This was published in the (UK) Daily Mail yesterday!
Quite Amusing really!
(This text below is extracted from a longer more scurrilous article there)
- Last week Anand Arun gave a talk on ‘mindfulness in an era of the 24-hour news cycle’
- Around 50 staff attended the talk at BBC’s London HQ New Broadcasting House
BBC staff have complained after a religious guru who follows a highly controversial Indian mystic gave them a talk about meditation.
Mr Arun is a swami for a religious order called Osho Tapoban, based on the teachings of Osho.
Anand Arun was invited to the Corporation’s London headquarters New Broadcasting House last Wednesday to give a talk on ‘mindfulness in an era of the 24-hour news cycle’
Photos from the talk on the swami’s Facebook page show him in a room full of staff with their eyes closed and wearing a BBC identity card.
Swami Arun works from an Osho Tapoban meditation camp in the forests of Nepal, whose website states: ‘Swami Anand Arun is a true devout and lover of Osho.
‘His undying love for the master, his simplicity in life and his compassion for everyone are his true gifts that have given birth to beautiful Oasis of Osho around the world.’
The website adds that he met Osho, who also went by the name Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, in 1969 and ‘took initiation’ from him in 1974 before begin ‘instructed’ to return to Nepal to ‘pioneer the Osho movement’.
Jatinder Sidhu, a senior producer on Radio 4’s Today Programme, complained in a letter to the BBC’s in-house magazine Ariel, which is published online.
He wrote: ‘I’m a bit concerned that something called the BBC Faith Forum has invited a man who claims to have been inspired by Osho, aka Swami Rajneesh, to give a “discourse” to BBC staff.
Photos from the talk on the swami’s Facebook page show him addressing a room full of staff wearing a BBC identity card.
‘As an organisation populated by a large number of journalists and (hopefully) critical thinking intellectuals, I’m not sure we should be promoting people who legitimise cults and criminals.’
Another BBC worker, who asked not to be named, said: ‘How they let this guy in is incredible – if he believes the teachings of Osho then he’s not someone the BBC should be inviting to talk to our staff.’
Osho claimed a previous Pope had been gay and said: ‘If the pope is homosexual – and popes are infallible – it creates great suspicion, because Jesus was also hanging out with twelve boys. It may be something coming down from Jesus himself.’
The chair of the BBC’s Faith Forum, Susan Hayman, said the aim of the Forum was to ‘promote greater understanding’ among BBC staff and would never lend its support to Osho
And he said: ‘AIDS is a religious disease. It started in the monasteries where monks were put together and no woman was allowed. It is the ultimate result of homosexuality, it is a by-product of homosexuality.’
The chair of the BBC’s Faith Forum, Susan Hayman, said the aim of the Forum was to ‘promote greater understanding’ among BBC staff and would never lend its support to Osho.
In a reply to Ariel today, she wrote: ‘The BBC Faith Forum is a forum governed by its own constitution and supported by BBC Diversity.
‘The main objective of the Forum is to promote a greater understanding and awareness to BBC staff, in general, of the faiths and related faith groups that make up the audience and source of BBC output and in order to do this we have begun to organise various events to be held from time to time.
‘For the first of these events, the BBC Faith Forum decided to invite Swami Anand Arun, a meditation guru from Nepal.
‘His presentation was well received by the 50 strong audience which was testimony to the interest it generated.’
She added: ‘The BBC Faith Forum has no position regarding Osho or any other religious or spiritual gurus and we would like to clarify that the Forum will not be used in any way to promote any cult, sect or groups so as to hurt deep personal sentiments of BBC staff.
‘We welcome suggestions and constructive comments from all BBC colleagues.’
The BBC said that events organised by the BBC Forums were entirely independent.
A BBC spokesperson said: ‘BBC Faith is one of a number of independently-run staff forums which organise their own events and choose the speakers invited to participate.’