The View from the Street: The Ordinary Sannyasin at Rajneeshpuram

Rashid Maxwell

Artist/painter and farmer living in England. Lived at Rajneeshpuram for four years.

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Because of my agricultural experience, I was one of the first people to go to Rajneeshpuram. My job then was taking the land, which had been totally neglected and overgrazed, and getting the basics of agriculture started. Very soon after that I had many disagreements with Sheela, I never got on with her. It didn’t feel to me like she was intelligent, even. She was cunning, clever, but not intelligent.

The arguments were about policy. She said we should have chickens because we’d need lots of eggs, and I said, Yeah, we should have them all scattered around, and she said, No, put them all together. And I said then you have the likelihood of disease and you need to give them antibiotics. And she said, so give them antibiotics. And that was really not my way, I was an organic farmer. And there were more profound disagreements. Like, I did have contact with the Nike shoes guy in the documentary [rancher Bill Bowerman]. I had very nice contact with him: I went over to his ranch, we talked about growing grapes and having a vineyard, and he taught me how to roll cigarettes one-handed on a horse. But somehow I couldn’t and wouldn’t go along with Sheela’s aggression towards the neighbors, so within another three months, I was out of farming and gardening and in the pot room washing pots. I was very unhappy in the pot room because I felt like my dream of an environmental paradise was just lost, and she handed it over to someone who would be more obedient to her wishes.

I didn’t like or trust Sheela but none of us had any clue what was going on — the poisonings, the fire-bombing. It was inconceivable to me. After it all came out, we were all sort of wandering in shock for days. I just remember walking down one of the roads not knowing what I was doing, what, what, where am I?

The documentary — I felt quite queasy watching it. Actually like a feeling of nausea. I’m not very supportive of the film, people talk about it as being balanced, but it was balanced between villains and rednecks. It felt to me like a male, puritan, American movie, lavished with the usual ingredients of sex, guns, and money.

I went to Osho to have the rug pulled out from under my feet — the sort of comfortable rug that I was given in my education and my upbringing. I could go on forever about how important that experience was for me. I’m 80 and I just feel so happy, so rich, so free, so my life is so joyous. And I blame him for all that! He did the work on me. I also read a few days ago that 42 percent of millennials say they are engaged in meditation of one sort or another. So I think that’s amazing that that message, that understanding that we have struggled and fought and battled with — that they got it just like that. Meditation was the tool Osho gave us — stepping out of ego, and stepping out of the busy traffic of the mind.

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85 Responses to The View from the Street: The Ordinary Sannyasin at Rajneeshpuram

  1. Lokesh says:

    Concise, informative and interesting article from Rashid. Sounds like a good man. The pot room – been there, done that. I also did not like it. Diksha thought I was resistant. She was right. In retrospect, I value my resistance at the time.

    Interesting to hear a different perspective on the ‘WW Country’ documentary. Find it difficult to take all this talk about it seriously. I have said it before. Once more: Netflix is an entertainment channel. I found the series entertaining. Come on, watching a nut job like Sheela spouting her nonsense is entertaining, as in comical. Taking it seriously is a joke. Beats the hell out of the competition in the humour stakes.

    Humour is a very personal thing. I generally do not enjoy American comedy. ‘WW Country’ was hilarious. Besides, it’s history.

  2. sw. veet (francesco) says:

    Thanks for your sharing, Rashid, it seems to me that you never had too many doubts about Sheela’s limits, that they were not the limits of someone else.

    It’s ironic that those who say “with the enlightened guidance of Osho nothing could go wrong” are bullied by those who say “Osho was a fool not to predict how much Sheela was wrong in that role.”

  3. shantam prem says:

    If people are meditating in the West, its main credit goes to the Buddhists, Yogi Bhajan´s followers and Yoga teachers. Their low profile behaviour and clean aura has won the trust.

    • Arpana says:

      Ridiculous, mean-spirited and spiteful, Shantam.

      Of course Buddhism has more influence.

      Been around much longer in the West, and even before the early part of the twentieth century people were going east to check the practices out. Well before Acharya Rajneesh began his work.

    • satyadeva says:

      I tend to agree there, Shantam, and would add Maharishi’s TM, Tai Chi, and, of course, ‘Mindfulness’ as major contemporary ‘meditation’-type practices, not forgetting ‘Advaita’, and the various practices of adherents of other teachers, eg Tolle, BL.

      I think it’s stretching it too far to attribute all that to Osho and his movement, although that’s certainly contributed its share of influence; it’s simply part of the present-day western ‘zeitgeist’ that’s been steadily gathering momentum for decades.

      • Parmartha says:

        Rashid in his original string does not state the interest from young people is due to Osho, but indicates that his work helped to set up an ambiance and mood around the subject.

        Despite its detractors, many young people do turn up at Osho centres, and that includes the Pune Resort, and continue to do so in present time, much to the consternation of detractors.

    • Arpana says:

      Buddhism has been around for 3500 years.

      ‘Oshoism’ is already more established, and more widely established, than Buddhism was in the West by the end of the seventies.

      More established in India than Buddhism has ever been and developing a foothold in Buddhist countries.

  4. Parmartha says:

    Full marks to Rashid, and at least he was there.

    Sheela was not into organic farming or reclamation of the land unless it suited her public relations agenda. Rashid should have been left to do something in which he was fully experienced and skilled.

    Rashid also showed those simple English social skills of which her and her team were devoid, in setting up a friendly contact with that local rancher.

    Rashid does not tackle the question, however, of how and why Sheela was appointed (if she was) by Osho in the first place.

    • Arpana says:

      Sheela was appointed because Osho wanted as much chaos as order. He wanted our buttons to be pressed.

      He wanted us to be honest, or as honest as we could be, and risk disapproval, from peers and authority figures; risk being cast out, ostracised.

      Just a thought.

      • Parmartha says:

        Good thought, Arpana.

        But very. very few were up to challenging Sheela. I knew a few (like Prem Paritosh, who wrote ‘Life of Osho;) but they basically dropped out until Hasya was appointed in 1985. Rashid had the courage to challenge Sheela, but ended up for a number of years as a sort of outcast; I am surprised he never left.

        If you are right, then Osho overestimated 98 per cent of us, and did not see that those who took Sheela on had no recourse but to leave his organisation. This actually left, paradoxically enough, given your thought, that the organisation was non-chaotic and close to a totalitarian fear and discipline.

        • Arpana says:

          Parmartha said, “non-chaotic and close to a totalitarian fear and discipline.”

          No question that was in play. Not everyone submitted to it.

          Was that an accident or a leaning situation? We will never know.

          Some of us did learn though, and do speak up against domineering, knowing, know-all bullies.

          Some of us will never be made to feel bad about the crappy behaviour of others again.

  5. satyadeva says:

    Shantam has suggested that in all the poisoning, attempted murders, bugging, arson, etc. Sheela was merely ‘following orders’. To put it politely, that’s a viewpoint that barely deserves consideration.

    • Parmartha says:

      Yes, SD.

      Stories like this from Rashid who I know and trust, and know of his skills in farming personally, need more focus, and from people on the string. They need to concentrate on his contribution, and not go off into their still egotistical worlds.

      As you say, his and many other early stories from before 1983, show that Sheela was not suited, and considered herself the power on the Ranch, and behaved on that in criminal and other ways, and no-one was responsible for that other than herself and those in her cabal.

      If one gets to this point one can then consider more dispassionately the major question of how and why she was appointed by Osho.

  6. satchit says:

    “I was very unhappy in the pot room because I felt like my dream of an environmental paradise was just lost, and she handed it over to someone who would be more obedient to her wishes.”

    As I see it, the main topic of Osho and the Ranch was never about skills or dreams. It was only of Surrender.

    In this case of shattering the ego of an organic farmer. So using antibiotics would shatter it, but he refused to surrender, it seems.

    I did read Devageet’s book. And there came a point when Osho asked him: “Are you my dentist or are you my disciple?”

    And as a disciple he had to do things that were against his skills,
    to give up his logical mind.

    • shantam prem says:

      And this kind of situation was not faced by Sheela, “Are you my secretary or my disciple too?”

    • satyadeva says:

      I think you probably give too much credit to Sheela here, Satchit, imagining she treated him like that ‘for his own good’, as it were. I hardly think she knew what she was doing in terms of ‘upsetting others’ egos’, I suggest it was far more likely a case of her preserving her own sense of control over a man who knew exactly what he was doing in that situation and whom she therefore perceived as a threat.

      All part of Osho’s overall ‘plan’ to create situations of ‘surrender’, using her to do his ‘ego-busting’ work? Doubt it. Simply sounds a thoroughly stupid way to treat someone with exactly the skills required for an important aspect of the Ranch’s transition from desert to ‘oasis’.

      • satchit says:

        “All part of Osho’s overall ‘plan’ to create situations of ‘surrender’, using her to do his ‘ego-busting’ work? Doubt it. Simply sounds a thoroughly stupid way to treat someone with exactly the skills required for an important aspect of the Ranch’s transition from desert to ‘oasis’.”

        SD, did you read Devageet’s book? If not, you should do it.

        I doubt that there was ever a real plan for a transformation into an ‘oasis’. The only transformation a Master is interested in is the transformation of the individual.

        • satyadeva says:

          “The only transformation a Master is interested in is the transformation of the individual.”

          Sure, Satchit. But that doesn’t necessarily mean everything Sheela did was according to ‘what Osho wanted’, does it? Look at the mess she made, the criminal psychosis she got into – all part of Osho’s master plan to transform the individual?!

          No, my view is Sheela was beyond his control in such matters, and he simply ‘switched off’ until it was too late.

          It seems she interpreted any general directions he might have given her to suit herself, and thus, how she treated people at the Ranch can be questioned, and in plenty of other instances we’ve heard about it’s clear her overriding motive was protecting her power, jealous as she was of being Osho’s ‘Number One’ (and all that that implies).

          Which, of course, is why she flew away after being ‘replaced’ by Hasya & co., as by then her ‘game’ was over.

          • satchit says:

            “Sure, Satchit. But that doesn’t necessarily mean everything Sheela did was according to ‘what Osho wanted’, does it? Look at the mess she made, the criminal psychosis she got into – all part of Osho’s master plan to transform the individual?!”

            I doubt that there was a master plan.

            Osho as Sheela were tools of Existence.
            Nobody would have known of Jesus if he had not have been betrayed by Judas.

            • Arpana says:

              Satchit,

              In my opinion, there was a master plan, but part of the master plan, an enormous part at that, was to unleash that which could not be controlled by participating individuals, and certainly not in detail;
              and even less could the mass of out of control individuals be controlled like very young children can be for moments; could not be controlled by an all-powerful authority figure.

              However, not being in control as an individual, and having some self- awareness, is not the same as being out of control with no self-awareness.

              (This is not meant to come across as a definitive statement, it’s just a few words regarding the directions my musings have taken me at times).

              Individuals and collectives of individuals who had been permission
              to go into their ‘darker’ sides regularly experienced ‘Flow’ in Poona and Oregon, and that doesn’t happen in the presence of an overbearing, punishing authority figure.

              • satchit says:

                Yes, Arpana, I think your musings did go into the right direction. But I still don’t know if I want to call it ‘master plan’.

                The master is dissolved into Existence. Existence trusts without conditions, the same way he trusted Sheela.

                Existence does not interfere, whether a Hitler or a Sheela is happening.

                Still people often ask: Why does God allow things to happen? Maybe because He is the watcher on the hill.

                • Arpana says:

                  ‘Broad game plan’ might be better.

                • Arpana says:

                  And making plans is part of existence.

                  “Trust in Existence, but don’t forget to lock your car.”

                • satyadeva says:

                  As I’ve said before, this sort of explanation ‘explains everything while explaining nothing’, a classic way to absolve anyone of responsibility. And on just a little investigation it’s clearly an absurdity.

                  Osho might well have ‘taken a back seat’ for years at the Ranch, not ‘interfered’, let things run their course in a situation, environment and country where he had no previous experience, however enlightened he was. But there’s little doubt he encouraged her to be highly confrontational and to fight very hard any attempts to destroy the Ranch, a policy that might have worked in India but which backfired in America, creating even more problems well before the crimes were revealed.

                  ‘Existence’ working in mysterious ways? Or just lack of capacity to cope in an alien land? Come on, time for common sense!

                  Then, having appointed her and let her do her thing, when the multiple serious crimes emerged he denounced Sheela & co. and opened up to the world media, claiming he’d no idea what was going on. You know, that key explanation, something like, “I know myself but I don’t necessarily know what’s happening anywhere else.”

                  Ah yes, ‘Existence’ again, of course – conveniently (for your argument) unaware of anything this time (not even in his own room, apparently).

                  You might say, well, what else could he have realistically done, no one in ‘normal’ America or anywhere else would have taken him seriously if he’d have simply come out with something like “I’m just a hollow bamboo, I allow anything and everything to just happen because I’m one with Existence, there’s no difference between me and Life. Therefore I’m not responsible for anything – Life is.”

                  But by that time he’d also effectively ‘demoted’ Sheela and appointed Hasya and Dhyan John – so are you going to say ‘Existence, through him, finally realised Sheela had become or had been a liability for his work and therefore had to go’? Or that he wasn’t responsible for that?

                  The way you interpret “One with Existence” doesn’t infallibly stand up to scrutiny in the realm of everyday life, of making decisions and taking action. I don’t see that it actually means anything except it allows you to perceive Osho (or indeed any Master) as irreproachable, an absolute authority who can never make a mistake, ‘out there’ as well as within him/herself (the last-mentioned I don’t dispute).

                  I wonder whether you’ve asked yourself why you’ve chosen to take on board such a belief. Maybe it’s the sort of attitude and belief that appeals to a certain kind of personality, perhaps based on insecurity, the emotional wish or need for some sort of ‘certainty’, absolute faith in someone, no matter what.

                  In a collective context it’s the sort of thing that gives rise to evil dictatorships where people willingly surrender to the one who’ll ‘take care of everything and make us great’ – as we have seen at the Ranch (Sheela having been considered the ‘vehicle for Osho’ until the truth came out) as well as in whole countries, your own, btw, having been a particularly horrific example just 40 or so years before Rajneeshpuram.

                • frank says:

                  I heard the Titanic has gone down, too.
                  I wonder what caused that?

                • satchit says:

                  “In a collective context it’s the sort of thing that gives rise to evil dictatorships where people willingly surrender to the one who’ll ‘take care of everything and make us great’”

                  Yes, SD, it’s a dangerous thing, this Existence-thing. I can understand that it makes you nervous.

                  How can it be that you are not responsible that you write here on SN?
                  How can it be that Existence allows you to write, gives you the permission?

                  You, as a tool of Existence. No, really, it explains nothing – but it changes the view.

                • satyadeva says:

                  I guess only a real “Tool of Existence” could have written that, Satchit…

                  But that sort of thing is surely a ‘given’, not news to anyone in circles as spiritually august as here at SN?

                  And not helpful when discussing almost any issue, really just used as a way of avoiding difficulties that might threaten one’s cherished beliefs and values.

                • satchit says:

                  “And not helpful when discussing almost any issue, really just used as a way of avoiding difficulties that might threaten one’s cherished beliefs and values.”

                  To think that oneself is responsible is also a belief.

                  Believe it or not!

                  And btw. sometimes a bit of fun is also not bad.

                • satyadeva says:

                  “To think that oneself is responsible is also a belief.”

                  Is it only a belief? No, Satchit, you’re being too clever by half. Common sense time again…

                  If I trip you up in the street and you swear at me for having done that to you, are you only responding to a belief that I was responsible for doing that to you?

                  If it’s proven that Sheela orders the bugging of Osho’s private room and authorises the murder of several people is it only our belief that she’s responsible for that?

                  And while we’re at it, we’re responsible for what, for example? For having been born? For eventually dying? For the conditions of one’s childhood and adolescence? For the government’s actions? For millions’ deaths by starvation, disease, war? For the fate of the human race? Perhaps not.

                  Or for our adult choices, decisions, responses, ways of being, for things and situations which we have the power to influence, etc. etc.? Unless we’re mentally ill, why not?

                  P.S:
                  “A bit of fun” you suggest – sure, except that that can be and is often enough used as another way to avoid getting too far into an issue, especially when one thinks the basis for one’s views might be threatened.

                • frank says:

                  Ah! There`s nothing I like better of an evening than to sit back in my comfy chair with a couple of cans of Asperger Pils and watch Slasher Deva (Arsenal, Barry Town and England) get his rusty Occam`s razor out again and give some nonsensical Johnny Foreigner Paki or Kraut a damn good thrashing and a bloody good kicking.

                  This time, he`s even managed to whip up Maddie “Mad-dog” Madhu into a one-legged German asshole kick-fest!

                  Enlightentertainment, eh?
                  What would we do without it?

                • satchit says:

                  “And while we’re at it, we’re responsible for what, for example?”

                  Okay, SD, let’s be serious again. I’m responsible for what I do and for what I don’t do.

                  For example, for not answering most of your questions, I’m responsible.

                  I am not responsible for the weather and also not for what somebody else does or has done.

                • satyadeva says:

                  Excellent progress, Herr Satchit, it might have taken several hours but in extra extra time you’ve restored my faith in contemporary, full-time professional seekers after all. Well played, sir! Can I have your autograph, please?

                • satchit says:

                  Yes. I know, Mr. Satya. I have been very patient with you.

                  How did already former trainer Sepp Herberger say: “The ball is round.”

            • satyadeva says:

              “Osho as Sheela were tools of Existence.”

              So Existence had the master plan then? A convenient way to avoid ascribing responsibility to either. Another example of an explanation that, while explaining everything, explains nothing.

              “Nobody would have known of Jesus if he had not been betrayed by Judas.”

              Really? I don’t think so, Satchit. From what I’ve heard, the Romans, egged on by the local priests, were after him anyway so his fate was already pretty well sealed. Judas (if he actually existed) was just the immediate means for his capture (or so the story goes).

              • satyadeva says:

                Are you, btw, Satchit, suggesting Sheela & co.’s ‘betrayal’ of Osho has led to greater and more favourable publicity for Osho, allowing his movement to flourish exponentially, in a similar way to how Christianity attracted adherents and developed through the spreading news of the saga-cum-myth of the Crucifixion/Resurrection?

                I hardly think that’s the case. I reckon Osho’s influence will grow in spite of rather than because of all that.

                • frank says:

                  Tools of existence.
                  There`s no disputing we are all that.

                  MOD:
                  existence OR Existence, PLEASE, Frank?

                  Frank:
                  Mod,
                  Existence with a capital E sounds like a kind of Oshwellian Neo-Newspeak version of `God` to me!!

                • Tan says:

                  Not stools, Frank boy?

  7. shantam prem says:

    For transformation of individual, masters visit disciples’ flats for individual private tuition. Such masters have only few disciples.

    Beauty of spiritual jargon is such one can deceive and believe anything and create all kind of sentences.

    Is there some criterion who is transformed, who not? I don’t mind if Arpana gets certificate of being transformed! Devageet is anyway certified transformed, thanks to colour therapy!

    • satyadeva says:

      “Is there some criterion who is transformed, who not?”

      Well, Shantam, I’ll paraphrase what seems plausible from what I’ve heard:
      To be “transformed” means being free of personal unhappiness, eg identifying with and therefore being ‘run’ by passing emotions or fixed mental positions, standpoints, opinions, living from another, deeper place than all that stuff, so one experiences a certain equilibrium.

      Haven’t you heard about this yet, after all these years? I’m no shining example but from the way you sound you seem to need such a shift even more than me!

      • shantam prem says:

        Satyadeva,
        To give any criteria of transformation is to reduce mystery into fitness exercise with the tag line, ‘practice makes perfect’.

        One general statement from my side:
        A transformed person will stand with his words without proclaiming divine is speaking through me.

        • satyadeva says:

          “To give any criteria of transformation is to reduce mystery into fitness exercise with the tag line, ‘practice makes perfect’.”

          Which is a most convenient way to avoid really looking at yourself, to nail things down, to meditate in fact, instead giving you licence to indulge in all sorts of mental and emotional bullshine, while believing that “transformation” must be so extraordinarily “mysterious” that it can’t possibly be approached except by…Well, what exactly, Shantam? What DO you imagine you’re up to?

          As for “A transformed person will stand with his words without proclaiming divine is speaking through him”, well, that would include many self-justifying so’n'sos that infest our world, wouldn’t it?! Politicians being an obvious example. But perhaps you feel a kinship with these people?

    • Arpana says:

      I don’t need a certificate of transformation, Shantam. My life has meaning and value as it is.

    • Tan says:

      If I am not mistaken, it was Swami Ali who got rid of that cabinet, as everybody knows he is a strong man!

      Maybe he could throw some light at this extraordinary story.

      Cheers!

      • frank says:

        Tan, yes, that story does appear to be of the “A hole in the road has appeared. The police are looking into it” variety.

    • Parmartha says:

      Thanks, Dean.
      As usual, I would throw in that this needs to be checked thoroughly. It is oddly well timed…for whoever owns the document.

  8. dean carter says:

    I was one of those ‘grunts’, the ordinary sannyasin slob who worked his butt off for 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week, during the early years. By 1985 the hours were more like 10 hour days but still…

    After “worship”, as it was called back then, off to the disco, there was only one back in 1983, a small, cosy place, with a bar and casino tables for blackjack, danced my arse off till closing (11 pm) plus gacchamis and catching the last bus to my tent, then later, manufactured home.

    I worked various jobs, from ditch digging, small equipment operator (Wacker Packer et al) to home remodelling up at City of Rajneesh in 1984-85, also once a week working at Magdalena.

    Nearly got run over by a redneck in his pick-up truck while I was protesting at the election site. One of our crew leaders, Sw. Satbuddha, confronted the Guardian Angels leader, Curtis Sliwa, one evening. The “Angels” tried to block our bus from leaving to the Ranch after work. A few of us used to shout out insults to the Angels every time we saw them for they were posted in C of R to spy on what we were doing.

    Everyone is saying that the locals and us didn’t get along, that’s not true. Two young guys came over to me and a cohort while we were working up on a roof and asked us to have a snowball fight we them. We obliged. Work was long and hard but the play time and just living in that place was magical. Nothing like it anywhere for me, probably never will be either.

    But that said, I don’t think the current lot and recent past lot of sannyasins have learned anything from the mistakes made. I think there is still lots of propaganda coming out from Pune, it hasn’t changed and people still blindly believe what’s put out. Will people wise up? Don’t know. Maybe.

    • sw. veet (francesco) says:

      Thanks for your sharing, Dean.

      Thanks also for making love visible through your work, the Ranch is still a beautiful oasis; if you decide to raise the funds to buy that place again the first 10 euros would be mine.

    • Arpana says:

      Why do you refer to yourself as a “grunt”, a “slob”? Is that just a casual use of words, or is there more to that? Resentful, embittered still?

      Thanks for the contribution, by the way. Good post. Lucid and articulate. Good to have some reminders of the up moments.

      P.S:
      I moved through life before Osho suffering from the delusion there was something wrong with me because difficulties occurred (a simplistic
      statement) and I’ve learned to see the world from a ‘glass is half-full’ place, without denying the crappy goings-on; have been increasingly living a life of fifty people all rolled into one, instead of a struggling half-life as I was before Sannyas; and I’ve also been able to see I led a rich, full life before Sannyas, but I was often
      stuck in a ‘glass is half-empty’ way of talking about my life, but not always. Had good times as well, which I took for granted I came to see.

      • dean carter says:

        Arpana:
        Just a casual use of words, but saying that, there were days that I felt like a slob due to the work involved that particualr day, such as working in shin-deep clay mud, having your feet pop out of your mud boots every step you took, then being unbalanced and falling flat into the mud. There were many days like that but I loved it all.

  9. Deepa says:

    “The documentary — I felt quite queasy watching it. Actually like a feeling of nausea. I’m not very supportive of the film, people talk about it as being balanced, but it was balanced between villains and rednecks. It felt to me like a male, puritan, American movie, lavished with the usual ingredients of sex, guns, and money”

    Typically idealist, naive man.

    So far, everything Osho has got in the media was a character assassination: evil guru. This is done on purpose, because Osho’s teachings have to be destroyed, just as the Ranch had to be destroyed by the status-quo. Anyone who has a modicum of awareness sees that we live on a slave planet, and the ‘powers that be’ systematically kill and defame any genuine spiritual teacher.

    So the documentary was “balanced”. I was amazed that it was allowed to exist. The censorship people must be sleeping on the job, they let this one slip.

    “Like, I did have contact with the Nike shoes guy in the documentary [rancher Bill Bowerman]. I had very nice contact with him: I went over to his ranch, we talked about growing grapes and having a vineyard, and he taught me how to roll cigarettes one-handed on a horse.”

    I’m baffled by the naivete.

    So maybe if you made friends with Bill, maybe he would not have attacked the Ranch. So naive.

    The attack was orchestrated from high above, and the people of Antelope were just a front, they were financed by higher interests who preferred to stay in the shadows.

    To think that if he made friends with Bill the Nike guy things would have been different – incredibly naive.

    One thing that gives me a clue that it was orchestrated by powers-that-be:
    At first the people of Antelope wanted to save their town. When they saw the sannyasins taking over they attempted to legally dissolve their town so it didn’t exist anymore.

    Who does that? They went from trying to save their town to trying to annul their town.

    Was it done out of spite?

    To me, it just sounds like they received directives from more powerful people who were financing the whole lawsuit, and the message was: Destroy the Ranch at any cost.

    Otherwise, it doesn’t make any sense why the people of Antelope, who loved their town, wanted to annul Antelope and dissolve it completely.

    • satyadeva says:

      Seems unfair criticism of Rashid (and the other workers) that he and they “did not see the big picture of the Ranch, did not take responsibility for what was happening to the Ranch as a whole.” As Sheela (influenced by or following orders from Osho?) had set up a dictatorial power structure to ensure the vast majority living and working on the Ranch had no influence on her policies nor any knowledge of her and her cabal’s nefarious activities.

      I’m also not impressed by Deepa’s description of Rashid:
      “…it seems like he was the one that has no intelligence. Typical, holier-than-thou, moral high ground hippie – but in reality he is myopic, self-absorbed, unaware.”
      As he doesn’t know the man, this is just a gratuitous caricature, based on assumptions that are convenient for the picture he wants to portray of the ‘ordinary’ Ranch residents – in contrast to himself, of course…

      I also question Deepa’s defence of Sheela. Yes, of course she suffered under a burden of huge responsibility, being under increasing pressure from outside forces, but she’d also brought much of this upon herself by having chosen to ‘go it alone’, surrounding herself with ‘yes-women’, thereby excluding the possibility of sharing the ever-growing burden with other sannyasins who might have been capable of providing possible alternatives. Too threatening for her, it would seem.

      Although I agree with Deepa that the whole project was almost certainly doomed from the start, given the inevitable opposition from the U.S. government and vested interests, Sheela’s poisonous pr policy did neither Osho nor the enterprise any favours.

      And who masterminded all those crimes that made it all seem like just another psychotically crazy cult scenario, perfect fodder for the media to feast upon, ensuring the project would implode and self-destruct, with Osho hung out to dry as a criminal?

  10. Deepa says:

    I also heard people say that if Sheela had done her homework it would have been better not to buy that particular plot of land, which had no planning permission – and buy a different property – and everything would have been just fine.

    Wow. You don’t really understand.

    If they would have bought a different piece of land – the government would have tried to destroy the commune at all costs, regardless. They would have found another way, like planting drugs, or another excuse.

    Look at what happened at Waco…they eventually found an excuse, and they did not care, they literally bulldozed the building and set it on fire, and let everyone burn.

    They would have found an excuse, even if it was a different property. With David Koresh, first they started a media campaign, writing in the newspapers that he was having underage sex, allegations that were unproven – but the real purpose of the articles was to prepare the public opinion for the following onslaught. Kind of like accusing Saddam of having weapons of self-destruction, and then start the Iraq war.

    Another accusation was “illegal weapons”. Also unproved.

    Then they went in and gassed women and children…and then burned and bulldozed the whole place.

    Why did they do it? Why bulldoze and kill everyone?

    Maybe if they hadn’t done it, it would have come out that they did not have “illegal weapons”, and David Koresh did not actually have sex with underage women. Just false accusations so they could go in and destroy the commune.

    So they had to bulldoze the place and kill everyone, just to destroy the evidence.

    So wake up, people!
    These people would have destroyed the Ranch regardless. You are dealing with criminals.

    All they needed was false allegations, or to plant some drugs, anything.

    • Parmartha says:

      There was a perfectly good plan to go to Kutch for a bigger commune in 1979, and where Indians like Laxmi would have been dealing with Indians.

      America was a different ball game, and if handled by Americans could have worked.

      The original problem needs to be seen. Simply that Poona was too small for the numbers attracted. The Ranch was a psychologically flawed response and grandiose in its psychological roots.

      The burden on Sheela was her own making. Lack of delegation, and almost a scared work force. Other leadership might well have handled things much better and those Deepa wants to argue did not take responsibility had no way of doing so under the Sheela system.

      Sheela coud have resigned at any time and should have done when she realised she was unequal to it.

      I must say, as someone who knows Rashid, the criticism of him is hysterical.

      He was already a fully-fledged farmer, and with a great deal of experience of reclamation, etc. Therefore suited to the greater picture of the whole Ranch as an ecological whole. A clear example of not being secure enough to delegate, which always allows those with such major responsibilities not to crack up.

      • Arpana says:

        I am/was under the impression Kutch folded because the water supply wasn’t reliable; for the number of people around at that time, let alone allowing for expansion.

  11. Lokesh says:

    Deepa, you speak a lot about “the big picture”. I would be interested to hear what your vision of the big picture actually is.

  12. Arpana says:

    Would you care to share with us what you were up to during these times, Deepa?

  13. sw. veet (francesco) says:

    A rough analysis of yours, Deepa:

    You start by saying that the authorities were plotting from the beginning to destroy the Ranch, and that this was obvious to anyone who had not been so naive as to keep his glance down on the hens.

    You make the daring parallel with David Koresh that seems to me more connected with Reverend Jim Jones than with Osho, excluding that in those contexts can be verified not only simple crimes but violations of universal human rights.

    It seems to me that in the US there are many community experiences of different religious inspiration (from Scientologists to Amish) and as far as someone can plot against them, to be effective, they must define and legitimise the framework of that action politically, looking at the Law Constitution of that country.

    If it is true that someone has decided to wage war against the US sovereign government, even if it is often outside the Constitutional law, using salmonella and Uzi…well, then this is very naive, better to wash pots and enjoy the Master before he is arrested or killed.

    The limitation of my reasoning is that even the Constitutional Charter has a Court that decides its interpretation and application. If the Supreme Court has no independent judgment from politics and the plutocracy it could decide that even a session of encountering violates human rights, thus justifying sending policemen.

    I heard Brad Blanton that in the ‘Radical Honest’ sessions every time he embraces someone he theoretically risks a harassment complaint.

    If it is true that we become more and more slaves then this is a time of our ‘political’ commitment, as a sovereign people of so-called democratic countries, with the intent to give legitimacy to those new needs not yet foreseen or protected by the Constitution; situations that any Judge of a Court, who wants apply the laws of politicians inspired by constitutional law, must sooner or later face, such as when he must judge the right of a black woman to sit on the bus.

  14. swamishanti says:

    Organic, stripey wild pigs, newly born running, squealing through the woods…
    Wild deer bounce along through the undergrowth and the Majestic stag with his antlers appears in our dreams.

    Above, a flock of ducks flies by.

    Meanwhile, in a book I was reading recently:

    “It got down to minus 30Cand I was working outside caring for the chickens, these creatures die if they do not get regular water and it was freezing solid, very fast.
    We heated water and carried it to the thirsty chickens as much as was humanly possible in those cold conditions, but they died in large numbers.
    When the temperature crept back to 0C it felt like springtime.

    Osho remained in silence for three years and gave all his directives only to Sheela, the commune manager.
    This gave her tremendous power that she was to abuse almost beyond belief.
    As the commune grew into a small city, our relations with the neighbours were in constant decline….”

    Maitreya Ishwara, ‘Unity’

    • Parmartha says:

      Ta. Might be worth explaining that Maitryea worked on the Ranch, at least according to him, and had the experience so many who write here did not.

      • swamishanti says:

        Yes, apparently he worked on the Ranch after spending some time in the Hollywood hills and taking what seems quite a large amount of ecstasy, and appreciated the physical work and drug-free environment, which he found brought his health back after a bit of a binge.

        He wrote that he left the Ranch after Sheela brought in the homeless people and then bussed them off again, something which he couldn`t accept as reasonable.

        However, he didn`t lose faith in Osho and met him again when he in Kathmandu.

  15. madhu dagmar frantzen says:

    Good to come to know what kind of German asshole you are, Satchit,
    when reading your following lines (shared with us all at 7pm today):

    “To think that oneself is responsible is also a belief.

    Believe it or not!

    And btw, sometimes a bit of fun is also not bad.”

    • satchit says:

      “Good to come to know what kind of German asshole you are, Satchit, when reading your following lines (shared with us all at 7pm today)”

      This communication was with SD, not with you, Madhu, even when you can read it. So calling me out of the blue “asshole” is not really nice. Maybe it’s old sannyas style – but still it is not really nice.

      Don’t you have already enough trouble with your neighbours? Looking for more?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg-1qW2xAU4

  16. shantam prem says:

    I want to know from the esteemed bloggers about one simple fact:
    Can their Bhagwan commit some miscalculations and mistakes, or, being an enlightened one, He has to be right always, which means every Rajneesh is right always?

    MOD:
    WHAT DO YOU MEAN which means every Rajneesh has to be right always, Shantam, PLEASE?

    Shantam:
    “Rajneesh” I have used as a generic term for modern day light bulbs.

    If Buddha was a mud lamp, twentieth century has given two eco-bulbs with the same name.

    Maybe we can use “Rajneesh” as synonym for Buddhahood.

    MOD:
    We’d prefer you to stick to ‘Buddha’ or ‘enlightened one’, etc., please, Shantam!

  17. Swami Ishtarising17 says:

    Go on go on bhagwan go on go on go on go on Bhagwan go on go on go on go on go on go on go on go on go on Bhagwan…

    Oh feck it feck it feck ity feck feck………. Arsssssss….

    https://amp.independent.ie/irish-news/bhagwan-and-me-ireland-not-immune-to-draw-of-controversial-indian-guru-36801779.html

  18. Parmartha says:

    Sannyas News does not know who Deepa, who posted yesterday, is. We may review our policy on people who post and of whom we know nothing.

    The Netflix film gave an extraordinary amount of rope to Sheela and Shanti Bhadra.

    Please be reminded that Sheela, Puja and Shanti Bhadra were given long sentences in 1986 (as below). On this, one may well ask why in the end they served such short sentences. Also why none of them used the defence or offered evidence for the tired platitude that ‘Osho told us to do it’:

    If such evidence existed the FBI could have brought substantial charges against Osho himself.

    1986: PORTLAND, Ore.
    “His former secretary pleaded guilty to attempted murder, electronic eavesdropping, immigration fraud and engineering a salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 750 people.

    Ma Anand Sheela, 36, was given concurrent, 4 1/2-year federal prison terms and a suspended 5-year sentence Tuesday after admitting her guilt before U.S. District Judge Edward Leavy.

    On the state charges, Wasco County Circuit Judge John Jelderks sentenced Sheela to 20 years in prison and Puja to 15 years for attempting to murder the doctor and assaulting the county officials. Sheela also was sentenced to 20 years for arson.

    Sheela admitted creating an electronic eavesdropping system at Rajneeshpuram, the sect’s commune-city, and conspiring to spread salmonella bacteria on food in 10 restaurants in the area.

    The five-year immigration fraud sentence, for helping to arrange more than 400 sham marriages among the guru’s disciples, was suspended on the condition that she leave the United States after completing her prison time.

    “For the rest of your life, it would be improbable that you would ever be able to return” (to the United States), Leavy told her.

    The restaurant poisonings were aimed at sickening Wasco County voters as part of an attempt by the sect to gain political control over the county, federal investigators said.

    Another commune leader, Ma Anand Puja, was sentenced to 4 1/2 years for conspiracy in the salmonella poisonings, to be followed by 3 years probation for wiretapping. Puja, a 38-year-old Filipino who led the commune’s Rajneesh Medical Corp., is not required to leave the country.

    Sheela also pleaded guilty to state charges of plotting a poison-syringe attack on the guru’s physician, giving poisoned drinking water to two Wasco County officials and setting a fire that damaged the county planning office.

    A third former sect leader, Ma Shanti Bhadra, 40, of Perth, Australia, pleaded guilty to attempting to murder the doctor and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Bhadra, treasurer of the sect’s religious organisation, was accused of injecting the poison in Swami Devaraj.”

  19. shantam prem says:

    Was there no hand of Cosmic Intelligence behind the end of Rajneeshpuram?

    Blaming one big child for stealing the toys – how many years more?

    • satyadeva says:

      There goes the ‘It’s All a Mystery’ Freak…How about using your own intelligence, Shantam, instead of suggesting something that can never be proved?

      For example, why not ask yourself: If “Cosmic Intelligence” ended Rajneeshpuram, then why should it not have also ended Pune Two?

      Oh no, you’ll certainly declare, “That can’t be right at all, because it doesn’t suit my personal preferences! Besides, that went against what Osho wanted.”

      Since when have your personal preferences been ‘cosmically important’? And how do you know what Osho might have wanted after a few years? Perhaps what’s happened over there and in the whole policy of OIF is exactly what’s required, whether “Cosmic Intelligence” is involved or not.

      Besides, it’s happened and you can do nothing to change it, you’re just under the illusion that your ‘campaigning’ means something, makes a difference. The only difference it makes is to your egoic ‘self’, making you feel important, ‘right’.

      Re your anger, resentment, sense of injustice and personal deprivation because of it all, as you seem to have some sort of ‘soft spot’ for Sheela how about taking on board one of her famous sayings?

      “Tough titties”, old boy!

      • satyadeva says:

        P.S:
        Haven’t you read yesterday’s discussion between Satchit and me re the influence (or otherwise) of “Existence” (aka “Cosmic Intelligence”, or according to Frank, “God”)? See my post of 3.56pm, for instance.

  20. Parmartha says:

    Sheela and gang admitted creating an electronic eavesdropping system at Rajneeshpuram and pleaded guilty to it in court.

    Very little discussion about this, but it was very extensive and included the public phone booths that we ordinary sannyasins used to contact friends in Europe and elsewhere.

    This was a crime against Sannyas as far as I am concerned and an attempt to ‘control’ the whole commune in a miniscule way.
    Her wiretapping of Osho’s own household was a crime against enlightenment itself.

    • shantam prem says:

      Trust deficiency increased with the addition of new players and influence of money.

      Parmartha, it is your right to blame solely Sheela and protect all others.

      • Parmartha says:

        Shantam, you have not read my other posts.

        I have always said that the Ranch fiasco was the result of Sheela’s cabal (an often underrated contributor), but also Osho and his household, and also the 3,000 sannyasins who lived there uncritically until the end.

        Your first sentence makes no sense to me, and surprised it got through the moderator.

        MOD:
        WE THINK Shantam MEANS THE ARRIVAL OF THE VERY WEALTHY ‘HOLLYWOOD SET’ (AND/OR PERHAPS OTHER MEGA-RICH PEOPLE) CREATED FURTHER MISTRUST OF THOSE IN POWER AT THE RANCH AND AT THE PUNE ASHRAM – IN HIM, PRESUMABLY.

        PERHAPS HE’LL CONFIRM OR DENY THIS?

        • shantam prem says:

          You are right, with new arrivals with wealth and influence Sheela became unsure about her position. It is very much possible that Bhagwan was in the process of firing her and replacing her with real American face.

          More than that, we must not forget it was not Sheela who brought Bhagwan to Mexican Authorities.

          Egoist minds of disciples brought endarkenment.

          • satyadeva says:

            Perhaps you’d have preferred “Bhagwan” to have remained at the Ranch with his presence there precipitating a potential shoot-out with the U.S. National Guard, ending up with dead and injured bodies littering the place, Shantam?

            Has it ever occurred to you that your views on the various ‘powers-that-be’ in Sannyas are heavily influenced by your personal plight? And by nationalist-cum-racial preferences?

            I suggest that you consider whether your final line might well apply to you rather than the ones you’re so happy to condemn.

    • swamishanti says:

      Also, another thing that is often unmentioned and which Sheela was not prosecuted for was the attempted murder of Vivek, who lived in Osho`s household, and the elaborate plan which was unveiled in recent years in ‘The Day We Got Guns’ by Rajesh, who worked as the technician, a plot which involved Rajesh disconnecting an electric fence, a secret tunnel underneath Osho`s trailer, which led to a trapdoor, and another syringe full of poison which was meant to murder Vivek.

      Luckily for Vivek, this plan was foiled along with a lot of Sheela`s other (known) attempts.

    • Arpana says:

      Do you think that because of the emphasis on what went wrong, those eight people, there is a danger that a lot of sannyasins are actually afraid to say how much they got out of the experience; they have come to doubt the positivity of that time for them, feel what happened for them is invalidated by what they now see as foolishness on their part?

      They also have to put up with constantly being told, by individuals who had run away from Sannyas, weren’t at the Ranch, what dipshits they are. (One of my 3 pet hates is people who sit in the pavilion and throw rocks at the players).

      We should resist others dictating to us how we perceive and talk about
      our own experiencing. I grew up during those years, and I wasn’t entirely infantile, I had a degree of maturity at the start.

      P.S:
      I look back on so much of my life and see dark and light mixed together
      now, instead of just dark.

      P.P.S:
      I really like Dean Carter’s contribution. Balanced and upbeat, without being in denial.
      Would like to see a lot more contributions like that, so we can publish a whacking great tome of everything that was positive about that time.

      • Parmartha says:

        Arps,
        Thanks.
        The experience I had was mine, and I do not dismiss it at all. Many fantastic experiences, and loving relationships without dependence.
        Whatever Sheela was doing was all outside of that, that was my inner and to them invisible, cosmology.

        So yes, it would be perfectly right to say many had incredible experiences we would never had elsewhere, but they were IN SPITE OF, not because of the Cabal, which many of us deliberately avoided from early on.

  21. Arpana says:

    That’s a description of childhood for many.
    Lots of kids have traumatic childhoods,
    and even more compared with his.
    Lots of kids have a horrible childhood compared to that.

    I saw Tim Guest tell Gaby Logan a sannyasin grown-up
    had been snotty to him, and he looked suitably gratified at
    how appalled Gaby was by this horror story.

    And I was sitting there thinking, “Really, Tim old bean,
    a grown-up was snotty to you once? You led a sheltered
    life, didn’t you?”