Osho Leela featured in the Guardian

 Communal Living ?

 (extracted from the Uk Guardian newspaper, 3rd February)
Devaraj Sandberg at the Osho Leela centre in Gillingham, Dorset.
Every Wednesday morning, Devaraj Sandberg and the rest of the community at Osho Leela, a spiritual commune in Dorset, gather together for a group meditation session involving shouting, screaming and rounds of hugging.
“It keeps people a bit sane,” says Sandberg, 56, who has called Osho Leela his home for 16 years. “Living in a community with a lot of similar people can cause emotional stuff like disagreements, so the way we get round it is quite therapeutic.”

Sandberg, a therapist, lives with 14 other long-term residents at Osho Leela in Gillingham, which describes itself as a “personal development centre” and was founded in 1996. However, as part of a community experience programme, the site regularly welcomes external guests, with prices starting from £7 a night to share a dormitory.

While short-term dwellers have to pay to stay at Osho Leela, long-term residents don’t have to pay to live there; rather, the core group members take on roles within the community – for instance, Sandberg also works as a maintenance manager – and each receives between £150 to £450 a month from the income Osho Leela makes.

With regular communal meals and weekly meetings, Sandberg says the close-knit community at Osho Leela, UK attracts a certain type of person. “It suits people who want to change, and those who want to be among people,” he adds. “A lot of the people [at Osho Leela] have gone through life, got married and had kids, and are just not happy with life. Then they turn to something like this.”

As research shows that loneliness and social isolation is spreading across the UK, and as rising costs continue to squeeze households, more communities built on a shared ethos and a supportive neighbourly unit are sprouting up. Models vary from living off the grid, such as self-sufficient commune/village Tipi Valley in the heart of Carmarthenshire in Wales, to “cohousing” schemes: a model centred on communities with private homes but where people chip in together to pay. Meanwhile, a number of housing cooperatives have been set up across the UK, where a group of like-minded people come together to buy a property – something they would never be able to do individually. Guardian Money has previously featured the Drive Housing Cooperative, an 11-bedroom “intentional community” based in a former children’s home in Walthamstow, north-east London, which celebrated its sixth birthday last summer.“The number of people interested in communal living has slowly grown,” says Chris Coates, an editor at Diggers & Dreamers, a website offering information about alternative living. “There’s a much wider definition of what communal living entails these days, and a wider range of people who are doing it than there were in the 1970s.”

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43 Responses to Osho Leela featured in the Guardian

  1. shantam prem says:

    One should appreciate Cosmic voice speaking through Osho when he planted the seeds of commune.

    Matter of the fact is it was tailor-made for the West where loneliness is epidemic, families are declining and are replaced by the Muslim. Hindu, Sikh families.

    It is tragic those who could have got benefits and shelter dug the roots of masterly concept. In a demographic way, sannyasins of Poona 1 time are the most lonely people in the West.

    • swamishanti says:

      This website is very pro-Resort .
      It reccomends the midweek meditation but does not seem very favourable towards Osho Leela:

      https://www.osho-meditation-bristol.co.uk/newcomers-osho-overview/

      • sw. veet (francesco) says:

        I did not visit Osho Leela, but I lived in Osho Gautama and in the mother-house in Holland, better to call it father-house.

        Thank you, Swamishanti, I think it’s pretty balanced what I read on the website, there’s only one pro-Resort consideration, this one: “Seriously consider a visit to the Meditation Resort in Pune. It had been created in detail according to Osho’s instructions as an environment to support meditation and is a very beautiful place”.

        The opposing, anti-Resort faction in the Court would easily contest this claim with the argument that more than the exterior architecture of the place what supports meditation is the inner one of who manages the Resort.

        Then it is also written something that can not be contested by both warring factions before the Judge:
        “And remember that the core of Osho’s work is Osho, His methods and His expression. You need to connect with that directly”.

        I love Osho Miasto, well described here:
        “They have the combination of therapy, tantra and inner silence which to me is characteristic of Osho’s work”.

        Here I had a couple of déjà vus:
        “Unfortunately Leela also run workshops eg the Festival of Conscious Sexuality, by a grab-bag of all sorts of random therapists who have zero understanding or sympathy for Osho. This is contrary to Osho’s specific wishes for Osho meditation centres. While these may be of value in themselves, this dilutes the Osho vibe of the place and presents a profoundly confused and misleading impression of Osho. In addition, there is a strong emphasis on the psychological therapy of a Holland-based sannyasin therapist called Veeresh whose methods are extremely ‘yang’. The world of Osho contains many other very different expressions, including some which are delicate expressions from the innermost mysteries of the female essence. It is central to Osho’s vision to include and transcend the polarity of the male and female, indeed that exactly is where Osho says godliness is found. It is unfortunate that Leela presents such a one-sidedly male, psychological impression of Osho. It is deeply unfortunate that they have made a decision to no longer watch or listen to Osho except on rare occasions”.

        • satyadeva says:

          “They have the combination of therapy, tantra and inner silence which to me is characteristic of Osho’s work.”

          What’s “tantra”, Veet?

          • sw. veet (francesco) says:

            SD, curious child…
            In my case, discovering that heart and penis can pulsate together.
            http://primaltantra.com/

            • satyadeva says:

              Interesting that they don’t publish the cost of their courses. Perhaps they’re free?!

              • sw. veet (francesco) says:

                I think the cost depends on the place where the groups happen; if you do it in London I think it costs a bit more.

                But I understand how the mind is very creative in defending its comfortable zone.

                However, in Miasto if you want to stay by yourself no one interferes.

                P.S:
                You know how to post an mp3 file (me play-singing ‘All By Myself’)?

                • satyadeva says:

                  You make too many assumptions, Veet.

                  If you’ve experienced their work why not inform us how much it cost?That, after all, is key information, however attractive the publicity might be.

                  Cheaper abroad? But offset by travel expenses?

                  No idea at all re your mp3 query.

              • sw. veet (francesco) says:

                “Interesting that they don’t publish the cost of their courses. Perhaps they’re free?!”

                By this I only assumed that you, SD, did not want me to take seriously what you wrote, that you were naively surprised or even scandalized (?!).

                But I suppose this only because you write using a sannyasin name, here, among the lovers of Osho, the Master of Masters; think about this: “you need 7 Sai Babas to make a Bhagwan”…then assuming that you can be a sannyasin that talks to other sannyasins I prefer to think you’re playing, and so I play with you.

                Seriously, if you are really interested in the free Tantra group I have a sannyasin friend who in Germany organises something similar in a swinging club called ‘Fuck the Resort’.

                • satyadeva says:

                  Instead of rambling on with self-justifying irrelevancies, how about simply answering my query, Veet, or saying you don’t know because you’ve never done any of these groups that you provided a link for?

              • sw. veet (francesco) says:

                I have already told you about my experience of Tantra, but you are free not to believe me, after all I could not give you a tantric demonstration of what I say.

                So, you would be a sannyasin who has never made any group of Osho, not knowing that the therapist does not decide the price of a group all by himself on his website but with the meditation centre (not just OMC) that host it.

                Then I can only assume about the reasons you never have anything positive to share about your sannyas, apart from shitting doubts about what others say.

                Do not play this game with me and save your money, with my time.

                If you insist on your rhetorical questions in the future I will be forced to ignore your further questions, especially as you continue to remove the “Reply” option below your comments.

                • satyadeva says:

                  All this ridiculous, self-important huffing-and-puffing because you won’t tell me how much it cost you to do one of the groups you advertised here, or don’t want to say you haven’t actually done one of them! Preferring instead to launch a thoroughly bogus attack, irrelevant to the point.

                  Not exactly a shining example of the value of therapy…

                  Btw, re “you continue to remove the “Reply” option below your comments” – pure imagination on your part.

                • satyadeva says:

                  So, Veet, two simple questions:
                  Have you actually done at least one of the groups you advertised here (via a link) recently?
                  If so, how much did it cost?

    • Parmartha says:

      Many people in the past ‘tried’ communal living of one form or another, or multiple forms, as I did.

      The Osho Leela commune I have never visited, so for me only those who have actually been there and experienced life there should comment. I have heard some very good, and some poor reports.

      The best that might be said for commune life is that it is a ‘stage’ that seekers may, even should, go through, but the final journey is of the alone to the alone…

      The taste of the latter one definitely does not get from Shantam’s posts. He seems to ‘miss’ commune life, and a particular commune at a particular time…and seems unable to cognise that will never be possible to recreate.

      • shantam prem says:

        Parmartha, my moaning and nagging about Osho Commune is much more complex and based on very solid reasons rather than my own personal needs.

        No one can take such constant public stand like me just for one or two persons’ need and expectations.

        Maybe I will explain that, point by point.

      • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

        We’ re all social animals, Parmartha, and even if we live alone
        after having lived through one or the other settings of communal living or building a small family by marriage or whatsoever, we stay social animals, even then, when we are apparently totally isolated (for whatsoever other reason).

        ‘Guardian’ journalists have been checking out the one or other models of dealing with togetherness and I guess that came by the article you posted in SN/UK.

        I found another one about the new Ministry which came into UK politics this very year. Her Majesty The Queen is said to have commented: ” Well, now they have a ministry….” (for loneliness issues and their heavy impact on and in society).

        I´d like to add a quote from another ‘Guardian’ article on the topic of discussion here, as I admit I´ve been a bit jealous that you British citizens presumably (?) can try finding other ways (?) to deal with some fatal after-effects of the immense progress re technical and scientific developments:
        That short review of the Sannyas UK Centre by journalists is a nice side-effect of growing social and political awareness in UK and may be helping or supporting those who maintain an ‘Invitation’.

        The Guardian, Jan 23, 2018:

        “Neither is it (´loneliness´) an end-of-life condition. Rather it is an indiscriminate disease that has become an epidemic. There are some obvious pathogens: the deconstruction of community, the conversion of citizen into consumer, the politics of envy. We are no longer “bowling together” and family life has been unravelling for some time now.

        Since the 1980s we’ve been gaining comfort from consumer materialism and convenience in exchange for our identity. The public square has become privatised and we have lived individual, unconnected lives behind locked doors in gated estates, as we gorge on delivered groceries, box sets and now Just Eat takeaways. We have been slowly losing touch with each other and with reality.

        The latest strain is a digital virus, detectable only to the analogue eye of our pre-electronic generation. It is demolishing real sociability and replacing it with virtual reality. A techie elite has hijacked the narrative, causing a quantum shift in human interaction. This threatens the human genius of community which has been the primary driver in the species’ journey from family to gang to clan to tribe to nation to federation.

        Loneliness is a cultural construct, a lifestyle issue. It is the child of a very male marriage between social illiteracy and the neoliberal paradigm. Making Tracey Crouch minister for loneliness offers a political statement of serious intent to restore the child to health. Being up against powerful vested interests, she is going to need all the friends she can muster.”

        Madhu

  2. Kavita says:

    Humans are social animals, as the saying goes; probably birds of a feather flock together in the long run!

  3. frank says:

    These guys are pretty 21st century and down with irony, apparently
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAR9FqxU5UY

  4. swamishanti says:

    I heard that they were told to stop using the name ‘Osho Leela’ and for a while called themselves ‘Leela’.
    I wonder how they got the ‘Osho’ back.

    • Parmartha says:

      Shanti,
      They were definitely told to drop the ‘Osho’ in their name at one point. It may be they just ignored the powers-that-be. Or when these various legal trade mark edicts re the name Osho were pronounced in Europe they readopted?

      Let’s hope someone either from Leela or someone who visits there a lot joins in the conversation.

      All I know is reports from friends who do visit and say they find the presence of “Osho” there. If so, then using the name feels real enough.

  5. sannyasnews says:

    Forming a commune, and keeping it somehow together for many, many years, and sometimes reaching the TV (with Frank Skinner a while back) and in the Guardian last Saturday can’t be bad.

    It ain’t easy keeping a commune spirit together over many years, and still managing to live well, and make a living from ‘the world’.

  6. shantam prem says:

    As I know, people from Osho Leela got their grounding inspiration from Veeresh of Humanversity.

    In Freiburg, one gentleman, an old days swami and “enlightened/semi enlightened”, Bhaskar, is running a community for last 3 decades. Due to unforeseen circumstances created by love towards a German lady, I was part of this community for three months in 1991.

    It is really a miracle how they have faced lack of money and still survived with determination.

    Every talk of Bhaskar is recorded and videographed, core team of his 6-7 people have tried all possible means to promote him but rarely more than 20 people have ever participated in the live atmosphere.

    I think if numbers are important, Bhaskar has already scored more spiritual talks minutes than Osho. Difference is, Osho minutes are like Test Match runs whereas others are playing in the high school grounds.

    http://www.uma-akademie.de/

  7. Lokesh says:

    Visited Leela way back. Was fun. Nice place.
    Did my share of communal living. Today it does not interest me. I enjoy my privacy.

    • shantam prem says:

      It is commonly repeated in spiritual circles of high school drop-outs, “When you cross the bridge break it.”

      If we express the original feeling connected with such sentences in a more aesthetic way, it can be said, “Before you cross the bridge, make it a bit more beautiful, look with gratitude, and once you cross, don´t look back.”

    • kusum says:

      When somebody is lost in the life & lonely & there is nobody to turn to one can always join an Ashram (there are lots, particularly in India) or communes (even hippie communes, farm communes etc.) where like-minded people can be instant friends & can be substitute for social life.

      • kusum says:

        But sometimes among lots of people one can feel lonely too. Only one good companion, that’s all one needs, or one is happy with one’s own company.

        Peace & quiet are very important as time goes by…choice is always good. Sometimes with people & sometimes alone…life can be wonderful…Joint families are like communes…neighbours are part of communes…shopkeepers are part of communes…love is everywhere….

      • shantam prem says:

        Kusum the wise man, do you think Osho attracted lonely children of his many, many lives? Do you think it was daddy paying his debt to thousands of his children he renounced in the series of lives?

        Many times you sound Indian lady who has become wiser by smelling pounds at M&S!

        • satyadeva says:

          Kusum’s a youngish woman, I’ve always thought. Or at least, that’s the persona presented here.

          For a while I’ve suspected ‘her’ posts must be a spoof. As Hurree Singh* would have said, “Their utter banality is terrific!”

          (*Hurree Singh, a schoolboy in the ‘Billy Bunter’ stories).

          • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

            Would never call an ídentity (him/he´it´? name Kusum) naive, youngish woman who – dear Satyadeva – found the expression of ´brainwashing´ for describing a happening (of torture) quite recently on this very website caravanserai.

            But could imagine on the other hand quite easily a ´Hurree Singh’ said (not only in a fantasy book, btw): “Their utter banality is terrific!”

            Madhu

          • Kusum says:

            Satyadeva, thank you. You certainly have triggered the laughter in me. :)

        • Kavita says:

          We @ SN should understand that the poor creature has no time. In spite of that we are being honoured by THE presence here!

  8. Kavita says:

    Shantam, share, if possible, with us what was/about your experience living in a commune other than the Poona one, without any comparison.

    • shantam prem says:

      Kavita, it is bubbling in me an article, ‘My experience in someone else’s commune other than Osho’ or ‘Encounter with Enlightenment Service Providers’. Curious how words based on experience will take the shape.

      • Kavita says:

        “Encounter with Enlightenment Service Providers” – Shantam, this sounds good!

      • swami anand anubodh says:

        SP,

        I was clicking through the TV news channels, and chanced upon RT featuring a report from Freiburg! Instead of their usual anti-western drone playing, their reporter was interviewing people on the street about their feelings towards the influx of new immigrants, they seemed very accepting, and the town looked like an ok place – even a nice place to stay for a long, long, long, time…

        I thought there may be a chance of seeing you standing behind the reporter, waving, or maybe you were down the sauna giving yourself an eyesight test.

        Reading Kavita’s request, maybe you could write some words (without weird metaphors) about how the town as changed since your decoupling from the ashram. And as you are the Resorts equivalent to RT news, you will have the right to squeeze in a moan or two about them.

        • shantam prem says:

          Anubodh,
          Do you watch Russian propaganda tv for news and views?

          • swami anand anubodh says:

            No, SP, I don’t particularly follow RT, I’m just happy to listen to a different point of view. I find Al Jazeera English is very fair, and always worth a look especially when a big news story breaks.

            I am going to take a stroll around Freiburg on Google street view, I just hope I don’t see you walking naked!

            • shantam prem says:

              You or anyone can come and visit Freiburg and share my council flat. No, you won’t see me naked.

              Check Ruekgrat Sports and Wellness. You may see me sitting around jacuzzi wrapped in orange towel.

              • swami anand anubodh says:

                Thanks, SP, very generous offer, but I would be fearful of coming home passionately anti-Resort.

                I visit a club near Gatwick Airport, you may see me sitting around the jacuzzi wrapped in BA, Virgin and EasyJet air hosties.

                (Sorry, mods, for making things read like sannyasnewsbook).

  9. satchit says:

    “A lot of the people [at Osho Leela] have gone through life, got married and had kids, and are just not happy with life. Then they turn to something like this.”

    And – do they find happiness there ?

  10. Kavita says:

    Shantam, thanks for sharing the link. I preferred his salt ‘n’ pepper look in the video, in the photo above with black hair his aura is like Satya Sai Baba!