by Yamini Redewill
Coming on the heels of Netflix’s documentary, “Wild Wild Country”, Â A Wild Ride to Self Love with Osho shows another side to the story, which I personally experienced. The Netflix series has gained worldwide attention detailing one of the most incredible episodes in recent American history when Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, also known as Osho, and 3,000 of his disciples descended upon a remote piece of land in Central Oregon to build a Utopian City.
This story was laid to rest and forgotten after Bhagwan was deported… until now.
I was with Bhagwan from 1981 to 1985 in India and Oregon, and it was one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of my life. Giving up a successful career as a costume coordinator for movies and TV in Hollywood, and a strong Buddhist practice where I was celibate for 13 years, I followed my heart (and my hungry undernourished libido) and jumped on board the Bhagwan train to India to be with my spiritual master forever.
This journey began after reading Osho’s book, Hammer on the Rock,,which was recommended by my therapist who worried that I was desperately in need of a different kind of stimulation, other than chanting. I was so excited, knowing my life was about to change radically.
Sadly, I arrived in India two days too late as Bhagwan had gone into quarantine because of a chicken pox outbreak. When he finally emerged a month later for our first satsang (musical meditation), he was in permanent silence. No more discourses, no more darshans or personal energy transmissions were to be given. I felt betrayed, but I stayed, thinking maybe he would change his mind. And he did, he decided to move to America pulling the rug right out from under me. So there I was: betrayed by my beloved Master again.
What did I do? I went back to America, of course, and put myself on a bus to his ranch in Oregon called Rajneeshpuram.Â I was there to help build Osho’s dream: a Utopian city of communal love. They put me to work and my first job was as a gas station attendant, and then a truck driver and then a house cleaner: all skills I had little or no experience or training in. Like so many others who were professionals and college grads, some with PhD’s, we did whatever it took to be with Him.
What happened there has been well documented in the new Netflix series “Wild Wild Country”. Most of us knew little of what legal battles were being waged between Bhagwan’s secretary Ma Anand Sheela and the townspeople of Antelope, the supervisor of Wasco County and Oregon politicians who were trying to subvert all our efforts to become a legal city. They wanted us out. And it went further than that: drunk with power because Bhagwan was in permanent silence, Sheela cooked up one illegal scheme after another to fool the politicians and win little skirmishes (including a bio terror attack in Klamath Falls), which eventually resulted in her arrest and Bhagwan’s deportation and the dissolution of our beautiful dream.
My book is more about everyday life in the commune and my living in an alternate state of bliss and victimhood.
Bliss: to be so close to Bhagwan along with my loving friends and doing something extraordinary like helping to build a world class utopian city and Victimhood: my constant wound which led me into a dark hole that became my catalyst for transformation.
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