THE HILARIOUSLY INCOMPETENT HIT SQUAD ON THE RANCH

SN thought this was a better contribution from Subhuti than hithertoo. This definitely did not come through in the Netflix series, but it is an important ingredient to the history of those times which deserves exposure. And which makes full use of the public confessions of the Sheela group members when testifyng to the FBI, and using that to try and get lighter sentences by accusing others, etc. 

Black Comedy
By Subhuti

Really, one shouldn’t laugh about such things. But, having a slightly warped sense of humour, and having written several plays myself, I can’t help thinking it would make a wonderful black comedy.
The stage for this theatrical drama has already been set by the recent Netflix documentary “Wild Wild Country”, which tells the story of how we built the Ranch in Oregon and the conflict it created with, well, just about everybody, including local ranchers, county officals, state politicians…even with the nation’s leaders in Washington DC.
Watching the Netflix series, I was reminded how, after leaving the Ranch, I tried to find out exactly what had happened.
My snoopy, journalistic nature demanded answers.
The task wasn’t too difficult. A detailed investigation of the American Government’s efforts to deport Osho and shut down our Oregon commune was soon published by author Max Brecher in his book “A Passage to America”.
On the other side of the fence, the deeds done in the name of protecting Osho were available in testimony delivered to the FBI by Ranch residents who’d been involved in illegal activities and who had decided to confess all, in exchange for plea bargains.
Their testimony was made available to the public.
It was reading these confessions that had conjured up visions, in my mind, of theatrical black humour.
Because, even though the scenario was fraught with peril, and the conspirators serious in their intent, it is really a tale of almost comical ineptitude.
So many things went wrong that I started to wonder whether, deep down in their hearts, any of these conspirators wanted to succeed in their criminal endeavors.
First, a little background:
According to testimony given by Ava Avalos, a young Hispanic American who made an immunity agreement with federal prosecutors, trouble began on the Ranch when Sheela, Osho’s secretary, became convinced that the mystic’s personal staff were a danger to his health.
In particular, she targeted his English doctor, Devaraj, and was determined to replace him by another doctor of her choice.
Obligingly, Sheela’s trusted assistant, a nurse called Puja, slipped a large dose of laxative into the poor fellow’s coffee and, once he had been admitted as a patient to the medical centre, continued to add generous doses of laxatives to his meals.
However, even though the doctor was incapacitated, the plan failed. Throughout the mystic’s time on the Oregon Ranch, Osho resisted all attempts by Sheela to replace his personal staff, including his doctor, dentist, caretaker and others.
This was a source of continuous frustration for his secretary, who was never able to crack, or penetrate, this inner circle.
But Sheela’s critics also experienced frustration. In spite of repeated advice from a variety of people – sannyasins and non-sannyasins alike – Osho steadfastly refused to replace Sheela as his secretary.
Meanwhile, outside the Ranch, a range war was starting to heat up. One obstacle was Dan Durow, Wasco County’s planner, who was refusing to grant Ranch construction permits. His office was targeted.
A hit team broken at night, scattered Durow’s files all over the floor, lit a fire and legged it back to the Ranch.
Next day, answering questions from journalists, Durow reported that files pertaining to Rajneeshpuram – the name given to our city – had been kept elsewhere and were undamaged.

Another bizarre scheme to destroy Durow’s office required Rajneesh pilots, flying old, twin-propeller DC3s, to crash a plane into the building, parachuting out at the last moment.
The pilots regarded the scheme not only as ridiculous but most probably suicidal for themselves. They refused.
Around the same time, a wealthy woman who had loaned Sheela a substantial amount of money, began a court action in Portland, Oregon, to get it back. According to Avalos, a hit team was dispatched to her hotel with the intention of “bumping her off”.

But the team was unable to discover her room number, was spotted by hotel security staff and forced to beat a hasty retreat.
The Oregonian newspaper, which had followed the Rajneesh story from the very beginning, announced it was going to publish a 21-part investigative series about Osho, Sheela and the Ranch.
So, a hit team was sent to destroy the newspaper’s computers.
Avalos describes the building of a special machine, nicknamed “Thumper” that allegedly had the power to fry any computer within range.
But there was a problem: the machine was so big and heavy it was almost impossible to transport and conceal.
Instead, a team of female “cleaners”, complete with uniforms and cleaning equipment, was sent into The Oregonian’s office to locate the computers.
But their uniforms were different from the company employees who had the cleaning contract. This was spotted and, once more, a quick retreat was needed.
As the conflict intensified, a bomb-making team began work on the Ranch. Chemicals were purchased, but it soon became apparent that the project posed far more danger to the people trying to make the bombs than any intended target. It was abandoned.
Meanwhile, Osho’s doctor had again been made ill and was admitted to the Ranch’s medical centre, with the intention, this time, of permanently removing him from the scene.
A hit team arrived at the centre, assuming the doctor had been sedated and would therefore be an easy target. When they looked in his room, however, he was wide awake. The plot was postponed.
A county commissioner called Ted Comini, who opposed Ranch development, was also targeted. When the hit team found out that Comini was in hospital in Portland, for an ear operation, they dressed up as nurses and went to his hospital room with the intention of injecting unknown substances into the IV drip, attached to his arm.
There was only one problem: Comini hadn’t been fitted with an IV drip.
The plan was dropped.
Osho’s caretaker, Vivek, was also marked for disposal. Armed with a master key, the hit squad slipped through the fence surrounding Osho’s compound and approach her door in the dead of night…only to find the key didn’t work.
Vivek had prudently changed the lock.

According to Avalos, during this time, Sheela told the team that “Bhagwan was not to know what was going on” and were to lie if questioned by him.

Meanwhile, in a special laboratory known as “the Chinese laundry”, Sheela’s companion, Puja, was cooking up a variety of chemical cocktails intended to “bump people off”. In fact, although some people did become ill through these toxic substances – adrenaline and potassium seemed to be her favourites – nothing ever worked the way it should. Everyone survived.

An attempt to influence the Wasco County elections in November 1984 by lacing local salad bars with salmonella did succeed in making 700 people sick. But this was only a “rehearsal”, held before election day. For some reason, on election day itself, no attempt was made.
Presumably, someone had figured out that making so many people ill would incapacitate favourable voters as well as negative voters..

A scheme to eliminate Charles Turner, US Attorney for Oregon, was elaborately planned but never carried out.
The list of unsuccessful projects goes on, with many twists and turns, getting odder as time passed.
For example, one man who’d been instrumental in bugging a large number of rooms on the Ranch, was more than a little surprised, when using his bathroom one evening, to observe tell-tale signs that someone had placed a listening device in the wall of his room. The bugger had been bugged!
Reading all this testimony made me grateful I’d never been asked to do anything criminal, in the name of protecting Osho and his community.

Fortunately, I was considered far too unreliable. I was even purged from my job on The Rajneesh Times newspaper and sent to drive trucks, which, by the way, I dearly loved.
An old acquaintance of mine, Swami Rajesh, affectionately known on the Ranch as “White Boy”, wrote a fascinating book about his experiences during this time called “The Day We Got Guns”, which was published after he died from emphysema at the age of 61 – he’d always been a heavy smoker.
In his book, Rajesh described his adventures as a spook, working for Sheela, thoroughly enjoying his undercover surveillance work on and off the Ranch.
With raw honesty, he also described the endgame, when his illegal activities were exposed and he faced imprisonment.
But the most touching moments were his conversations with FBI agents and his own family members, when he confessed everything and yet still, through it all, valued his spiritual connection with Osho.
He could not defend what he did in Osho’s name, but never lost that basic link.
At the end of his book, Rajesh described how, three years after the Ranch ended, he visited Pune to see Osho, who’d returned to his old ashram after his World Tour:
“On arriving, I write Osho a letter. I confess that I’d been involved in criminal acts at the ranch, and that I’d betrayed everyone, including myself, by not exposing the corruption I witnessed behind the scenes. I admit that despite my ugly actions, I had a great time.
“Osho writes back, in his divinely detached way, that he’s happy I enjoyed it.”
White Boy’s situation, and my own, reminded me of Alan Watts, a well-known Zen teacher in the 1960s, who once observed that, on the spiritual journey, during the process of losing one’s ego:
“The consequences may not be behaviour along the lines of conventional morality.”
Eloquently said! In other words, one’s own self-identity as a “good person” may go down the tube.
Reading Rajesh’s story and remembering this quote from Watts, I understood why I had been so interested in discovering what had happened.
I’d been trying to squeeze my understanding of events at the Oregon Ranch into the wrong box. I’d been struggling to find an explanation that would satisfy my own ideas about conventional morality.
Only one problem with that: it didn’t work. Not with Osho.

“Who knows why he let it happen?” Rajesh had mused in his book. “You can never second guess a master.”
To me, it was like a koan, which, after leaving the Ranch, I’d bring out and chew on, usually around three o’clock in the morning, when I couldn’t sleep.
It bothered me for several years: a koan that seemed to have no answer but wouldn’t go away.
But I was wrong. This particular koan did have an answer. It came to me in the autumn of 1987, when I returned to Pune and saw Osho after a two-year gap.

I was sitting in Chuang Tzu Auditorium, waiting for him to come out and give his evening discourse.
Osho walked in. Instantly and involuntarily, for the first time in two years, I found myself sinking into a deep state of inner silence and peace.
My mind stopped and meditation began.
Journey’s end? Well, not exactly. Not for this pilgrim. But it was the end of a two-year wrestling match inside my mind.
The koan had been answered, as all koans should, by a taste of No Mind.”

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61 Responses to THE HILARIOUSLY INCOMPETENT HIT SQUAD ON THE RANCH

  1. Parmartha says:

    Here is another small example, but much could be argued from it: Omar Khyaam casino on the Ranch.

    KD (Knapp), the Ranch Mayor under Sheela, says in his testimony to the FBI that Sheela was determined to have a casino and disobeyed the laws, etc., presumably to blacken her with anything he could muster.

    He says she did so without acquiring a licence.
    But he fails to acknowledge (what one cannot believe the governing cabal did not know) that the only places that gambling can take place legally in the US are Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Indian reservations…so there is no conceivable way to get a casino licence outside of those areas.

    Knapp says Sheela then allegedly came up with the idea to have dealers “agree not to keep their winnings and that it would be, in fact, winnings for the house.”

    That makes no sense at all. The dealers never get to keep their winnings in a casino. The winnings and losses are handled by the casino and the dealers get a wage and tips. Ranch dealers may of course have got tips, and it may be that Sheela authorised that they not retain them.

    I am not at all sure that this casino generated much money, though KD claims in his testimony that Sheela used such monies freely for out of accounts initiatives.

    By what I saw, the casino would not have been capable of generating any profit outside the festivals and celebration dates, but Knapp claims, to support his testimony, that “tons of money” was generated from Omar Khyaam.

    To me, the Casino looked like some kind of scam, like the Rolls Royce lotteries where the winner would never actually be expected to drive the car away, but was supposed to give it back to Osho.

    Any serious winners in the casino would not have been allowed to take the money away either…and there are big winners in real casinos, otherwise people would not be going to casinos.

    The way real casinos work, a lot of people lose a little each, a few win a lot, and the casino takes a percentage.

    The casino thing was little more than a ‘Play’ as far as I can see, but Knapp tries to over-blacken Sheela through it, though the FBI would surely have been sceptical of this part of his testimony, as it is clearly flawed.

    Such small examples from the Ranch would have given the Netflix series much more real punch, and a clearer picture, nearer the truth that obtained between the main ‘Actors’, than the one they arrived at.

    • bob says:

      “That makes no sense at all….”

      Well, true enough. But like many other ‘events’ at the Ranch, it was woven into the tapestry of the picture by the artists who designed it. Begs the question of why would they come up with these strategies that would surely make the commune and its people look illegal, criminal, and just plain ridiculous. When the plan was to supposedly build a utopian society based on love and harmony as a model for the world.

      There was a method to their madness, but punters, can you glean what that was? Pull back the veil, and gaze if you will….

      • sw. veet (francesco) says:

        I am happy that you, Bob, have the courage to tear off the veil of the dominant iconoclastic conformism, here dominant, alluding to the essential thing that really matters of that social experiment born around the Master of the Masters.
        You alluded to that, didn’t you?

        • Klaus says:

          I am also wondering whether there should have been some kind of e-wo-man-cipation by the acting and non-acting-people in what was happening on the Ranch.

          Something like:
          “Well, no, I am not going to do that.”

          Instead, it seemed like:
          “Well, if I am not going to do it somebody else will (be chosen).
          So better I do it.”

      • satyadeva says:

        Don’t know about “a method in their madness”, Bob, but Osho said this in a Pune 2 discourse:

        “The first commune was destroyed because of women’s jealousies. They were fighting continuously. The second commune was destroyed because of women’s jealousies. And this is the third commune – and the last, because I am getting tired.

        Once in a while I think perhaps Buddha was right not to allow any women in his commune for twenty years. I am not in favour of him: I am the first who has allowed men and women the same, equal opportunity for enlightenment. But I have burnt my fingers twice, and it has always been the jealousy of the women.”

        (Quoted at Facebook ‘Poona 1′ by Abhiyana Robert Abrahamson)

        It was clear from the docu-series that Sheela was – literally – insanely jealous of any perceived competition for her place as Osho’s (in her terms) ‘chief disciple’ (confusing ‘disciple’ with ‘administrator’) the jealousy not only driven by a lust for power but also a wish to be Osho’s ‘chosen woman’, to all intents and purposes, in her own mind, essentially his ‘lover’.

        Given such all-consuming drives and the pressures of the whole socio-political situation the Ranch found itself in (which she herself contributed to and exacerbated, encouraged by Osho, apparently) it’s hardly surprising that she appeared to have absolutely no insight into her own pathology. (So much for ideas about a movement based on “meditation”, the Master as “meditation” incarnate, eh, Arps, Satchit?).

        • sw. veet (francesco) says:

          I try to make the counterfactual of what you said, Satyadeva, let’s see if it works:
          “If Madhu or Kavita were our Beloved Master, you and I would be competing and we would make war on SN by poisoning each other with fake news.”

          Something does not sound good….

          • satyadeva says:

            Nice try, Veet.

            Except that ““If Madhu or Kavita were our Beloved Master” you wouldn’t see me (or anyone else with a shred of sense) for dust” (Which, of course, is NOT to be taken as personal criticism of either).

        • bob says:

          When I’m talking about “they”, SD, in “a method in their madness”, I don’t mean Sheela and her Gang of Motley Moms. They were simply hired administrators, as Osho was simply a hired guru.

          I mean the people that designed, created and bankrolled the neo-Sannyas movement, and propelled it through five decades of rollercoaster, theme-park infused, midway carnival action.

          These are quiet, conservative and very anonymous business types. They don’t like any attention drawn their way. They don’t get jealous, aren’t confrontational, and you will never see them in glitzy robes and headgear. In fact, you will never even see them at all.

          • satyadeva says:

            Oh, I see, Bob, you mean the ‘spiritual equivalents’ of the Rothschilds dynasty*, or similar? I’ve often wondered whether that was the case…

            Because, as anyone with any sense knows, it’s all orchestrated from ‘behind the scenes’, as it were, all part of a Grand Plan, hatched hundreds (or even thousands?) of years ago, by the Illuminati (or their representatives), and we, as Bob Dylan so correctly sang, are mere ‘pawns in their game’.

            Still, as you say, it’s strange, in a way, that they themselves have never actually been seen…Good to know, though, that some of us really do know what’s really going on, isn’t it?

            *https://youtu.be/GWKeqDiPNts

          • frank says:

            Bob, you ask:
            “But like many other ‘events’ at the Ranch, it was woven into the tapestry of the picture by the artists who designed it. Begs the question of why would they come up with these strategies that would surely make the commune and its people look illegal, criminal and just plain ridiculous. When the plan was to supposedly build a utopian society based on love and harmony as a model for the world.

            There was a method to their madness, but punters, can you glean what that was? Pull back the veil, and gaze if you will….”

            Two scenarios:
            1. The quiet, conservative, anonymous business types are in with the authorities, the Blue Meanies, to conspire to make sure that a project to “bring love and harmony to the world”
            is destroyed and discredited and shown to be impossible, to discourage any such efforts in the future.

            2. That this may be happening is perhaps borne testimony by the earlier quote from a recent review: ” ‘Wild Wild Country’ uses the shock value of its story more to reveal something about the person watching it rather than those who are seen on screen.”

            The absurdity is built in because the plan wasn`t really to have an ideal community to serve as a beacon for the world at all.

            Instead, it was one massive mythical process performance taking place in a liminoid cultural space played out live on the technology of the time, the aim of which was to alter the core symbols through which the world would come to see itself as it happened and in the future.
            (‘Wild Wild Country’ kicks the whole thing off again and this time the audience is getting really huge).

            This was done by taking the core symbols and signifiers of culture and religion and mixing them up in an utterly chaotic fashion to force a crisis in the interrelation of those symbols and their meanings and trigger a mass re-evaluation of them:
            Sex/spirituality/money/religion/gambling/Rolls Royces/homeless people/innocence/crime/the peace that passeth understanding/violence/crazy, dominant women/passive men/church/state/meditation/going insane/insider/outsider/immigrant/native/nakedness/subterfuge/outspokenness/silence/ideal community/fascist state/failure/success/sangha/mafia and many, many more.

            It was important to the artist that as many incongruent things were mixed together as possible, which is why the work defies any rational, sensible explanation. The success or failure of the project was/is mythical not material.

            As an analogy, the Oedipus story is not a `failure` because Oedipus ends up with his eyes gouged out and in a right mess; in fact, that is why it`s powerful.

            Out of that morass, staring at that chaotic profusion of incongruent paint on the canvas, a new set of symbols and meanings appear in the personal and group myth of the audience….

            • Levina says:

              Wow. what a grand play, even to be able to catch it in words! And Who or What have we got to thank for That?

              • Levina says:

                So these quiet, conservative businessmen who supposedly pull the strings, are themselves being pulled by even quieter businessmen, and they get pulled by even quieter, quieter busybody men…ad infinitum, neverending, neverending, nevere….

              • frank says:

                Levina, you ask, “Who or What have we got to thank for That?”

                That`s the $64,000 question that was appropriately posed on a 64,000 acre ranch!

            • bob says:

              Frank says of the Ranch:
              “…it was one massive mythical process performance taking place in a liminoid cultural space played out live on the technology of the time, the aim of which was to alter the core symbols through which the world would come to see itself as it happened and in the future.”

              That’s a mouthful, Frank – but food for some deep thought indeed. Wow. Even learned a new word: “liminoid.” Latin from ‘threshold’, or that twilight space between the past known and future unknown – The Twilight Zone!

              Hmmm…”core symbols,” “incongruent paint,” “personal and group myth.” Very, very interesting….

        • swamishanti says:

          I’m sure that Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the modern Krishna Consciousness movement, would have agreed with Buddha on that one, SD.

          He would never have put women in positions of power as he felt that they should be subordinate to men, as according to him they have smaller brains and are not suitable for the same type of work.

          Also, I think he may have been quite sympathetic to the scheme to bus in loads of homeless people and blacks to vote in the local elections. And I’m sure, unlike Sheela he would have soon sent the black guys to work.

          He was a strong believer in the Vedic caste system and believed that those of lighter skin tone were superior to those with a darker tone. When he saw blacks in America he compared them to lower caste Indians.

          He expressed sympathy for Adolf Hitler and agreed with his ideas that the Aryans were the master race.

          It may be surprising, but ‘Mein Kampf’ is apparently a widely read book in India, and if you look at the pictures of the Hindu goddesses they are always white.

          So Indians (especially North Indians) consider paler skin to be superior to darker skin.

          That is why is was so easy for the British to move in and take over.

      • satyadeva says:

        Another from Poona 1 Facebook:

        Prem Anupama:
        “Someone told me Osho predicted there would be 3 communes. I cannot find the quote, however. Paraphrasing what I heard, “In the first commune we would learn about sex and violence. In the second commune we would learn about power and the misuse of power. In the third commune we would learn about death and transformation.”

        Wonder whether all these were in fact predictions. Sounds as if the comments about Pune 1 and 2 were summaries of what had been in Pune 1 and 2.

        Perhaps someone might recall when he said this?

        • bob says:

          I can’t recall Osho having said that threesome of prophecies – I would like to see the quote. Sounds to me like something some sannyasin would come up with to encapsulate their own cliche perceptions, retrospectively, of what happened in the three phases, and then attribute it to their “omniscient master.”

          Standard stuff in religion-making, like, “Someone told me that our Master Paloonka said that there would be great rains in July (which there were), drying- =up times in August (dry-up it did), and many outdoor Flash-mobs in September (hey, there were, right?).

          Yaaaaawn.

  2. simond says:

    I appreciate that I’m a bit of an outsider to the the events of the Ranch as I never had an interest in visiting. Perhaps as a result it’s a difficult for me to understand the interest SN has in events that happened many years ago.

    I was a sannyasin, as I’ve indicated before, and Osho had a massive influence on my thinking and many of the therapists working with him, helped me enormously. I always felt respectful and humbled by Osho, but I’m at a loss to understand why events that happened so long ago are still of interest to anyone.

    I’ve always found social and political history fascinating, and some biographies and autobiographies where people explore their progress, their difficulties, questions and solutions are often really helpful.

    But the ongoing inquests about the Ranch, and the never-ending speculation about Osho’s thinking and the behaviour of the leaders never seems to arrive at any new understanding.
    What is the point of the historical speculation? Haven’t we already learned that communes of all kinds have always failed? Haven’t we already observed that all religious, spiritual, political and social cults fail?

    The 1980s were a long time ago, and surely if Osho was alive today, his approach would be vastly different. Things change. Ideas move on, people grow. Osho would have done the same. Surely it’s better to let the speculation and the search for resolution about the past go?

    • sw. veet (francesco) says:

      “What is the point of the historical speculation? Have not we already seen that all religious, spiritual, political and social cults fail? ”

      Are you sure that yours, Simond, is not a questionable historical speculation? For me, this story is precious, as well as fun, talking about events happening around a Master whose flame continues to warm the hearts of many of us and those born after his departure.

      There are Osho communes born 40 years ago that still thrive.

      I would not call it failure to leave a place after being enriched by it. And I would not call a successful life that one between workplace and home, always in trouble to pay the bills, allowing a little relief with the coloors and artificial foods of a shopping centre.

      Of course, the world is in a hurry and today Osho would have problems recognizing it, without the wars and social inequalities of 40 years ago, while everyone today has access to the internet that ensures the equal dignity of their life on Facebook.

      https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/dalit-protests-violence-erupts-in-several-states/article23416662.ece

      • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

        “…while everyone today has access to the internet that ensures the equal dignity of their life on Facebook.” (Veet)

        You can´t really mean the latter, Veet Franceso, or do you really mean it?

        • sw. veet (francesco) says:

          “You can´t really mean the latter, Veet Franceso, or do you really mean it?”

          You can´t really mean the latter, Madhu.

          • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

            Yes, Veet Francesco, I meant questioning such!

            • sw. veet (francesco) says:

              Madhu, I deliberately minimised the negative impact of virtual life on the real one, almost an Understatement.

              • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

                Veet Francesco,
                That you minimise the negative impact of virtual life on the real one – DOES AT ALL MEAN THAT OTHERS WHO TAKE YOU AS A KIND OF `POKEMON` TO CHASE BY VIRTUAL MEANS AND MEASURES…ARE DOING THE SAME (as you do!).

                Be very glad that YOU are so efficient (successful in minimising)!

                Best could be to leave what I had/have to say in your mental waste box, and be happy go lucky…And true, if Miasto is your place to do that, it’s a nice place to relax and have fun (did like your clip too).

                • sw. veet (francesco) says:

                  You understand, Madhu, now, what I mean by impact of virtual reality? By the way I do not know that sannyasin, Sw.Pokemon.

                • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

                  This is what I really meant (before being edited), Veet Francesco:
                  “That you minimise the negative impact of virtual life on the real one DOES NOT AT ALL MEAN THAT OTHERS are doing the same.”

                  Fits with ´men behind the men behind the men, behind etc.´ (see Levina´s good take) which is mentioned as a ´structural jealousy-in action´, which is the topic just now – two days later.

                  Wouldn´t trust the family and systems constellation circus as much as you do, Veet Francesco (and even recommend to others).

                  And I speak from experience here – as we all may be exposed (some sooner, some later) to new forms of piracy (not only data we generate or not only perpetrating data) and on quite a very broad scale.

                  And I also speak from experience here.

                  Madhu

                  P.S:
                  ´Pokemon´ games you could google, btw….

    • Parmartha says:

      Just briefly at this moment, Simond, and thanks for the post. Your statement “never seems to arrive at any new understanding” is mistaken.

      My own understanding grew enormously after reading transcripts of the FBI files when the various personalities were interviewed by them. It is surprising how few commentators have read them. (But I am, as you know, from a family of detectives!).

      My understanding of Osho himself grew after reading Devageet’s book about Osho’s nitrous oxide use on the Ranch.

      My understanding of the cabal on the Ranch and how they worked also grew enormously after reading a book by Rajesh called ‘The Day We Got Guns’.

      For those really interested in commenting at a deeper level then these are compulsory reading, but few commentators seem to have done so, including the makers of the latest documentaries!

      • sw. veet (francesco) says:

        “My own understanding grew enormously after reading transcripts of the FBI files when the various personalities were interviewed by them. It is surprising how few commentators have read them. (But I am, as you know, from a family of detectives!).
        My understanding of Osho himself grew after reading Devageet’s book about Osho’s nitrous oxide use on the Ranch.
        My understanding of the cabal on the Ranch and how they worked also grew enormously after reading a book by Rajesh called ‘The Day We Got Guns’”.

        If you wish, Parmartha, to break the soul thread that binds you to your family’s destiny there is a book by a Mr. Hellinger.

        I’m kidding. It would be useful to have some links with the pdf format of the books and documents that you advise. But I would need just one of your articles where you review them, or the link if you have already done it.

        The list of books I should read is very long. There are a lot of Osho’s books, many of those in favour of him and what he said, and few of those against him; of the latter, the first one on the list is by H. Milne.

        It would be interesting to know if Subhuti has read the books that you recommend, since in your first comment you not only did not recommend it to him but even forgot to make any reference to what he wrote.

        Surely this is a clue; if I were a detective I would also know about what.

        • Lokesh says:

          Veet declares, “My understanding of Osho himself grew.”

          I’d be interested to hear what form that growth took. What effect this had upon his life in practical terms. Who Veet thinks Osho actually was and what did he represent. What that understanding actually is. Why Veet would recommend such kind of understanding to another person. Otherwise it is just a statement that perhaps sounds good but means very little.

    • Lokesh says:

      Simond, I think it all just gives sannyasins something to talk about. Most days when I go out and run into sannyasins the current story usually comes up in conversation. I met three sannyasins yesterday:

      Number one could not relate to the Ranch docu because it was so long ago and bears no relevance today. He went to the Ranch.

      Number two, a lawyer, who read all of the FBI court transcripts, finds the whole thing fascinating. He can’t believe that those convicted got off so lightly. He went to the Ranch and did not really enjoy the experience.

      The third thinks the whole thing is a farce and presents an incomplete picture, because nobody appears to know how much Osho was really involved with the whole story. She went to the Ranch and did not like what was going on there at all.

      Me? I enjoyed the docu series. I never went to the Ranch. I was too busy recovering from illness and piecing my life together in the aftermath. I have no regrets about not going to the Ranch. I don’t have a need to think too much about it as I have too many things closer to home to keep busy with.

      If someone wants to discuss these things, fine. If not, that is also fine. It appears to me like a long running soap that I played in during the early episodes. Really, though, it’s history.

      • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

        A very, very balanced contribution of yours (at 9.08 am), Lokesh; it also could be called “squeaky clean” (your own words…I liked some time ago very much).

        Have nice chats wherever about whatsoever, from artist to artist, so to say.

        Madhu

    • satchit says:

      “But the ongoing inquests about the Ranch, and the never-ending speculation about Osho’s thinking and the behaviour of the leaders never seems to arrive at any new understanding.”

      The new understanding is intrinsic.

      Btw, Parmartha: I didn’t find that Devageet’s book was much focused on the nitro. It was more a story of his disciplehood.

  3. Klaus says:

    I read the FBI documents and the interviews and Rajesh’s book and what else. What remains for me is still one question/thought:
    “How the hell could anyone on a path of love and self-recognition start carrying guns?”

    Probably I am being moralistic. As one cannot second-guess an enlightened happening, just as stated in the article.

    Like Subhuti, I am happy that – in this life – I never have been a part of or near “a circle asking criminal acts” from me.

    This song by the Steve Gibbons Band somehow gives something to it:
    ‘Any Road Up’.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kOfe3JQ_Pk
    “…don’t get distracted by a mystery….”

    • madhu dagmar frantzen says:

      Well, Klaus, Subhuti has found his ´Niche´ in being a well-wanted Enneagram trainee on the global market AND is a well-trained British journalist too. That helps, playing cool, you bet!

    • Levina says:

      Maybe, Klaus, the answer is to get distracted by the Mystery…otherwise the forever distractions of guns, right/wrong…Osho, right/wrong…Sheela, right/wrong, Existence, right/wrong…with suffering in the bargain.

      Apparently, Mystery wants to experience Itself through us by way of the utmost dark and utmost light, and all shades in between…whether the little ego likes it or not…my ego certainly doesn’t like all the shades of dark, neither in myself nor in the so-called other, and certainly not in Osho!

      In Sheela and co., yes, I even have a sort of admiration: “How could she? Awful, disgusting, a psychopath – fascinating. Even more fascinating to see that she herself doesn’t see it like that. Apparently, it was all justified to protect the commune and Osho. The fighting attitude I can understand, but attempted murders…thank God they did not succeed…She became the outside enemy she feared and fought. And all for Osho! At least, that’s how she brings it.

      And Osho called her a bitch! Could He not have shown more compassion? After all, he showed her the tricks of the trade of how to deal with politicians. And Sheela being totally identified with her role as the lion protectress lapped it all up – can I blame her? Can Osho blame her? Can I ever blame the shadow that the ego is?

      Was it right for Osho to call her a criminal? Right/wrong, wrong/right, right,…it was wrong, yes, definitely it was wrongly right, sorry, rightly wrong…wrong/right, righiiiiiiiit, wrohhhhhonnng – oh shut up!

      • frank says:

        Or simply…

        “There ain’t no answer.
        There ain’t gonna be any answer.
        There never has been an answer.
        There’s your answer.”

        Gertrude Stein

        • frank says:

          Looking for one could still be a good hobby, like knitting, hiking, cooking etc….

          • Levina says:

            Wrong, Frank, the quest for who we are is the only reason we are here; to distract ourselves we go knitting, cooking, hiking…internetting, blogging, blaming…reacting, projecting and protecting and thinking of a next sentence that somehow doesn’t want to appear….

        • Levina says:

          Right, Frank, only quests lasting eons….

        • bob says:

          That type of simplistic, ‘anti-academic’ spouting was very big in the Parisian expat/artsy social circles of the 1930s. Gertie had some major psychological problems, which she never could solve, or dissolve, apparently.

          The Freudian/dream analysis construct was the big thing back then for these people, but it was a bust, and left them spent and bitter. Then they came up with statements like this: “there ain’t no answer” – at the dead end of their search. Too bad for them. They had their day. Dustbin of history, as far as I can see.

  4. frank says:

    Here`s a line from a review from ‘Esquire’ magazine:
    “‘Wild Wild Country’ uses the shock value of its story more to reveal something about the person watching it rather than those who are seen on screen.”
    Wonder where they got that idea from?
    Still, it works.

    And the docuseries is sending quite a few memes into the culture. Sheela now totally owns the catchphrase “tough titties” (google the phrase and scroll down).
    “I make it a rule not to have sex with my secretary.”
    “She`s a perfect bitch.”
    “And they blended the beavers.”
    Which will all be repeated ad infinitum/nauseam by jokers at water-coolers in colleges and IT offices all over the US and beyond.

    And maybe, “Don’t be worried about the future. Live this moment so totally that the next moment comes out of it golden” too….

    • bob says:

      I wonder what poor schlep Sheela & Co. got to carry out that golden moment of the blending of the beavers? Nasty, man.

    • satyadeva says:

      What? Not even with the influence of one of his friends since childhood, the celebrated Bollywood film actor and popular Indian idol, Salman Khan, recently gleefully put forward at SN by an Ozen follower as a probable major influence for securing this role?

      (Khan, btw, has recently been sentenced to five years in prison for something he’s tried to deny for nearly 20 years, poaching and killing blackbuck, an endangered species. He also has ‘previous’ for killing a homeless man and injuring five others while driving under the influence – although he was eventually cleared, due to “insufficient evidence” – Indianspeak for bribing the Court, I expect, par for the course for the over-privileged in that corrupt country).

    • anandrahul says:

      How hilarious will be that soon after playing the role of a ‘Maverick guru’, the actor gets married in real life. The Maverick guru was against the institution of marriage.

      • satyadeva says:

        Well, Anandrahul, one should beware of a too rigid interpretation of Osho’s preferences. Sure, there were general guidelines, but basically he was for the needs of the individual, rather than ‘set-in-stone’ rules. Which is why the ‘Darshan Diaries’ are perhaps the most interesting and instructive of all his books.

        For example, I recall a darshan I was at where a young American couple asked Bhagwan (as he was then) to “marry” them – which he did most willingly, saying that for him, marriage was “about helping each other grow.”

        Similarly, he spoke publically against Maharishi’s TM, but told me in an early darshan he thought it was perfectly ok for me to continue doing it, no problem at all.

        And then there was this young Austrian chap who practised yoga, which Bhagwan had recently denounced, who reported that the master had in fact encouraged him to continue his practice, as it was “very good for the body”, even recommending he go to B.K.S. Iyengar (who was based in Pune), “the best yogi in India.”

        Also, re your film casting comment, why expect an actor to be the same in his/her actual life as in any role on stage or screen? Are we bothered that someone plays a criminal when they’ve never committed a crime (or vice versa)? Or when they act as a happily married person when they’re single and three times divorced (or vice versa)?

        If the acting is good enough we suspend disbelief and simply enjoy the show, that’s the magic of it all.

  5. anandrahul says:

    Thanks for replying as I consider your post as an addition or bonus to my knowledge of Neo-Sannyas.

    I hope these ‘Darshan Diaries’ recreate the magic.