Netflix’s documentary on Osho and the whole Rajneeshpuram scandal handles details brilliantly. Here are just some thoughts from the series. These are not judgements on anyone’s lifestyles or beliefs, do not be offended by it.
The idea to create and initial progress on Rajneeshpuram, about creating a self-sustaining community that was all about love and caring about each other. The initial resistance although present, was one of uncertainity and not so much of hate.
But a problem with the resistance that I agree with was the construction of hotels in what was essentially a ashram / pilgrimage. Why commercialise? These “Sanyasis” do not believe in non-violenece, and promote obscenity in their media presences? I understand you need more people to create an impact but publicity via sensationilisation for something so pure seems unethical.
The number of contradictions seems outrageous. A leader who preaches renunciation also enjoys bulky diamond bracelets, sanyasis told to indulge in marriage and encouraged to have children, which goes against the very word “Sanyas”. Sant Gyaneshwar (a marathi poet) was the child of a sanyasi and people around him treated poorly, because the thought of a sanyasi having children was conflicted.
In such a society, who dictates what’s right and wrong? Everything is subjective, based on what the supreme leader believes, and I’m not even talking about North Korea.
When Bhagwan shree Rajneesh was to be prosecuted, although he was innocent and the lawyers said they’ve never seen anyone being called to the court with so little evidence, but I consider it was not because only of the immigration fraud, but the tactics the cult (largely Sheila) took to expand their community base.
Something that I did not understand till the very end is why people (the Americans who joined Rajneeshpuram at the very beginning) do not wish to understand the practises, but instead consider the discourses as lemmas; never to be questioned or being argues about. However this was answered by the original residents of Antelope well enough. Because people need a sense of belonging, they are willing to accept things that might not be conceptually sound. People who were questioining the existence of God, discovering the meaning of life, find this person, this mystic Guru from India who claims to understand how the universe works, maybe this was reason enough for someone susceptible enough to blindly follow the will of this Guru.
As a closing note, here’s an anecdote from a book about the life of Swami Vivekananda. Young Naren was still conflicted in his beliefs and was visiting Shree Ramakrishna. These meetings often involved discussions; often disagreements about fundamental thoughts. On one occassion, Ramakrishna questioned him, Why do you insist on meeting me if you don’t agree with my views?. His answer was something on the lines of I do not have to agree to everything you say or believe.. Ramakrishna’s reply was Test me as the moneychangers test their coins. You must not believe me without testing me thoroughly. And that is how a teacher must be. Open to questions, open to objective tests, without fear. That does not mean entertaining rogue entities, but honest devoted followers need motivation to keep going from time to time.Some rights reserved.