I am quite fond of Osho. I find what he says simple, uncomplicated, logical yet mystical. And something that has an aura of giving freedom to yourself above everything else. So, it was fascinating to receive this book Don’t Kill Him written by his former secretary, Ma Anand Sheela. One who was responsible for setting up his commune in Oregon, USA. And moving the whole settlement from Pune to Oregon. One who was supposed to be the most powerful person in the commune after Osho himself. She speaks through this memoir almost after two and a half decades of her parting ways from the commune. And two decades after passing away of Rajneesh. I guess that is the time people need to come out of the situation. And be objective enough to write about what happened. Though their point of view will still prevail.

For me, this book puts forth what I believe happens in every Ashram and every commune to a different extent or at different levels of subtlety. All the Gurus are eccentric people. Who in the name of communes and communities actually practice autocracy within their limited domains. All of them are running after rich and famous in the guise of providing spiritual enlightenment. They are all building their empires by manipulating people, by having a stage-managed drama through a dedicated team. And all of them are excellent orators, well-read people. Who understand psychology particularly mass psychology very well.

They have very low regard for the law. And they have existed in all societies all the time. Probably no one, and definitely no insider has written so openly about the way communes are built. And how the outer sheen has nothing to do with what goes inside these, the huge charity funded campuses.

It is a very personal memoir, of someone who spent a lot of time with Osho. Whom she chooses to call Bhagwan. And always refers to him as He with a capital H. As a young girl, he mesmerized her. Saw potential in her to be his pillar. And converted her into a Sanyasin under his wing. He puts her through various tasks. And grooms her to take on big tasks. But holds her reins tightly in his hands. She takes care of him, his commune and manages the outside world for him. She loves him – absolutely because nothing can drive a woman better than being in love. Though she was married to different people at different points in time during her time at the commune. She felt ecstasy with his smile & touch. And that drove her to limits of what she could do for him.

One fine day, it all became too much to handle. And she left the commune. Only to realize that the lover she served all her life has turned scornful and ended up in jail on various charges. She does give her side of the story of charges. And how she got her punishment reduced because of her good behavior in jail. She talks extensively about the nexus that exists in the legal and political system of the USA and how unfair they can be. I will not get into the charges part as I have heard only her part of the story. But what makes it an interesting read is her still being in love with Bhagwan Rajneesh.

I found it amazing that you can see a person inside out, no matter how influential he is. You can see how he exploits the world and how he exploits you. But you are still in love with him or shall I say under his hypnosis. I am not sure if she still believes in him or she maintains that as her public persona as being his secretary may have been her biggest identity. And she is an intelligent and capable woman. For the most part of the book Don’t Kill Him, she is sharing the story of her life with Bhagwan Rajneesh. But she stops her story abruptly by saying Do not Kill Bhagwan.

She has chosen to live in Switzerland, the country of her last husband and runs an old age home there. I am keen to know why she chose to speak about her time with commune now, and would she have chosen her life to be something else? Did power not influence her or drive her mad as it does to most people?

Don’t Kill Him is unusual life and interesting story…

You may buy this book – Don’t Kill Him Story of My Life with Bhagwan Rajneesh by Ma Anand Sheela at Amazon.

Don’t Kill Him Story of My Life with Bhagwan Rajneesh by Ma Anand Sheela

17 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you, Anuradha for the review. I have read a different version of the review from Hindu newspaper, and your review made to go and read the book.

  2. while we go through such characters who have made great difference in living, I feel we have a strange connect with the materialistic world and spirituality. Some shift sides fast and are able to accommodate both while others fail to do so. This wide variation makes them grow popular….. Anu, What is your saying,,,,Ma Anand Sheela is someone like this….

  3. It’s just a way an outcast wants you to interpret the guru – most of it is usually sugar coated negative propaganda…:)

  4. Great review, Anu. I read Osho 20 years ago and still find it refreshing to read him sometimes. I found your second para most interesting – where you present “Anu’s theory on Gurus” 🙂 For example, you say, “All of them are running after rich and famous in guise of providing spiritual enlightenment. ” I am curious whether you are skeptical of spiritual enlightenment as a phenomenon or a guru’s ability to guide or both?

    • Vinay, I am skeptical about these mass Guru’s mass formula based enlightenment process. I have observed them from closed quarters, and I know they are building their empires in the name of spirituality. My fear is that people may stop believing in spirituality or what can also be called Inner Journey, given these materialistic babas. What she mentions in this book, to my knowledge is the limited literature on the inside happenings of an ashram, that does promotions and campaigns just like any FMCG marketing does to gain follower share.

  5. as i know, i know rajnish through his book only, and through book i say that he is a very good, unbiased explainer. as far i know if did he not come at least i do not know the meaning of ved, upnisad, geeta and some other sacred books’s teachings. he gives me fair thought and power to explain and understand and ultimately i say that feel me like that i may reach towards or know to gods. besides this in his personal life every one is common and ordinary people, as he told several times. so, i don’t want to go any one’s personal life. Ma sheela what is the meaning to tell about him after twenty years after his die. If u dare, u could tell it or write the book just after leaving him. As u stated it is only time pass for u so did i also doing time pass to leave a comment.

  6. Dear Anuradha,
    Thanks for the review. She is Independent, hard working, down on earth beautiful lady. She believes in action more than words. She loves him deeply. She knows how beautiful and potential he has.

    If someone knows Bhagwan rightly then it’s Sheela.

    My opinion.

    Nitesh

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