Author of The Three Dangerous Magi reviews “Wild, Wild Country”

I was at the Ranch in ’84 and ’85, and published a book on Osho in 2010 (‘The Three Dangerous Magi’). And I’ve now watched all 6 episodes of ‘Wild Wild Country’.

The documentary is put together with professional skill and talent. It’s very watchable. The pace is a bit on the quick side, consistent with the reduced attention spans of current audiences. But it avoids any dumbing-down tendencies. The real ‘gem’ of the documentary is the archival footage that the filmmakers were offered to use — hours and hours of it, much if it detailing with startling accuracy what was going on, a kind of time-machine back to the early 1980s.

The major weakness of the documentary — something that has been touched on by others I know who’ve watched it but have no background with Osho — is the lack of groundwork laid out explaining just *why* Osho was such a draw in the first place. This lack of groundwork becomes understandable when you bear in mind that the two filmmakers are very young (32 and 27) and until 2014 they had never heard of Osho. It’s not possible to grasp Osho in a year or two of intense study, so it’s remarkable that they were able to produce a documentary of this caliber at all.

The other problem is that the filmmakers made reference to the ‘two sides’ getting equal airtime in the show (which, arguably, they did). However, there were not ‘two sides’. There was three — the American government, Sheela’s clique, and the Lao Tzu house residents. What the documentary lacked was any real insight shared by the latter group. What would have rounded it all out a bit more would have been some interviews with George Meredith (Devaraj) or Juliet Foreman (Maneesha).

That said, I think it was something of a stroke of genius to give Sheela and Shanti Bhadra the interview time that they did, because it really made for the ‘alchemical conjunction of opposites’ to play out. Always more interesting when you have the contrasts from opposites, as they make each other more vivid just by standing together. The moon shines brightest when opposite from the sun. In that sense, I think this documentary is more effective for sannyasins to watch than it is for newcomers. The latter will be entertained, for sure, but will gain little in understanding Osho. But for sannyasins, the views into Sheela’s mind are revealing and for me at least, filled in some key blanks to the whole story.

For me, the most disturbing moment probably came when listening to Shanti Bhadra talked about her attempted murder of Devaraj, and how she performed this act without empathy and driven by her emotional allegiance to Sheela. And all of this was based on some audio tapes Sheela heard of what she thought was Osho and Devaraj planning some sort of suicide for Osho. You really see that this was where Sheela was breaking down. The woman needed therapy and support but wielded too much power for others to see or act on that.

The other thing that has been pointed out by some reviewers from various print journals and which I think absolutely bears repeating, is just how fixed the major prayers remain in their views, reminding me of Yeats’ famous line, ‘The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.’ I met so many quality sannyasins over the years who were humble, quiet, true representatives of what Osho was supposedly standing for all that time. And yet the loud ones are all that are remembered.

In fact, Yeats’ whole stanza, written in 1919, was strangely foreshadowing of Rajneeshpuram.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

M.T. Mistlberger: (Teertha)   (Author of the Three Dangerous Magi:  published 2010)

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63 Responses to Author of The Three Dangerous Magi reviews “Wild, Wild Country”

  1. sannyasnews says:

    Sannyas News is particularly interested in comments on this string from those who lived on the Ranch at some time, and have seen the movies.

    Mistlberger (Teertha) lived on the Ranch, and has also seen all six of the movies. Other comments, particularly by those who do not identify themselves, will be very carefully considered re value on this string.

    And, by the way, Happy Osho’s Enlightenment day, it is March 21st as we write….

    • Parmartha says:

      I like the review.
      It has some reflection of the independent comments on the previous thread on the subject. It may not be a coincidence that the author, like myself, actually did live on the Ranch and people like us are not represented in the documentaries at all.

      1) “lack of groundwork laid out explaining just *why* Osho was such a draw in the first place.” Clearly a fault.
      2)”there were not ‘two sides’. There was three” Very, very important. The ten or so people who actually lived with Osho in his household are virtually ignored. For example, the guy who Sheela and co. tried to murder, Amrito: why was an interview with him not sought?
      3) “I met so many quality sannyasins over the years who were humble, quiet, true representatives of what Osho was supposedly standing for all that time. And yet the loud ones are all that are remembered.”

      All three points I would echo, and loudly.

      • satchit says:

        “3) I met so many quality sannyasins over the years who were humble, quiet, true representatives of what Osho was supposedly standing for all that time. And yet the loud ones are all that are remembered.”

        If Osho would not have been a loud one, nobody would remember him too.

        Basically, you cannot sell the silent stories. People only buy dramas.

        • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

          You say, Satchit: “If Osho would not have been a loud one, nobody would remember him too.”

          That´s bullshit and not true. He spoke with the mike for His (sometimes very big) audiences over the time and phases and delivered all His Lifetime – one very inconvenient fact after another.

          The “noise” happened by reactions to this; it’s not that He screamed into the mike like quite often some politicians did or do.

          I appreciate that very much – like Kavita – and how M.T. Mistelberger (Teertha) joined the Chat with his lines re the topic (review) and I re-read the SN/UK Chat contribution of 2011, when he presented his book.

          People who just watch the ‘Netflix story’ in series won´t get a real picture; there I agree with Parmartha or some very few others here.

          But other than Parmartha – or maybe you too, Satchit (?) – I´d say there are many more web contributions by really “noisy” people, that do much more harm than this Netflix docu-soap series. Four years’ hard work for these guys to get it together!

          Anyway, nothing can be done about Nothing.
          And what will happen, will happen, I´d say.

          Happy Enlightement Day, to you too, SN/UK and elsewhere.

          With Love,

          Madhu

          • satchit says:

            You misunderstood the line, Madhu.

            I did not mean loud as noisy, but loud as not silent.

            Means, if he would have gone into silence – like on the Ranch – already after his enlightenment, then nobody would remember him.

            • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

              Could very well be, Satchit, that I did misunderstand your lines here, same vice-versa, I would say, as we haven´t met in the flesh, so to say.

              Otherwise and howsoever and about your lines “…if…then nobody would remember Him”, my stance here is rather that my own ´remembering´ plays a much more important role than to add a quote of ´all thumbs-up´, as digital natives nowadays count the importance of an issue or a person linked with that.

              And my trust of the value of good wishes re ´Sammasati”is an arrow targetting an individuel, has ever been like this, I presume.
              That said, I´ve never denied, nor will do so, that I miss a Sangha like anything!
              Not in my hands mif such is happening in a way I could or can or will be able to cope with.
              Just joining that kind of disembodied Chat is more a symptom of much pain around that ´sangha-issue´.

              Some of the utter cynics in SN/UK know that quite well, after my more than four years posting here quite regularly.

              Thanks for reading, Satchit.

              Madhu

      • swamishanti says:

        “The people who know me, who have come into deep inner communion with me, who have experienced me, remain silent.

        It is not new. It is part of a strange human psychology. The positive person is humble; even to say something he feels embarrassed, because he knows that whatever he is going to say is not going to be up to the experience that he had. It is going to fall very short; hence the embarrassment.

        But the negative person has no fear, no embarrassment. He has not experienced anything. And to deny or to lie, or to create a fiction, is sensational. The people who have been writing against me…all the publishers are eager to publish their books – without knowing what they are writing, all kinds of rubbish.

        And a few of my sannyasins who have been with me from the very beginning have written books just to answer those lies and allegations, with facts and figures, with solid arguments.
        The publishers are not willing to publish them. They say there is no sensation in it. Lies have sensation; the truth is non-sensational. And the masses are interested in sensationalism, they are not interested in knowing the truth. Truth is simple and plain.

        But this situation has to be reversed; there is a limit to everything. The positive people have to come out in the light, and tell with emphasis their own experiences and what they understand about me and my relationship to my people. Unless they come out and do it, they are in an indirect way helping the negative people. Because if those negative people are not contradicted, it becomes an argument in their favour – why are they not contradicted?”

        Osho, ‘The New Dawn’

        • bob says:

          Good post, Osho – I liked how you drew the “embarrassment” thing out, for all to see. Keep up the good work.

      • bob says:

        “2)”there were not ‘two sides’. There was three.”
        Very, very important. The ten or so people who actually lived with Osho in his household are virtually ignored. For example, the guy who Sheela and co. tried to murder, Amrito: why was an interview with him not sought?”

        Parmartha, what makes you so sure an interview with Amrito was not sought? Just because you don’t see him in the film? It’s only an assumption on your part. Only the film-m akers(i.e. the artists) who created the product and Amrito can answer that omission accurately.

        As we all know, Amrito & Co. at Osho Resort have a well-documented track record of advancing their own particular agenda – the business of propagating and selling Osho’s talks and meditations, and the Resort business that is hooked to that. Any negative black blotches from the Ranch era have been quietly and effectively erased from their blackboard for the last 30 years.

        On the other side, I think it would be very enlightening (‘scuse the pun) for the creators of the film to tell the world the names of the people they approached to be interviewed and declined.

        As to Mr. Mistlberger’s perception that there were 3, not 2, sides to the story – that is simply another ‘artist’ (journalist Teertha) making a necessary creative package to impinge on his audience’s minds. In reality, there are not only 3 sides, there are infinite sides. Let’s list a few for starters:

        1. Osho

        2. the Osho “household” – Devaraj, Vivek, Devageet, etc…

        3. Sheela and her merry gang.

        4. the financial and business Designers of the Neo-Sannyas movement from Poona 1 times (Sw. Jayanada and people known and unknown).

        5. the ‘professional’ sannyasins…Niren, doctors, lawyers, city planners, public relations types, agriculture pros, movie producers, therapists, group leaders, etc…

        6. the ‘ordinary sannyasins…innocents, meditators, group participants, builders of the utopian commune, worker bees, misfits, spiritual adventurers, dancers, artists, lovers, goofballs, etc…

        7. the Indian pre-Poona 1 crowd that gave Bhagwan his base to be catapulted to the center stage.

        8. the American Homeless bussed crowd.

        9. the Antelope residents.

        10. the various U.S. government agencies and people.

        11. the media people that cut their careers and drew their salaries from the Osho Story.

        12. the anonymous non-sannyasins worldwide who were, and are, attracted to Osho, his ideas, meditations, and world view, but had/have neither a pro or anti “cult” stance.

        And on and on…it never ends…

        Wild Wild Country’s focus was the clash between the Osho Ranch experiment, in all its forms, and the Antelope people/US Gov., in all its forms. A battle. A war. A drama. An opera. Some sensational thing that attracts people’s attention quickly and grips them. That equation hasn’t changed much since the Greek plays of old – narrow it down to 2 opposing forces, extreme emotions, large doses of sex, violence, in-house family tensions and intrigue -advertise, sell tickets and take the money to the bank. And say it’s all for evolution, or the “raising of consciousness”, or doing “God’s work”.

        • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

          Wow, Bob, Oshobob (or vice-versa).
          You´re digging into the right direction (down) in my view, and I very much appreciate that.

          Point is, that if you keep on digging you finally might end up seeing yourself on the list of ´chosen everybody´, and then, what ?

          You may know it already , when my nose for flavours is still functioning.
          Anyway, I really like your ‘take’ at 3:36 pm today, and as it is my sannyas birthday today, as an ever-young elder I´d like to confess that you passed over some extra bitter-sweet, very organic (natural grown) chocolate tips – and I enjoyed the read, I can say, as a change from all these pundit journalists’ competitions and secret services kind of compilations going on.

          Thanks for a change here and for the moment that that happened (to me).

          Grateful,

          Madhu

        • Parmartha says:

          It would be illuminating, Bob, as you say, to find out who was approached by the film-makers, and who refused.

          As a matter of interest, I was not, nor a number of people I know who were on the Ranch!
          In choosing two protagonists from your list, well, okay, that’s the right of any dramatist. But even you, would you not, be worried if that was taken as the entire story?

          • bob says:

            “But even you, would you not, be worried if that was taken as the entire story?”

            Well, I wouldn’t be worried, P., the “entire story” is such a big thing…I don’t think even you would want to know the whole story – it might be too much of a shock for you. But, as the Brits in the movies I watched as a child here in the US would always say, “Press on!”

            This film is seeming to generate a load of interest – major newspapers reviewing it, Netflix is a topline media force online…hey, why don’t you send an email to the guys that made it (looks like it may launch their careers) to make a sequel that fleshes out the missing pieces of the saga…sorta like what they did with ‘The Godfather’ – Parts 1, 2, & 3?

            And they can sit you and Frank and Lokesh and Shantam and all the rest, in chairs, with dramatic dark lighting, and let you tell your untold story…it would be a good cap to your sannyasin careers!

            • Parmartha says:

              I had access to newspapers and radio in the month before Osho left the Ranch. The radio was unusual, but someone had left one in the Tool Shed!
              I knew the National Guard were over the hill. I can say it was a frightening experience. I was deputy manager of the tool dept. and building…somewhere the NG would have thought there were guns. Actually, there were none there, but they might well have thought so!

              However, the calmness of those years with Osho did hang around.
              Yeah, I was a Brit from a military family, in the silence that happens before a battle, so aptly associated by Pyrho with deeper meditation, called ataraxia. … knowing next day you might well be dead or in prison or under occupation…. …

              Some say Osho left deliberately so that never happened. Well, maybe, maybe not. But that was how it happened. They lost interest when Osho and the other seven people they wanted to arrest had fled, or already fled, and we breathed again.

    • sannyasnews says:

      Niren has now commented on the documentaires.
      He doesn’t seem right pleased, given that he was interviewed at length:
      He, who seems to have been somewhat used by the producers of these documentaries, has issued a statement, 20th March:

      “Certainly not the story I would have told. They de-emphasised Sheela’s fascist criminality, didn’t use all the material supported by facts that I gave them where the government admitted that it had no evidence that Osho was involved in any of Sheela’s crimes. US Attorney Charles Turner admitting, “We were using the criminal process to solve what was really a political problem.”

      The real issue was stated in Governor Atiyah’s public admittance that he “wishes the Rajneesh followers would leave Oregon.”

      And in the end, after the Community was destroyed, the Oregon Supreme Court found that the City “did not violate land use laws”, the basic contention of those who opposed the creation of a city from day one. This then led to the residents of Rajneeshpuram becoming involved in the city of Antelope in the first place, the basic cause of the confrontations that followed!”

      • Parmartha says:

        Niren says it is not the story he would have told. Yet he features very largely in the script? But anyway, his statement is welcome.

        It is not the story I would have told either. What was going on at the Ranch around the events covered by the movies occupied about 70 people, and Sheela’s inner circle was about 17 members. It was often said that there were 3,000 sannyasins on the Ranch. Speaking for myself, and many I have spoken to in the intervening years, we knew very little of what was going on.

        Like all totalitarians, Sheela and her immediate entourage had great play and success with fear-dominated secrecy.

    • bob says:

      Stopping here at the SN Check-in Gate as requested:

      I visited the Ranch 3 times:’83, ’84, & ’85, after driving my beat-up Chevy Nova 1,000 miles from 9,000 ft. up in the Colorado Rocky Mountains to get there each time. That pig burned 40 quarts of oil each way, laying behind a white plume of smoke like an F-16 fighter jet on a mission. Ate breakfast at Zorba the Buddha Cafe in Antelope – 2 eggs overeasy, hash browns, toast, orange juice, and coffee. Not too bad really. I was the only customer in the joint. About 5 ordinary worker bee sannyasins and me. I was more ordinary than they were. Well, at least that’s my opinion…

      The first person I see on the county dirt road leading from Antelope to the Ranch below was none other than, yeah, you guessed it…the Main Man, the Bhagdaddy himself – a lead car in front, him in the Roller, and a car behind, I believe – driving fast with clouds of dust swirling up behind them. And I mean fast, real fast. I edged over to the right a bit, trying to be careful not to go over the mountain edge, at the same time trying to zone in on the main attraction of this wild, wild story, the man in the shades behind the wheel, who I had come all this way to see if I could. And I did. And then he passed, and was gone.

      As to the requirement of watching the Netflix documentary series in question, yes I have. I watched the entire 6 1/2 hours the first day it was available – last Friday. I had to go to the dentist, so there was a one hour break, and I took a few 5 minute walks outside to give my eyes a little break from the screen. But the guys that made it, M. Duplass, and the Way Bros., advised that it would be best to watch it all in one go, so I did. No problem.

  2. shantiq says:

    Wrote a review here of the entire documentary:

    Chalk and cheese…Oil and water…

    First of all, this is not about spirituality or the teachings of Osho…it all gets a tangential mention here and there but that is all. What it is about is the ejection of an “alien” way of living from a backward, rural part of a country which prides itself on its freedom of religion. “1st Amendment prohibits Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion.” Ok, so you cannot make law but if anyone tries to bring a new way of worshipping that is not puritanical, body-hating Christianity of a certain hue, the local rednecks will eject your outfit in time.

    The members of Osho’s entourage got so put under pressure from the start that they soon developed a siege mentality leading to unwise choices. But when you see the “Oregonians” depicted here, the specific brand depicted here, especially the legal and Republican folks shown here, you can see why a ‘literally naked, no-holds-barred, psycho-religious outfit had picked the wrong harbour to drop anchor. The depicted “Oregonians” seem the kind of folks who came over, moved West and kept values from the 1600/1700s. adding kerrap as they went along, and getting there by the 1840s…

    The mistake Sheela made was to pick this place. Being Indian, she probably computed that a bunch of Brahmins setting up community in back country ANYWHERE would be fine, welcome even. Bad guess. The folks there saw Indians, any Indian, and started to form circle with the caravans…

    You cannot watch this and whatever you feel about Osho and his teachings fail to see that the guys were harassed from day dot…leading to persecution and finally ejection. They were, I repeat, not blameless, but still not cool. Cannot either fail to see that Wasco and Waco are only one letter apart…At the end of the expose you feel for a moment that it could have ended one and the same…

    On this planet Earth of ours there are many people who should never blend as they live in parallel universes. This brand of Oregonians and Osho’s folks are two such groups. It is a sad tale beautifully and FAIRLY recounted it must be said. I really came away admiring Sheela and Niren; fine folks to me, and when people get old you can see in their bearing, their face, their eyes, how they lived. Those two look good unlike the legal reptiles on the other side of the equation.

    A must-see; and like countless US movies it reminds one should not interfere with back-country folks. Sheela never saw that and that was her most dire mistake. Deep inside Brazil or Argentina they might have fared better, maybe…or India (yes, I know they ran from there first) as indeed the Poona commune is still thriving in 2018. Chalk and cheese…Oil and water – take your pick.

    • Parmartha says:

      Did you ever live on the Ranch, Shantiq? Maybe not.

    • sannyasnews says:

      It is widely reported by various commentators that Sheela was chosen by Osho because she had experience of America. This is quite possible, she says she herself was offered the job, as it were, by him. Of course, she lied about many things so one cannot be sure, and she may well have overemphasised her knowledge of USA and its ways. (She had lived there as a student or some such for about two years- and worked as a waitress?).

      We do notice that when leading Americans like Hasya and John and others turned up on the Ranch (around 1983) Osho, or someone in his name, gave them a lot of licence, and they had their own townhouse, and were not under Sheela’s work schedules. It may well have been by that time Osho, and also they as disciples. realised someone who was in charge had very little understanding of America and its ways…

      Osho may well have been aware of his mistake much earlier than is acknowledged by many commentators. Hasya became Osho’s secretary after Sheela chose to leave.

  3. Kavita says:

    SN, thanks for putting up this piece here. It does deserve to be the main thread, as there is a lot of clarity of expression in it, which the others, including myself, probably saw but were not able to put into words.

    Wondering if all therapists use therapy as their last device/resort!

    Somehow I think & feel it’s much easier to analyse later. Guess clarity will be of use only if we choose not to repeat the same mistake again; also guess we don’t consider it a mistake when we are doing a certain thing. Guess clarity is also existential!

    Only we humans have the privilege to talk & discuss happenings!

    • bob says:

      A blunter way of putting your thoughts, Kavita, would be this…

      When sannyasins get old, they can’t do Dynamic Meditation anymore, work 16 hour days building a Utopian City in the desert, drain their and their family and friends’ money for international travel, stand up to the public mockery of them wearing red and a mala every day, have any kind of sex, or dance in the streets even.

      They are reduced to thoughtfully re-evaluating the past, seeking out anyone who will to listen to the wild and wonderful stories of their youth, when they were so bold, so loving, so courageous.

      If you can’t pass the popcorn and a beer, would you please beam me up, Scottie….

      • Kavita says:

        Bob, your blunter version is still not blunt enough!

        Blunt would be when sannyasins get old they seek ways to show how much they had to go through and still no one has any gratitude for the tireless effort they put in and they still continue, with the same zeal, to guide the new & old infinite seekers!

        Btw, congratulations Osho Bob/Bob, you did relaunch your sannyasin career with all your recent posts here on SN!

        Now pass me the chai and samosa, Shantam!

        • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

          India, for sure, Kavita, shows sometimes up (also in this Chat) with a playful quality, one can perceive as an Art of Being; sometimes also crossing borderlines of inter-relatedness one could, if one wants to, perceive as what one calls a ´left hand shaktipat´ (with wrinkle of smiles at the edge of the eyes…or a yawning of an elegant cat, to put it more profanely).

          Enjoy your chai and samosa, Kavita and have a beautiful day/evening.

          Thanks for your latest contribution(s).

          Madhu

        • bob says:

          “…you did relaunch your sannyasin career with all your recent posts here on SN!”

          “Sannyasin career”?! Kavita, you got the wrong man, for sure! I’m innocent.

  4. sannyasnews says:

    Someone sent us this:
    I Covered The Rajneesh Cult. Here’s What ‘Wild Wild Country’ Leaves Out. | Thefoolishblog.com | (IP: 185.224.137.194, 185.224.137.194)
    URL: http://thefoolishblog.com/i-covered-the-rajneesh-cult-heres-what-wild-wild-country-leaves-out/

  5. sannyasnews says:

    We received this from Osho International: newsletter@osho.com
    Six-Part Video Series in response to ‘Wild, Wild Country’.
    Osho speaking in Rajneeshpuram, Oregon.
    You can get a link to the videos through emailing the newsletter.

    Today, we launch a six-part video series titled ‘OSHO: Priests & Politicians – The Mafia of the Soul’ – linked to the book of the same title by Osho. This is not intended as a rebuttal to the recent Netflix series, ‘Wild, Wild Country’ – which would require a documentary in itself – it is to simply give Osho the space to reach and to touch seekers and viewers directly. In these selected talks Osho speaks directly to the chaos taking place around him at that time and to the human issues – political, religious and spiritual – driving the events of the day.

    Those events in the Oregon high desert were not only controversial for Oregon and the US, they were also shocking and life-changing for his disciples, many of whom came to Oregon to build a utopian city, a better society.

    Anyone who has browsed the internet to search “Osho” cannot escape the mind-boggling list of crimes Sheela and her group committed, leading to the collapse of the commune and Osho’s deportation. Even a six-part documentary is not able to deal with all aspects involved – but after a first view of ‘Wild, Wild Country’ it is clear that important aspects are left out and some essential facts are clearly misrepresented.

    More on the Osho Talks:

    These original talks are each more than two hours long – so we have split them into shorter sections.

    Priests & Politicians – The Mafia of the Soul
    Part 1: Politicians: the successful criminals. 38:23 min
    Part 2: People on a power trip without guts find
    the path of righteousness, morality, and prayer. 34:40 min
    Part 3: The Separation of Church and State. 39:21 min
    Part 4: Our religion is an inquiry into truth. 47:12 min
    Part 5: Love is the centre of the whole universe and we
    have created this small commune on the same
    existential principle. 37:10 min
    Part 6: Happiness attracts happiness.
    Lovingness attracts more love.
    Blissfulness attracts more bliss. 40:34 min

  6. Teertha says:

    The reviewer cited by sannayasnews and Lokesh, in his blog, remarks, “The directors of the series seem afraid to play referee, and viewers pay the price.”

    I couldn’t disagree more. I think the very strength of ‘Wild, Wild Country’ is precisely that the film-makers did *not* play ‘referee’, and instead let the story tell itself.

    Yes, those inclined to side with Osho may regret that more moderate voices, or just plain intelligent sannyasins (unlike the vacuous Shanti Bhadra – she really reminds me of Nancy Reagan) weren’t more represented. But the last thing the documentary needed was some heavy-handed editorialising, either in service of sanitising it by demonising Sheela and her confederates, or in service of demonising Osho and his devotees.

    The two film-makers, young and innocent in regard to the story, simply applied their considerable film-making talent, found enough important players, and let them speak. By so doing; they allow the viewers to come to their own views, or, hopefully, become inspired to understand the phenomenon of Osho and his people more fully in their way.

    One last remark: the literature *about* Osho (as opposed to the vast canon of books credited to him as author) is appallingly lacking in objectivity. The vast majority are written by devotees lacking in the barest of critical thought and discrimination. The rest are mainly written by angry, axe-grinding ex-sannyasins or casual observers who have decided at first glance, not unlike the guy in the cowboy hat in the documentary, that Osho was Satanic.

    My own book, ‘The Three Dangerous Magi’, was one of the very few that attempted a middle of the road objectivity. (But it has been steadfastly ignored by most Osho sites, except for sannyasnews, almost certainly because I dared discuss Osho alongside not just Gurdjieff, but the hugely notorious English occultist Crowley as well).

    To my knowledge, other than my own work, there has been only one other book by another sannyasin that even attempted a semi-objective, middle-of-the-road overview, and that was Sam’s ‘Life of Osho’ (1997). By non-sannyasins, I’m aware of only three quality efforts that sought objectivity, those being James Gordon’s ‘The Golden Guru’ (1987), ‘The Way of the Heart’ (1988) by anthropologists Judith Thompson and Paul Heelas, and ‘Passage to America’ (1993) by Max Brecher.

    But that’s pretty much it. It’s astonishing that objective studies of Osho and his people, apart from the few mentioned, are not yet there. It seems to take a generation or two in time for these studies to appear on the lives of important teachers. For example, Gurdjieff died in 1949 but not counting Ouspensky’s earlier work (which was more about his teaching), it took until 1980 for a really non-partisan work to appear, ‘The Harmonious Circle’ by James Webb, followed in 1991 by ‘Gurdjieff: Anatomy of a Myth’ by James Moore. Both books highly recommended.

    While such works on Osho will doubtless come in the future, we can at least enjoy the fact that the Way brothers, in making ‘Wild, Wild Country’ tried to present the story from a wide angled lens, letting the viewer form their own judgments, instead of shaping it to conform to some shrill and personalised viewpoint.

    • Arpana says:

      “Even an objective truth is going to be coloured by the person who asserts it. Even objectivity cannot be without the subjective; the subjective goes and colours it.
      Even scientific truths are not objective: the man who discovered them has entered into them. There is no possibility of coming to the objective truth, because the knower will almost always colour it. All knowledge is personal. And whenever man says something, because man says it, it is going to be human. And there is no need to be apologetic about it – it is beautiful.”

      Osho.
      ‘The Mustard Seed: My Most Loved Gospel on Jesus’
      Chapter 13

    • satchit says:

      “It’s astonishing that objective studies of Osho and his people, apart from the few mentioned, are not yet there.”

      I doubt that this will happen. You cannot make a study of a teaching that has no fixed system, that is multi-dimensional.
      But certainly you can try and pretend that you have found something, as many studies do.

    • swamishanti says:

      I haven`t read ‘The Three Dangerous Magi’ but I have read ‘Life of Osho’ several times since it first came out some time in the late nineties.

      There are several long-time Indian devotees of Osho who have been running Osho meditation camps and claim a constant inner connection with Osho`s energy, who have written books, including Swami Arun from Nepal, and Swami Chaitanya Bharti: http://www.dhyanleela.com/gurudev.htm, but I have not read Arun`s recent book, nor Chaitanya Bharti`s.

      I have read ‘Tales of Ten Thousand Buddhas’ by Ma Dharm Jyoti, a long-time devotee of Osho.
      And there is also the book by Ma Yoga Laxmi, Osho`s secretary before Sheela, ‘Journey of the Heart’, unpublished when she was alive.

      The thing about devotees is that they don`t have to have a clever mind or use a lot of mental discrimination, the whole journey is of trust and yes to the master. A simple, heart-based approach.

      So it wouldn`t be necessary to have much of a brain to go this way.
      Just a simple yes and surrender.
      It is not an intellectual approach.

      I read Devageet`s book, ‘Osho, the First Buddha in the Dental Chair’, and enjoyed it.

  7. Parmartha says:

    A few people have pointed out about the history of Oregon, and its treatment and the original annihilation policies towards the “Red Indians” who lived there for thousands of years, before the white man came to places like the Ranch.

    This link gives a full and interesting context to that:

    https://www.opb.org/television/programs/oregonexperience/segment/broken-treaties-oregon-native-americans/

    • samarpan says:

      Parmartha, sannyasins were discriminated against in a long line of groups in Oregon’s history. Oregon discriminated against “Red Indians” and Jews and Catholics and Blacks… According to Oregon’s founding constitution, black people were not permitted to live in the state. And that held true until 1926. Even after that. segregation and terrorism at the hands of angry Oregonian racists made it clear that they were not welcome.

      https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/blacks_in_oregon/#.WrQ2UGaZMWo

  8. shantam prem says:

    No society has any obligation to allow foreign beliefs to grow around them. It is simply against evolution and psychology.

    One cannot simply plant mangoes in apple orchids, but yes, in supermarket you can arrange all kinds of fruits near each other. That which grows no more can adjust very well with others.

    • Klaus says:

      Maybe you should schnoogle

      https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/gg/art_4.html

      https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religionsfreiheit_in_Deutschland

      and use a translation programme to see.

      Whether it is “against evolution and psychology” I cannot measure.

    • bob says:

      “No society has any obligation to allow foreign beliefs to grow around them.”

      Very true, Shantam. Very, very true.

      But, the intelligent people of a society do have the obligation to allow outside ideas to be planted in their soil, if those ideas can make for a better, more natural, more harmonious society. As they also have the obligation to defend themselves against ideas that will harm their society from those goals.

      Simple to say, but difficult to do. The intelligent people are those that find ways to do it.

  9. Lokesh says:

    Watched the last episode of ‘Wild Wild Country’ last night. Like any good series I felt sorry it had ended. It left food for thought and, of course, more questions unanswered than answered. Like what happened to those thousands of tapes that were stashed in the basement?

    One impression that stayed with me is the following: Osho’s crazy get-ups fitted for his stage presence. He always enjoyed theatrics and was well aware of the effect good theatrics had on his audience. Away from the dais, those outfits looked absurd. Osho was a small man. Dressed up like a biblical king going into an American court house it all looked a bit tacky.

    I enjoyed to see him in normal clothes. Prison outfit actually made him look great. No hat, better. He was a very intelligent-looking man and I found those glitter outfits made him look like a puppet. His fancy costumes were just another excess that had the opposite effect than what was intended. I suppose his fleet of Rollers also did that. Made me recall the early days, when I sat with Osho on his back porch and he wore a simple white robe that added to his appearance rather than subtracted.

    Sheela knew Osho better than anyone else in the show. She knows a lot more than she will ever give away. Right up to the end I was left with the impression that she is not quite right in the head; how else could she gloss over all the crap she carried out? Apart from living in denial, it can b e attributed to the fact that she is a real survivor. In the Nazi gas chambers, after the Zyklon B was dropped into the room and done its horrifying work on its victims, the camp guards would open the door. It was often the case that there would be a pyramid of corpses. On top of that pile of death there would always be the last one to die, fighting for air.

    Sheela is one such survivor, she’d claw her way to the top just to survive a few seconds longer than the rest. It’s part of human programming and she has it in spades, to survive, no matter what. I don’t condemn or praise her for that.

    Niren was great, a very authentic man. His love of Osho shines through. He also knew Osho relatively well, and it was therefore refreshing to see his positive take on Osho. Of course, the cynics can argue that love is blind. In niren’s case I doubt it. I am sure I would enjoy to meet the man.

    As for the rest, everyone gave themselves away simply by doing and saying what they did. The folks from Antelope were made of the same stuff as the people that live in the north of Scotland, which is one reason I left there 50 years ago. You cannot expect those kind of people to be anything other than they are. To build a commune in such a backwoods area was bound to run into trouble from the onset. There are dozens of other spots in the world where the commune would have stood a better chance of surviving.

    Another thing that struck me as odd was Osho claiming to be completely ignorant of what was going on at the Ranch. Back in the seventies he claimed to know everything that was going on and there was plenty of evidence to support that. He picked up on everything of importance to the point of it being uncanny. Then, a few years later, he claims that the woman he appointed to run the show is doing all manner of shit he knows nothing about.

    Something was not right there. Towards the end, Osho was actually pushing Sheela to ratchet up the provocation. The documentary could have exploited that fact a lot more than it did. The shit hits the fan and Osho pleads ignorant. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between.

    As for the government officials and the cops. Pretty ignorant bunch of jerks, that is obvious. But, like the people in Antelope, there were a few decent folks among them.
    Osho back in Pune. What to say. Very touching to see the man so frail. Now that he is dead, one thing remains unchanged that was the same while he was alive: Osho will forever remain an enigma.

    • shantam prem says:

      Not many people can write that, Lokesh.
      A wise enemy is million times better than foolish friends, and you are a good disciple in my definition book.

    • Parmartha says:

      “I enjoyed to see him in normal clothes. Prison outfit actually made him look great. No hat, better.”
      Just so, Lokesh.
      Thought that precisely and immediately when I saw episode six myself.

      • swamishanti says:

        I also enjoyed watching the part where he was in prison and I would like to be able to watch the whole interview somewhere.

        To me, Osho looks a bit wild, his hair is all messed up, and I see a beauty in that, the same kind of beauty that I see when I see street kids in India, with their wild hair, playing on the pavement.

        • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

          I seem to be the only one (writing) here, Swamishanti, Parmartha, who could very well wait to see Him in plain clothes and without hat (very beautiful looking, true) till the moment he was in Uruguay, then talking with and to a small bunch of Friends, talking more than just the three ´books´ of the Q&As there that we already spoke of in UK/SN, long, long ago.

          In my eyes, Swamishanti, the comparison with ´street kids´ re that issue, street kids in India (or elsewhere) falls very, very short! I´ve been looking into a shocked face of a more than grown-up with my eyes.

          Madhu

    • bob says:

      “Watched the last episode of ‘Wild Wild Country’ last night. Like any good series I felt sorry it had ended.”

      Lokesh, here’s a solution for you…just watch them all again!

      I did it myself…Part 6 last night to complete the series for the 2nd time.
      The 2nd reading of poem, or piece of well written literature (even an SN post!) is saturated with things you didn’t see or hear the first time around. At least it should be, if you’re awake to them.

      To wit…and I’m not mentioning this to brag about it in any way, I can assure you…15-20 years ago I listened to Osho’s discourse series ‘Tao: The Three Treasures – Ialks on Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, 4 Volumes’, on cassette tapes. Maybe 20-25 times – completely, all 4 volumes! While lying in bed – I had to stay awake to flip the cassettes over in my Sony tape player. Every time I heard it again, I heard new things – I actually found it incredible this happened, must be something in the human brain, that something you hear propels you on a journey in your own memory, and by the time you return to listening, minutes have passed, and much has been missed.

      Maybe you were around at that time in Poona One to hear these gems. Lucky you if you were.

      Also, start thinking about the sequel/prequel. You could find a part in it, I’m sure. The Way Bros. could interview you in your Ibiza crib – that would be cool – the wizened old Lokesh, layin’ down the beat, pulling back the bow and letting the arrow fly…I can see it now….

    • bob says:

      “…more questions unanswered than answered. Like what happened to those thousands of tapes that were stashed in the basement?”

      I’ll tell you what happened to those tapes, but it’s just between you and me Lokie, Ok…? Promise not to tell a soul? Ok, then…

      The US Government put them up for sale on ebay.com years ago, all 10,000 of them. They said you had to buy the whole batch, so I did.

      I opened up the 4 big boxes of them when they arrived, with the excited anticipation of a small child unwrapping his Christmas presents. Wowser! I couldn’t believe I had snagged this treasure. The gods were with me, the stars were aligned…man, this was so cool!

      I put the first tape in my Sony player, and pressed the Play button. Heard it running, saw the tape moving, but nothing for the first minute. It was marked “Lao Tzu House–3/16/83″, so I knew it was from Bhagwan’s private residence at the Ranch. Holy shit, I was so excited….5 minutes, nothing at all. 10 minutes, nothing.

      Then I started wondering, did the English swami, Julian, the electronics mastermind of this whole project, rig the tape player to start recording only when they were triggered by someone speaking, or was it on all the time? Cassette tapes were 45 minutes/side, industry standard I knew. Well, whatever…I just kept listening, but nothing on that tape at all. No problem, I thought, Bhagwan is probably just sitting in his chair in silence, a true Zen Buddha.

      Next tape, nothing again. Next one, same thing, nothing. I decided to put in a known good tape from my “Tao: The Three Treasures, talks on Lao Tzu” in the Sony to see if a known good tape played good. It sure did–Bhagwan talking like the master wordsmith that he was!
      Well, back to the wiretap tapes. But each tape was a total blank–did the US Government rip me off here–those bastards, I thought! I opened up the second big box, but it was the same story – paint drying made more noise than these tapes did. Third box and the fourth. Nada. Zilch. Goose egg.

      After fast forwarding hundreds of the tapes, I then soberly realized that the whole thing was a giant HOAX! Sheela and her gang, with Julian’s help had concocted the whole damn thing! Yes, the tapes were real, the set-ups that the FBI found all over the Ranch were real, but the tapes were BLANK! Very, very clever…but why did they do this? Sheela I know had lost a few of her marbles along the road, but why did the FBI go along with it? God only knows, this whole world is going cuckoo, I thought. Lost a little money and time, but wtf, that’s life. Just another nail to help build my box of cynicism that I had been working on for quite some time.

      Tapes all over the floor, exhausted, and a bit depressed, on my fourth beer, I was about to go to bed, when the thought struck me as kind of a closure to the whole fiasco – just put in the last tape from the fourth and last box. It will be a silent ending to a frustrating night – I’ve had enough of this Osho/sannyasin shit.

      Put the tape in, and, yeah, you guessed it…no sounds, except the tape player’s motor running. Walked wearily over to the player to turn it off, when suddenly I heard some sounds on the tape–just some muffled rustling, very quiet. Then– and my heart almost stopped, I swear – it was Bhagwan’s voice. And he started speaking very slowly in the beginning, just like he does in his discourses. And he continued on for about 40 minutes.

      I know you may find this hard to believe, but it was like a Mission Impossible tape. Bhagwan said that whoever found this tape and listened to it was the most fortunate, beloved person on the Earth. He then proceeded to outline the course he wanted his Work to take long after he was gone from his body. He said he would return to his ashram in Poona, eventually leave the body, and have an Inner Circle take over the duties of running the ashram, with his wishes that it would turn into a “meditation resort” (these are his exact words), to further his teachings of “joy and celebration”.

      He then went on to say that at about 30 years after his death(no exact dates said by him), there would be a shift in the direction of the sannyas movement, that “I am going to tell you very briefly here….”

      I still have the tape, Lokesh, but that’s all I am going to tell you here. I have listened to tape many, many times, but, as you can well see, it is Highly Classified Information!! To say the least.

      Anyway,
      Ciao, bro.

      • Arpana says:

        You’ve been watching the ‘Walking Dead’, haven’t you, Negan Bob?

        • bob says:

          No, not at all. Haven’t watched TV since I was about 17. Had to Wiki ‘Walking Dead’ to see what it was. A fiction/fantasy horror TV series. But obviously, you’ve been watching the ‘Walking Dead’, haven’t you, Arpana?

      • Lokesh says:

        Hi Bob, makes me think of an old pal of mine from Ibiza who went to the Ranch. He had to make a call on the Ranch so he used one of the public phones. Phone worked perfectly. Few days later, he had his mala taken from him and he was tossed off the Ranch. His call had been taped and he was making a dope deal. True story.

        My friend won’t mind me telling this because he no longer has a mind. He is 89 and lives in a home with a friend called Dementia. Went to visit him a few weeks back. He was sitting studying an orange and it took him 20 minutes to register that I was there in the room with him. He does not know who I am. We were friends for 40 years.

        Moral of the story? Try not to lose your marbles, because you will need them to play with.

        • bob says:

          Moral of the story, Lok, is:

          When a community has rules and laws, follow them.
          If you break them, and get caught, take the punishment. If you are enforcing the law, do so with clarity, swiftness, humanity and justice.

          The city of Rajneeshpuram was a precariously delicate new city that was fighting in the face of a lot of antagonistic legal forces surrounding them. They had an anti-dope policy, like all cities in American, and the world. Rightly so, I would say.

          For your sannyasin friend to be flagrantly thumbing his nose at this rule, particularly under the circumstances, by making a drug deal from a public city phone, was just plain stupid. I would say he was lucky the Ranch authorities dealt with him so leniently.

      • satchit says:

        Bob, you are a good storyteller. Maybe even better than El Loco.
        Are you also already planning about writing a book?

        • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

          Yes, Satchit, another one of the ´good storytellers´, with or without – or beyond – milk teeth supply (see ´Kavita´s stance of today re this matter..).

          Thing is (for me) to watch when something really gets OFF the wall collectively, as one says…and how to cope with such a situation re real-life issues, when surfing on virtual waves simultaneously.

          The real kids I´m listening to just now in the courtyard are fine and okay; the kids I was watching in a shopping area nearby, an hour ago, were playing, throwing stones.

          The amazing thing was how very quickly one of the small boys took the role of a leader, coaching the three others to throw the stones in one direction and getting the others waiting for his signal to start. They all had no other ideas what to do with stones, like working on house building or whatsoever building. (I found out that, by asking them).

          The little girls, meanwhile, playing becoming ´mothers´ with their Barbie puppets and Baby Barbie Puppets…

          Spring Time-Sun, Blue-blue Sky – and – otherwise, ´Wild , Wild Country´ spotifying reviews,
          everywhere possible, one has just to watch it.

          Madhu

  10. swamishanti says:

    I agree, Lokesh, The Bhagwan did look better without those hats. The suits did become a bit ridiculous at the Ranch. Was Osho telling his designer to deliberately make them look over-the-top?

    I noticed that some of the later designs back in Poona from 1987 onwards became a bit more stylish.

    Below is a picture of the man taken without those sweaty hats, in 1985, must have been taken inside his room or something…

  11. Sagara says:

    Just stumbled in here (story of my life) many thanks, many chuckles, the commentary is everything I could expect, love the pic. Episode 6 next.