Don’t Kill Him by Ma Anand Sheela
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 of 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…