a half years she was in the limelight because I was silent.

It may not be clear to her why she does not feel excited coming here and feels happy in Europe. She is still a celebrity in Europe interviews, television shows, radio interviews, newspapers but here all that has disappeared from her life. If you can behave in such foolish, unconscious ways even while I am here, the moment I am gone you will be creating all kinds of politics, fight. Then what is the difference between you and the outside world? Then my whole effort has been a failure. I want you to behave really as a new man.

I have given Sheela the message that this is the reason: “So think it over and tell me. If you want me to stop speaking just for your excitement, I can stop speaking.” To me there is no problem in it. In fact, it is a trouble. For five hours a day I am speaking to you, and it is creating unhappiness in her mind. So let her do her show business. I can move into silence. But that indicates that deep down those who have power will not like me to be here alive, because while I am here nobody can have any power trip. They may not be conscious about it; only situations reveal your power trip…’

The Last Testament, Vol 2, Ch 23

How is Sheela going to receive this ‘hit’? We don’t have to wait too long to find out. The following day around 1:45 p.m. I receive a phone call from Mary Catherine who, for the past year or so, has been an editor with The Rajneesh Times. ‘Maneesha, I’m down at Jesus Grove,’ she says breathlessly. ‘I don’t know if you guys are aware of it, but Sheela is planning to leave. I think Osho ought to be told.’ ²

Excerpts from Osho: The Buddha for the Future by Maneesha James


In the comments to the article there was a post with a question to which Rajneesh responds:

http://sannyasnews.org/now/archives/7733 said:
Arpana says:
15 April, 2018 at 1:29 pm
“IF YOU CREATED SUCH AN IDEAL SITUATION IN YOUR COMMUNE, HOW COULD PEOPLE LEAVE? HOW COULD PEOPLE BE DISLOYAL TO YOU OR TO THE COMMUNE?
http://sannyasnews.org/now/archives/7733 said:
Only a few were disloyal. I was silent, in isolation, for three and a half years and I had given all the powers to the president of the commune and the people who were running and taking care of the commune. This can give any human mind an opportunity, it is nothing special. Everybody has a will-to-power. I was completely inactive, I was not even meeting sannyasins. So in these three and a half years they tried to harass people who were more intelligent than themselves and might sometime become competitors. So the people who left, left because they were harassed by this small group of twenty people who were holding power, and who had not the intelligence or the competence to do so.

They harassed the vice chancellor and the chancellor of the university, psychologists, professors, doctors – people who had achieved more growth. They did not tell them to leave, but in an indirect way they harassed them. Some left. They never left me, they never left the commune, but they left this group.

Once I was out of silence I wanted everything to be done by the best person. The moment I started speaking again, and reports started coming to me that these twenty people had been doing things which were not according to my ideas, those twenty people simply escaped. And all the people who had gone came back immediately. So it was a simple human weakness – when you have power you want more power, and you don’t want anybody to be a competitor in any situation.

But this was not a big problem. Once I was speaking I thought, those twenty people have left, that does not matter. I have one million sannyasins around the world; what do twenty people mean among one million sannyasins? And those who had left previously immediately returned, so this was not a problem at all. I immediately put the right people in their places, and the commune was running perfectly well. There was no problem; the real problem came from the politicians outside.”
Osho
‘The Last Testament’, Vol. 4, Chapter 7

About the state of the Rajneesh movemnet one can read here: Rajneesh movement - Wikipedia which also mentions that he was the first Indian teacher to embrace modern psychotherapy.


A biography of the early life of Rajneesh can be found here:
https://www.oshosourcebook.com/wp-content/uploads/OSHO-Source-BOOK.pdf This is a long biography, of 600++ of the years from 1931-1974 From early in his life there were many "coincidental" incidences, somehow he happened to meet with many people who either were or became well connected. It is said that he by the age of 14 had gathered a library of 4000 books, he read everything and questioned everything. Early on his interest in religions, philosophy and spiritual practices was awakened. His grandmother attitude to life and relgion was very influential. She professed no religion although her husband was a Jain, but was influenced by tantric traditions from her own family.


Here is are a few paragraphs from the biography:
page 111 in https://www.oshosourcebook.com/wp-content/uploads/OSHO-Source-BOOK.pdf said:
So from 1951 Rajneesh was first a student at The Faculty of Art at Hitkarini Mahavidyalaya, but following some heated discussions with his professor in psychology Dr. S.N.L. Srivastava, who even threatened to resign as we will see, Rajneesh after eight months moved on to Indian College, where he was accepted on the explicit condition that he was not allowed to attend any classes in philosophy or psychology. Here he continued his intensive reading as fortunately enough he had been allowed only to use the library, and he was reading on his own continuing his close affinity from Gadarwara for reading in libraries and also charging out books to be read elsewhere in a natural setting. Not the reading of textbooks for the courses at college, but he was reading a much wider field of subjects. “He was here on his own reading, reading, reading. Not textbooks, but a broad range of subjects.” (13)
[...]
“I could never manage to fit anywhere. As a student I was a nuisance. Every professor who taught me looked on me as a punishment that God had sent for him…I could not fit in with anything. Whatsoever they taught me was so mediocre that I had to fight against it. I had to tell them, “This is very mediocre….” Now, you can imagine saying this to a professor who had been hoping that you would appreciate his lecture – which he has been preparing for days – and at the end of it a student stands up…And I was a strange student, to say the least.” Glimpses of a Golden Childhood 1990, p.244[...]
This whole story has many complexities when one gets into the details.
 

Cleo

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
An interesting article written by Satya Franklin who was a close friend of Osho and Sheela and lived at Rajneeshpuram:

‘Wild Wild Country’: A Rajneeshee Cult Insider on the Horrors the Netflix Series Left Out

From the article:
Barely touched upon in the documentary is the underlying story of how easily spiritual goals can be perverted when people suspend their critical judgment and turn a blind eye to signs of corruption and escalating totalitarianism, which I explored at length in my book The Promise of Paradise: A Woman’s Intimate Story of the Perils of Life with Rajneesh. Oddly enough, the only Rajneesh followers interviewed on camera were those convicted of crimes or official apologists for the community’s repeated circumventing of federal and state law: Sheela (Bhagwan’s secretary), her co-conspirator, second husband, ranch lawyer, and a P.R. spokeswoman.
Here in the article, she discusses rewriting Osho's early books:
While I was running the foreign publishing department and writing books about Bhagwan and the ashram, Sheela moved from job to job, finally becoming Laxmi’s secretary. What she really wanted, though, was Laxmi’s job. Sheela and I began traveling to the States periodically, either alone or together, to do “Bhagwan’s work” there. She mostly went on shopping sprees, while I’d spend time with my kids, meet with publishers to discuss getting Bhagwan’s books published in the States, and arrange for U.S. book distributors to distribute his ashram-published books. Harper & Row wasn’t interested in publishing Bhagwan’s books, but wanted me to write a book on meditation for them. (They knew I was a poet and speechwriter for Shirley Chisholm.)

When I returned to India and told Bhagwan this, he said not to write anything for Harper & Row but, instead, to rewrite his early books in a form they’d publish. These books had multiple fonts on every page and were repetitive and contradictory, often making no sense. In order to make them suitable for publication in the West, I took concepts from various talks of Bhagwan’s, interwove them, then rewrote the material to such an extent that I virtually ghostwrote the books. I wrote substantial portions of each book—entire chapters, sections describing meditation techniques, appendixes—but was familiar enough with Bhagwan’s speaking style to make it “sound” like him. It was through these books that most people in the West learned about Bhagwan and his teachings. I still hear words I’d written myself being quoted as Bhagwan’s words. (Rajneesh Foundation International now publishes these books—with my name removed!) My own books about Bhagwan were soon being published by major publishing companies worldwide as well, drawing people to the ashram.
A little while later in the article she also mentions the following about her books and her writing:
Once Sheela replaced Laxmi as Bhagwan’s secretary, she took my books off the market—I’d donated the rights to the Rajneesh Foundation—and had my unpublished manuscripts destroyed. At the Oregon ranch, I was placed in jobs that kept me secluded from the press and public: effectively silenced. I was also on the “Shit List” of people to be spied on, provoked and humiliated by Sheela’s underlings, the ruling class at the ranch. And yet, despite all this, I stayed.

In part, it was because Kirti, the man to whom I’ve now been happily married for over three decades, wasn’t ready to leave yet. When we finally did, we snuck out in the middle of the night, afraid for our lives. I doubt I’d have been allowed to leave. I was kept there, hidden from public view, because my book gave me ready access to the press and Sheela was afraid of what I’d say. When Grove Press, one of my publishers, asked me to write a book about the ranch, my notebooks were confiscated, and I was told I “couldn’t even write a cookbook.”
 

thorbiorn

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
An interesting article written by Satya Franklin who was a close friend of Osho and Sheela and lived at Rajneeshpuram:

‘Wild Wild Country’: A Rajneeshee Cult Insider on the Horrors the Netflix Series Left Out

From the article:
[...]
Here in the article, she discusses rewriting Osho's early books:

[...]
A little while later in the article she also mentions the following about her books and her writing:
[...]
It seems we are getting a picture. Some people tried to manipulate situations for their benefit. It brings up something that I heard, but do not have the exact source for. In short, it is said that in some of the later books of Osho that there were passages in some of the later books suggesting to people they should go an find another master when he died. Well after he died these books were not reprinted. Reflecting on this outcome, one could of course question the term master, with all its connotation. But suppose one downgrades Rajneesh to a university professor of philosophy, which he actually used to be, then it would be like Rajneesh saying: Don't get caught up with the institute I teach at, with the university you are enrolled in now, or with people who will claim to be experts in what I am teaching now. Go find yourself another university with a good professor. I can of course be wrong in this interpretation, but based on what I heard that is what I get. Besides, having read a few pages of the biography and the childhood of Rajneesh which has several incidents where he seriously challenges established religion, such an interpretation would fit.
 

seek10

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
An interesting article written by Satya Franklin who was a close friend of Osho and Sheela and lived at Rajneeshpuram:
‘Wild Wild Country’: A Rajneeshee Cult Insider on the Horrors the Netflix Series Left Out
I watched 4 episodes of the 'Wild Wild County' while doing some chores. I thought it was well made. It looked Sheela was not showing external consideration and simply harassing the outsiders out of insecurity, arrogance and revenge. But reading the above article, it becomes very clear that she is a perfect Psychopath from the start and so does Rajneesh. there is another article on the same website on similar lines

_‘Wild Wild Country’: Most Shocking Reveals From the Sex Cult’s FBI Informant

Considering the above articles, I have to say 'Wild Wild County' considerably softened the crimes of Rajneesh, Sheela & Co and made it a more of "Make up your own mind" narrative. The makers gave lot of air time to their apologistic narration as their conviction, when in fact it's all a big lie.
 
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