Within and Without on the Ranch

Primary wwc 2018 2

Netflix Docuseries “Wild Wild Country” A Review

by Nick Allen

The latest must-binge original offering from Netflix comes in the shape of a six-part documentary series about a small religious movement (or cult, if you prefer) that moved into a small Oregon town in the 1980s. Under the wisdom of their then-silent Indian guru Bhagwan, a large swarm of Rajneeshees (made up seemingly of mostly white westerners, but with all of them dressed in bright red) turned a vacant ranch plot into their own utopia. It was a gobsmacking, full-functioning community that included rows of homes, a massive assembly hall, a pizza parlor, a dam and a private airstrip. But the construction of this self-made paradise proved to be just the beginning, as they clashed with the Oregonians who saw their size and growing influence as a threat, despite arriving in peace: biochemical warfare, assassination attempts, electoral chaos and much more ensued.

Easily one of the craziest documentaries I’ve ever seen, Chapman and Maclain Way’s six-part series “Wild Wild Country” boasts a profound narrative with intricate human beings, an amass of intellectual themes and more twists than you can count. Told chronologically and using 250+ hours of footage and extensive new interviews, it places you into the contrasting experiences of people in this bizarre saga, leaving you to wonder in part how such a story could have been so forgotten by American history. And after the six-plus hours of “Wild Wild Country” flies by, you won’t want an approach to this story any different or shorter than what the Ways do: The Ways know that they have the constructs of a great drama just as much an extremely potent list of discussion topics, and are able to make their presentation of these events the very definition of fascinating entertainment.

“Wild Wild Country” concerns the beginning of life, in the Rajneeshee sense, with an expansive spiritual awakening lead by someone who wants to create what he calls “The New Man.” As we hear from select members of the group, each who had a huge influence on the dramatic events that follow, there’s a nonpareil sense of the harmony, and how it gave Rajneeshees something deeper than family. “We really did feel like we were the chosen people,” one of them says. Throughout, they talk fondly about what Bhagwan’s teaching meant to them, and the purpose it gave them. But in the case of his personal secretary Ma Anand Sheela, who speaks quietly in a dark room as if sharing the most mind-blowing bedtime story ever told, there’s a clear of the power the Rajneeshees had as an enterprise, for good and for evil. In just one of its offerings, “Wild Wild Country” essentially offers the full story of a true civilization, its glorious rise and unbelievable downfall.

Fear of the outsider is certainly one timeless theme within this tale, as exemplified by the unassuming but charismatic people who live in Antelope, Oregon, which was known for its population of 40 people, most of them retirees. The residents who speak on camera talk about the absolute culture shock of the Rajneeshees coming in next door, and it becomes clear that the fear only sparked more defensiveness that turned into aggression on both sides. The images seen in the docuseries’ beginning moments, of swarms of people in red strolling through their quiet Oregon town as if it were a peaceful invasion, are startling enough. But that evolves into more surprising tension, especially when the American legal system gets involved, and tries to find any bureaucratic way possible to shut down the Rajneeshees.

Designated as a “film” in the end credits, “Wild Wild Country” is broken into six parts with excellent cliffhangers leading into the next one, but fear not: it’s a binge-ready epic in which the filmmakers are dedicated to all major plot details; the juicier bits might be more exciting than the bureaucratic stuff, but the pacing of the story never drops out. Curiously, the Ways don’t introduce their subjects a second time as so many documentaries do, but that seems like an artistic statement itself: the people are all very memorable, and become symbols of their respective viewpoints. The talking head interviews add more to the story instead of normalizing the production, and like with the contemporary, excellent songs used to proclaim further storytelling inspiration, “Wild Wild Country” proves to be invigorating historical documentary filmmaking.

The size of “Wild Wild Country” especially pays off as the film explores so many huge and various issues: old vs. young; believers vs. nonbelievers; conservatism vs. free love; fear vs. compassion; the honest potential for perfection when humans are themselves imperfect. These all become more fascinating given the story’s complications between who is right and who is wrong in this story. The Ways never take a stance or simplify the issues.

As one of the Rajneeshees advises about the journey of following Bhagwan (Osho), “the truth lies within.” That might be the largest force within “Wild Wild Country,” the way its logic always goes back to the seed of belief, how a feeling deep in one’s gut can send a person on the wildest of journeys. Watching this documentary becomes a personal experience itself for the viewer, as the viewer is not only invited to take whichever side in this story, but their feelings towards these subjects are guaranteed to change from part to part. Hearing about this story in a way that’s equally vivid and surreal, you are faced with an endless amount of questions about what this all means, and what you would do if you were an Oregonian confronted with so many outsiders, or a Rajneeshee willing to die for what you believe in. By handling this story so intelligently and by opening its heart to a very complicated idea of good and evil, “Wild Wild Country” has a profound, mesmerizing power itself.

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55 Responses to Within and Without on the Ranch

  1. Parmartha says:

    The without on the Ranch for the Cabal, one could almost say has now been described – except for the experience of three thousand ordinary footsoldier sannyasins.

    The within has not been contoured at all: WHAT was going on at the level of shaktipat between Osho and those of us who were there on the Ranch, daily on drive-by and at another level, and were there for him, not to build a city or play politics in America.

    Osho said that a Budhhafield was about 25 miles in diameter from wherever he was. In the right moments I felt that on the Ranch.

    His energetic presence also felt that it stretched from one time to another, I remember clearly a few times knowing it was atavistic.

    • shantam prem says:

      Let me say in this way: Was it Osho´s energetic presence or it was the unique, one of its kind, mixture of Osho and His global people?

      Disciples’ contribution was always forgotten; in a sane, intelligent world of Sannyas, sannyasins should have got the biggest priority, specially after master´s death.

      Question is, what seekers and human intelligence in general among 7.5 billion people on the earth will gain from the history of Rajneeshpuram or Pune 2?
      Collective Sannyas has nothing to show – nothing, nothing, nothing.
      And it will remain so.

      • satyadeva says:

        “Question is, what seekers and human intelligence in general among 7.5 billion people on the earth will gain from the history of Rajneeshpuram or Pune 2?
        Collective Sannyas has nothing to show – nothing, nothing, nothing.
        And it will remain so.”

        Well, Shantam, my understanding is that, at the minimum, whatever genuine efforts people have made towards spiritual growth, whatever truths they’ve realised or even sensed, at whatever level, all work within the vast collective human psyche to help create more favourable conditions for the people to come…

        So our lives may not necessarily have been futile, even though, despite our efforts, that might appear to be the case, sometimes or perhaps even frequently.

        How about taking a look at how far you yourself have come since you first encountered Bhagwan etc?

        And are you sure “collective Sannyas has nothing to show”? Many might well disagree with you there.

      • Parmartha says:

        The enlightened do not always choose to show themselves, but some do.

        Such an effect cannot be measured. But you have to be open, Shantam, to it being there, if you show any reason.

        And if Osho had an end in mind it certainly was not some “city’, whether in Oregon, or for you, some shrine in Pune.

        Like many with a sort of ‘them and us’ mentality, you seem to dismiss that some sannyasins took the final leap, and such things may be infinite in their consequences.

  2. satchit says:

    “Watching this documentary becomes a personal experience itself for the viewer, as the viewer is not only invited to take whichever side in this story, but their feelings towards these subjects are guaranteed to change from part to part.”

    Interesting statement of the writer.
    What will be the consequence? The consequence will be that it will not be possible for the viewer’s mind to decide who are the good ones and who are the bad ones.

    Maybe the judging mind gives up and falls into a no-mind space. One could say: a taste of no-mind, by accident. Meditation – en passant.

    What is the within? When I think over it, then it must be the space beyond the judging mind. Some call it meditation or the watcher on the hill.

    But how to get there? Maybe the path was to go beyond good and evil, as already Friedrich Nietzsche called one of his books. Osho was a fan of him.

    And the Ranch was an experiment for this path under the guidance of Osho.

    • satyadeva says:

      “But how to get there? Maybe the path was to go beyond good and evil, as already Friedrich Nietzsche called one of his books. Osho was a fan of him.

      And the Ranch was an experiment for this path under the guidance of Osho.”

      Seems a grandiose idea, Satchit, to put it mildly, one that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. Suggest that to any of the thousands of ‘ordinary’ Ranch workers, course participants and festival goers and they wouldn’t know what you were getting at in terms of daily life at Rajneeshpuram.

      And if that was the, er, ‘master plan’, it hardly succeeded, did it? No one, including Osho, except the U.S authorities and the local people, enjoyed the outcome – and crucially, whatever happened in the U.S. gaols considerably shortened his life, apparently.

      No, keep it simple:
      It was always going to be a mammoth task to convince the locals in Antelope and Oregon (let alone ‘America’) but, beyond getting the place built, the Ranch regime hadn’t a clue how to go about it, the pressures they themselves had helped create eventually leading them down the path of death and destruction.

      So, in the end, nothing as glamorous-sounding as “beyond good and evil”, at the top just a squalid tale of hubris, incompetence, greed, mental illness and criminality, plus thousands (although having had the time of their lives) ultimately duped by their own naivety in relation to authority, even including that of an ‘enlightened master’ (in the sense of the commonly held belief that “nothing can go wrong, everything will be all right with Bhagwan here, he’ll look after us”).

      • satchit says:

        “And if that was the, er, ‘master plan’, it hardly succeeded, did it?”

        Looks you did not get it, SD.

        Going beyond the duality of good and evil surely also means beyond failure and success.

        The master has dissolved into Existence. So it was an ‘Existence plan’.

        • satyadeva says:

          I very much doubt, Satchit, that “going…beyond failure and success” at the Ranch, which I agree (as Parmartha points out) was where Osho was at, necessarily equates to an “experiment” in “going beyond the duality of good and evil”.

          Osho may not have really cared about the Ranch project itself but it’s a far-fetched claim to suggest he – however profound his enlightenment – viewed the criminality of Sheela & co. with a similar degree of dispassion. All that created severe problems for him and his movement that he could have done without, eventually including, of course, his premature death.

          Sure, he tried to make the best of it, saying he’d given his people “a taste of fascism”, and doing a pr job with the media, but can one really believe he was masochist enough to have been pleased to include all that criminal psychosis and its fall-out as integral to an amoral “experiment”? Of course not!

          Your attempt to put a sort of ‘Cosmic Spin’ on the whole episode (something like ‘Osho and Existence are One, therefore whatever happened was His Will’) reminds me of what my wise old history teacher used to say, “Beware of theories that in trying to explain everything, explain nothing.”

          • satchit says:

            “Sure, he tried to make the best of it, saying he’d given his people “a taste of fascism”, and doing a pr job with the media, but can one really believe he was masochist enough to have been pleased to include all that criminal psychosis and its fall-out as integral to an amoral “experiment”? Of course not!”

            You try to understand this with your logical mind, SD, and this will not function.

            Masochism is a mind label that functions for normal people but not for an enlightened one.

            The trust of a master does not make conditions, so I can imagine that he simply let people do their things. Criminal psychosis or not, who cares?

            • satyadeva says:

              “You try to understand this with your logical mind, SD, and this will not function.”

              Ah, yes, the limitations of the “logical mind” to grasp the ways of an enlightened one – that classic ‘explains it all while explaining nothing’ argument, the one that so conveniently lets both master and gullible disciple off the hook.

              “Masochism is a mind label that functions for normal people but not for an enlightened one.”

              If that’s true, then why did Osho criticise and even ridicule Jesus for manipulating the circumstances leading to his torture and and crucifixion?

              “Criminal psychosis or not, who cares?”

              Well, Osho appeared to care after the crimes became known; before, during and after his imprisonment he was far from expressing a dispassionate attitude towards both Sheela & co. and the American authorities, claiming innocence and accusing his gaolers of having poisoned him and thereby shortening his life.

              And if his consciousness was such that his own life and death were not ‘important’ to him then I suggest the fate of his teaching and his movement as its vehicle certainly was. Or are you going to tell me that he simply didn’t give a toss that his efforts were going to be prematurely curtailed?!

              • satchit says:

                “And if his consciousness was such that his own life and death were not ‘important’ to him then I suggest the fate of his teaching and his movement as its vehicle certainly was. Or are you going to tell me that he simply didn’t give a toss that his efforts were going to be prematurely curtailed?!”

                Yes, sorry, SD, I’m going to tell you this.

                What do think ‘choicelessness’ means? Do you think it is only a matter of taking this or that secretary?

                • satyadeva says:

                  Satchit, I don’t think you’ve thought this through.

                  Osho, like all of us, made all sorts of choices all the time, so-called ‘minor’ ones, ‘major’ ones, and ‘in-between’ ones, eg when to sleep, get up, what to wear, what materials his clothes should be made from and how they should be designed, what to eat, what to drink, what to read, what films to watch, whether to accept the advice of his medical team and partner/carer, whether to take nitrous oxide, whether to speak or remain silent, what topics to speak on in discourses and what to actually say in them, including which ‘dirty’ jokes, how to respond to individuals in darshans and in private, where and how far to drive his ‘Rollers’, whether to move from one home or ashram to another, who to appoint to ‘executive’ positions – and eventually, apparently, even whether to allow himself to be kept alive by his doctors or to die…

                  ‘Choicelessness’ applies to circumstances which one has no actual power to alter. Eg crimes and abuses were committed by the Ranch leaders, bringing about a major crisis, not just for them and the Ranch but for the movement as well, with Osho having to go to prison, and there be poisoned, apparently.

                  But that doesn’t imply that one might not ideally prefer such events not to happen (or not to have happened) and neither does it necessarily mean one has no opportunity or power – ie choice – to at least attempt to change such conditions.

                  Osho, as I said, used whatever means he had to improve the situation, before his arrest condemning Sheela & co., claiming he’d provided “a taste of fascism”, and conducting a pr campaign with the media, and after his arrest having a lawyer to fight for him (which, of course, was in fact also a fight for his movement and for his whole work, with the threat of long-term incarceration upon him).

                  Where choicelessness comes in is surely the point where one realises – enlightened or not – that one literally has no further opportunity to change the adverse circumstances and therefore has the choice of either accepting the situation or continuing to fight it within oneself, with anger, resentment,’victimhood’ or resignation to the fore – surely a ‘no brainer’ (to coin a phrase!), not a real option for an enlightened person, or indeed anyone with sense enough to realise the implications of choosing the latter option.

                  So, perhaps nothing so ‘cosmic’ after all, just a matter of responding to a situation, seeing it for what it is, if necessary fighting your corner to the last, but knowing when to stop and simply ‘choose what you got’ (as they used to say in ‘EST’ circles back in the day)? That’s what many ‘ordinary’ people do, when faced with inevitable life crises, isn’t it?Although Osho, of course, did it with consummate grace, and moved on, enlightened consciousness intact….

                • frank says:

                  These kind of disagreements show why the Ranch story has reached the level of mythological happening and why I said it may even have been designed as such. That`s why people are still on about it, even the ones who advise not to go on about it!

                  Here, I am taking myth not in its modern sense of ‘untrue story’ but rather as being defined as a “complex of stories – some no doubt fact and some fantasy, which for various reasons human beings regard as demonstrations of the inner meaning of the universe and of human life.”

                  Myth happens and unfolds in the present although it seems to be a story that happened in the past. If the myth happens in the past, the meaning happens in the now.

                  The Sherlock Holmes/Sigmund Freud approach of analysing a myth to reduce it to what is verifiable and incontrovertible, thus uncovering the `truth`, which essentially finishes the operation, is interesting but limited compared to the full scope of myth. The Way bros. saw that in the Ranch story straightaway, the open-endedness was its USP.

                  Myths are open-ended. They are not whodunnits, altho` they could include those elements.

                  I can imagine an old Aboriginal saying that the Ranch story is part of the Osho dreamtime -
                  it`s a big dreaming.

                  You have to respect a big dreaming that you`re part of because it’s made out of the same stuff as you!

                • satyadeva says:

                  A few more thoughts, more ‘thinking aloud’ than anything ‘fixed in stone’, as it were…

                  The Ranch saga as myth is an interesting one and it’s tempting to apply this concept, Frank, as you suggest, although I’d be wary of ascribing too much conscious ‘direction’ of it all to Osho himself. The whole saga is a mirror revealing certain aspects of the times, of where humanity was (and still might be?) and, as you quote, the contradictions and complexities of “human life”, the human condition.

                  One thing that now and again occurs to me has been that in a movement which, as well as all the meditation, put so much emphasis on free emotional expression, often enough verging on or being little else than pointless self-indulgence, in and out of therapeutic contexts, is it really surprising that when under severe (and partly self-created) pressure from the opposition of the ‘outside world’ certain highly emotional people began to ‘crack’, ie become increasingly emotionally disturbed and suffer what appear to have been varying degrees of psychosis? To which an obvious answer, of course, would be ‘the wrong people were in charge.’

                  I mean, look at how Sheela was, right from the start: arrogant, confrontational, misplaced ‘entitlement’ oozing from every speech, every gesture – in reality, out of her depth in coping with America, as, I strongly suspect, was Osho, who appointed her.

                  (Reminds me somewhat of the situation in contemporary America…Now, there’s Donald Trump, manifestly not fit for high office, vain, greedy, self-serving, emotionally immature, creating and exacerbating domestic and international havoc. And who’s responsible for voting him in? And what disasters are in store before he exits the stage?).

                • satchit says:

                  “Osho, like all of us, made all sorts of choices all the time.”

                  SD, the basic question is, is Osho like all of us or not?

                  Is also a 25 miles in diameter Buddhafield moving with you wherever you are? I guess not. So your comparisons simply don’t fit.

                • satyadeva says:

                  You want to treat Osho as some kind of ‘god’, Satchit?

                  Yes, he saw far deeper into his own reality, he was ‘awake’, one with Life, had a huge heart and lived his truth. In comparison, you and I and 99.9999999999% of humanity are fast asleep, wallowing in ignorance – ok. So you and I are on a ‘low-level’ playing field, as it were.

                  But paradoxically, he was also an ordinary man with various foibles, various personal preferences, a man who did not necessarily ‘know everything’, one who could misjudge people and make mistakes that had serious consequences for both himself and for the people he inspired. For God’s sake, man, I could even tell you a mistake or two he made with me!

                • satyadeva says:

                  “These kind of disagreements show why the Ranch story has reached the level of mythological happening and why I said it may even have been designed as such.”

                  For the sake of clarity, “designed as such” by whom exactly, Frank?

                • satyadeva says:

                  I wonder where all the money that financed the Ranch came from…Must have cost an enormous amount to pay for aircraft, fuel, machinery, building materials, vehicles, let alone daily non-self-grown food for thousands.

                  Perhaps the annual festivals were significant fund-raisers though surely much more was needed to get the place up and running?

                • satchit says:

                  “For God’s sake, man, I could even tell you a mistake or two he made with me!”

                  No, a master doesn’t make a mistake.

                  It was certainly a help for you to be free of him and find another guru.

                • satyadeva says:

                  “No, a master doesn’t make a mistake.”

                  Sounds like a classic example of an unexamined belief, Satchit. Where did you get that idea from – Christianity? Your parents? Hitler, perhaps? (joke, btw!).

                  Moreover, you have no idea what personal experiences I’m referring to, so your second remark is based on a similarly false premise.

                  Of course, it all depends on one’s definition of a “mistake”, and one man’s ‘mistake’ might well be another’s ‘stroke of genius’, depending on differing points of view, but if you believe (the right word, surely, not ‘know’) that, for instance, Sheela’s appointment wasn’t a mistake, given its dire consequences, then we are indeed poles apart.

                • satchit says:

                  “but if you believe (the right word, surely, not ‘know’) that, for instance, Sheela’s appointment wasn’t a mistake, given its dire consequences, then we are indeed poles apart.”

                  Mistakes, you can only make if you want to reach a certain result.

                  I doubt that a Master acts result-oriented.

                  He simply celebrates what is, failure or success. Reminds me of the ‘Zorba the Greek’ movie, dancing when things broke down.

                • satyadeva says:

                  You say, Satchit, “I doubt that a Master acts result-oriented.”
                  What, in no circumstances? Sounds a highly specious idea to me, one that conveniently ‘explains’ any apparent ‘misjudgment’, ‘mistake’ or ‘failure’. Not to mention projects like ashrams, centres – and, er, a utopian city…

                  Did Osho appoint Sheela for no reason at all, to achieve no particular result? Was he really as impractical as you suggest?

                  I think you confuse being “result-oriented” with not being ‘attached’ to the end result. Or perhaps you didn’t make that clear enough.

                  And this word ‘celebrate’ is misleading. To say a master “simply celebrates what is, failure or success.” is a bit disingenuous, however ‘above it all’ he might be (which surely only means he’s no longer manipulated by, at the mercy of aberrant emotions, unlike the rest of humanity).

                  There was a distinct lack of obvious ‘celebration’ when the Ranch began to collapse from within. Likewise, when Osho was in prison. And do you honestly believe he ‘celebrated’ his decline in health, thanks, according to him, having been poisoned by the Americans? He remained rooted in his being, and therefore impressive, ‘masterly’, yes – but ‘celebrating’?

                  You are confusing ‘celebration’ with making the best of adversity, which he was exceptionally good at, due to his enlightened consciousness, a resource (to put it rather crudely) that made it easier (even ‘normal’) for him to do than it is for the rest of us.

                  Some say, of course, that such a consciousness is equivalent to non-stop inner ‘celebration’, and maybe it is, I certainly don’t know, neither do you, I expect. Although I hear that the peaks come and go, and that fundamentally it’s all about ‘nothing arising’, as the Buddha is reported to have said.

                  But for us, ‘celebration’ has connotations of a ‘doing’, having a party, etc., Zorba dancing, as you say. And what goes up must come down….

                • satchit says:

                  “You don’t appear to have read or understood what I wrote, Satchit. Try re-reading it (last 4 paragraphs).”

                  I have read your paragraphs, but they do not convince me.

                  Sometimes your words come like salami pieces and I wonder how you do it?

                • satyadeva says:

                  “I have read your paragraphs, but they do not convince me.”

                  As you must have noticed, I’ve had a similar response to many of your posts, Satchit. Well, I suppose at least we have that in common…

                  “Sometimes your words come like salami pieces and I wonder how you do it?”

                  What’s the problem, are you a vegetarian or something?!

                  One thing’s for sure, you haven’t convinced me that you yourself know what you’re talking about when you use the term ‘sat-chit-ananda’.

                • Arpana says:

                  Satchit,
                  Satyadeva is from a military background. He is a firm believer in the notion that might is right.

                • satyadeva says:

                  Really, Private Arpana?

                  How dare you show such damn cheek to an officer?!

                  You’d better explain yourself sharpish, or I’ll get the MOD to put you on extra punctuation drill and reduced paragraphs for a week!

                  Get back to your post – NOW! AT THE DOUBLE!

                  Wrong, right, wrong, right, wrong, right….

              • frank says:

                SD, you ask, “Designed as such by whom?”
                Ah! There`s a question!

                One answer is Osho.
                I do think, as I said before, that he deliberately threw a lot of crazy things into the mix just to create a mythical picture rather than to succeed in the world:
                Starting very dangerous fights he couldn`t win, getting the ‘Sex’ poster (remember that? It was in ‘WWC’) published in the local Oregon paper soon after arrival, the Rollses,
                remember he started the nitrous story by inviting Hugh Milne in to take photos and insisting the nitrous books were published, and the boasts about his sex life.

                I`m not of the “it was all a device for awakening” school but I do see it as deliberately writing a very crazy, provocative script/story for its own sake, regardless of outcome. Like Van Gogh in `Lust for Life`, one of Osho`s favourite books, he paints his idiosyncratic picture at all costs with dangerous disregard for his own personal safety.

                I referenced the story in ‘Biography of a Spiritually Incorrect Mystic’ where he describes taking chloroform to “show someone the bardo.” What he does is very dangerous and only someone prepared to risk their life would have done it.

                This seemed to have been echoed in his relation with his gas suppliers who were worried about him turning the dial up to 11!

                Beyond that, who creates myths?
                Something deep in the human soul/experience.

                • Levina says:

                  SD and Satchit, maybe it’s not or, or, but and, and. That Osho felt anger, perhaps sadness about Sheela’s crimes, but I have the feeling they were only skin-deep, waves in the vastness, the same for his using drugs.

                  And I don’t think he had feelings of regret, shame and guilt as they are part of the reflective mind, which is dual.

              • satchit says:

                “He remained rooted in his being, and therefore impressive, ‘masterly’, yes – but ‘celebrating’?”

                I guess SD, you have a wrong idea of ‘celebration’.
                It is not a constant singing of hallelujah.

                It’s being connected with the source. Ever heard of the word ‘Sat-chit-ananda’?

                • satyadeva says:

                  You don’t appear to have read or understood what I wrote, Satchit. Try re-reading it (last 4 paragraphs).

                • satyadeva says:

                  “I guess SD, you have a wrong idea of ‘celebration’.
                  It is not a constant singing of hallelujah.

                  It’s being connected with the source. Ever heard of the word ‘Sat-chit-ananda’?”

                  That’s why I say using the word ‘celebration’ is misleading because, despite being used in a conventional Christian ritual context, eg ‘celebrating Mass’, it otherwise has no such connotations as ‘sat-chit-ananda’, which means “existence, consciousness, and bliss” or “truth, consciousness, bliss”…an epithet and description for the subjective experience of the ultimate, unchanging reality in Hinduism called Brahman.” (Wikipedia).

              • Arpana says:

                @satyadeva. 12 April, 2018 at 6:31 pm

                Great response. Kudos.

      • Parmartha says:

        Osho arrived in a treeless place, and basically closed down after that, he kept to his house and compound and showed very little interest in building a city.

        He told Savita, Sheela’s number two, that all the efforts of the organisation were as nothing compared to his enlightenment.

  3. shantam prem says:

    Parmartha, why not write a mail to Osho Foundation, custodian of Osho’s work, to create a documentary based on 3000 disciple ‘pawns’ in Rajneeshpuram saga? At that time these few people too were disciples like others, though maybe part of boardroom meetings with ‘master in silence’. I am curious what kind of response you will get if in case you write.

    I hope you won’t feel some kind of expectations about the documentary makers, why they did not involve the voice of ordinary disciples. It is simply not their business. They have to look from the commercial angles too. They are not working for Osho media but Netflix.

    Without doubt, brothers directing the series will rise high in their chosen craft. They have pasted most of the available material like well-knitted colour-co-ordinated pullover.

    • Parmartha says:

      Actually, this is not true, Shantam.
      The documentary makers did “interview” a number of ordinary sannyasins, etc., but said they decided not to use that footage. But are open to a one episode sequel that does. Let’s see….

      As for your friend Amrito, no-one knows if he was approached, but surely his testimony, if he were approached, and if he chooses to bear witness, would be pretty major. After all, he nearly lost his life due to the Cabal’s last Ranch craziness.

  4. shantam prem says:

    Truth is mostly first-hand casualty when conflict of interests collide. Amrito as victim is 50% true as Sheela as crime queen.

    • Kavita says:

      This is interesting, Shantam, are you saying that Amrito’s & your interests collided?!

    • satyadeva says:

      You’re confusing two separate arenas, Shantam. It’s 100% true that Amrito was a victim of the Ranch regime. The Pune situation is another matter – and also a matter of opinion.

      • shantam prem says:

        You can watch Sheela’ s sarcastic remark on this issue in one of her Youtube clips.

        Me as Shantam Prem or Iqbal Singh in similar situation will ask for my polygraph test. I wonder have any top-notch characters had the soul to offer themselves for lie detector test.

        One must not forget Osho has always talked about science in connection with religion.

  5. Lokesh says:

    I enjoyed ‘Wild Wild Country’. It is an entertaining documentary series. Entertainment is what it is in essence. If it were not an entertaining and lucrative series Netflix would not have broadcast it.

    What the series describes are events that took place 30 years ago, recent history. I personally was not looking for any answers from the series. It all happened so long ago and bears little importance in my life today.

    The truth is nobody actually knows what Osho was up to. The word ‘enlightenment’ is worn out. It describes a state that you cannot understand unless you are in it and you can’t be in it as long as you exist, so what’s the point of talking about enlightenment?

    It therefore follows that nobody actually knows if Osho was enlightened or not because to know that you have to be enlightened and you are not.

    The other day I had a visitor who rattled on about enlightenment for two hours. I found what he had to say boring. It was a huge spiritual mind-fuck. Often the people who talk most about enlightenment are the furthest from actually living it.

    I am not enlightened but I have had a taste of it. It has nothing to do with bright lights and having the answer to everything. It has everything to do with being present and contacting something that has always been here but we are too busy looking elsewhere to actually realise it.

    One thing that has nothing to do with the exalted state is that it has zippy to do with the past, which makes me wonder about why sannyasins experience a need to revisit the past again and again. Like going on about what Sheela did etc. What a load of bollocks. It is just so dead.

    Then we have the idiot sannyasins who want to carry on Osho’s legacy etc. Trying to change externals, as if that will make a difference to how they feel inside. It’s all bullshit. If you want to keep the light alive that Osho was in favour of, drop all these past speculations and what you experienced back then, because when it all boils down it comes to sweet fuck all.

    The real deal is to be present, drop the dead past and forget about the future because tomorrow never comes. How many times you need to hear that before you get in the frame?

    • Parmartha says:

      I am not enlightened, but am long enough in the tooth to recognise it. Do you feel, Lokesh, you cannot recognise it?

      Osho’s legacy seems to me to be around those who ‘got it’ through him and continue to infect the world in present time. They may be unstated, and not even use that type of vocabulary.

      What Osho told Savita, and which according to her made her leave his work, was great from where I see the world in any time:
      “Any organisational achievement is nothing as compared to my enlightenment.”

      • Lokesh says:

        PM, the only time I use the word ‘enlightenment’ is here on SN.
        Sannyasins used to wear orange. Orange is the colour of carrots. Enlightenment is a carrot dangling in front of a donkey to make it keep walking. For me the enlightenment carrot is no longer a motivator.

        I do not believe there is anything to be ‘got’. Everyday life is the path. I don’t need a carrot to make me keep walking the path of life. The journey is the destination.

  6. satchit says:

    Lokesh declares: “How many times you need to hear that before you get in the frame?”

    Yes, it’s an old habit of yours. “Don’t talk of the past – be in the present!”

    Do you really think one is not in the present if one talks of the past? Sannyas confusion!

    Then also Osho should not have been allowed to talk about his ‘Golden Childhood’ in the dental chair, is it not?

  7. sw. veet (francesco) says:

    Without ‘that’ love, what no documentary can do is put in perspective the things told, how they appear outwardly and how the vast majority have lived those events inwardly. Without focusing on that inner experience of love, beyond time and space, which animates even people who have not been to the Ranch, one can only make theory.

    Paradoxically, without the intimate connection (communion) with the Master, even people with a long experience of ‘sannyas’, who think to explain everything by experience, use a theory: everything is explained by experience.

    No, the external experience of a phenomenon does not explain anything, at most it describes trends. The value of what is observed is decided by the observer, by what he has inside and by the way he organised it.

    Many things I read in the comments in my opinion have the same limitation as an external descriptive approach.

    When a Master with a sangha of colourful and celebratory disciples meets a B-movie actor who is the president of a flock proudly asleep on the values ​​of ethnic superiority, the Master with his sangha become folklore.

    A media folklore certainly alternative to Hollywood but still folklore, compared to the stereotypical American lifestyle, which unfortunately becomes increasingly global.

    • satyadeva says:

      Good post, Veet. That’s why a sequel to ‘WWC’ based on the experiences of the many who lived and worked at the Ranch is absolutely necessary. Who knows, such a film might even be a ‘game changer’ for Sannyas, after all these years….

  8. Arpana says:

    @Frank: 11 April, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Y Fantastico, Frank.
    You’re turning into a Shaman.

  9. anandrahul says:

    The much celebrated rural festival of Baisakhi has lifted the celebration spirit among the people here in North India. Simultaneously, there has been a ban on release of a Punjabi movie accused of hurting religious sentiments.

    Has the ‘Wild Wild Country’ been able to garner enough interest?

  10. anandrahul says:

    What is the relevance of propagating the idea of Zorba the Greek in times of economic slowdown?

    • swamishanti says:

      Thats a good point, Anandrahul, and without the Buddha, Zorba can mean just a pisshead.

      Although I’ve met a few pissheads along the way who have been a good laugh, and I respect their choice to live that way, I have also seen the negative impact that alcohol has had in some of the Indian villages, particularly amongst the poorest folk, and I have been told that methanol and forms of home-made alcohol is being brewed because they cannot afford to go to the off-licence, and these are very dangerous and can cause blindness.

  11. anandrahul says:

    On my personal economic slowdown, I dropped the idea of buying a book through Viha.

  12. anandrahul says:

    Maybe some creatively enthusiastic sannyasins come out with an idea to make books available in Braille.

    • Kavita says:

      Sorry to let you know, Sir, this is not Mother Teresa’s website, I think you are on the wrong website!

      • anandrahul says:

        It was beyond my comprehension that some light-hearted comments can generate strong reactions from seasoned meditators.

        • Kavita says:

          Look, Sir, I was only saving your energy.

          Your light-hearted comments are not light-hearted to me, just like my simple response is a strong reaction to you.

          Anyway, All The Best.

  13. devarupo says:

    Excellent repartee in this thread. Thoroughly enjoyed all your insights and retorts, all in fairly good taste and with no ad hominem attacks, yet no hold backs.