Der Spiegel: Under Whitebeard’s Spell

Media Watch

Subtitle: “He called himself Bhagwan and in the end Osho. He was at first the sex– then the Rolls Royce Guru. 22 years after the mystic’s death his ideas live on in hundreds of meditation centers – and in Germany even in communes.

In addition to several articles on sannyasins in Germany last month, just before our editorial cutoff date Der Spiegel published yet another article about the inexplicable existence of Osho and his people.

Spiritual commune Parimal, Gut Huebenthal.

Enlightenment in the cave isn’t enough.

Bhagwan veteran Elten: Private revolution in Pune.

Bhagwan veteran Elten: Private revolution in Pune.

The Osho Meditation Resort in Pune

The Osho Meditation Resort in Pune

Bhagwan at the Rolls Royce parade in Oregon around 1984, former Bhagwan intimate Sheela: “A childlike need for luxury.”

Bhagwan at the Rolls Royce parade in Oregon around 1984, Sheela: “A childlike need for luxury.”



Although the style of writing is typically acerbic and at times taunting, it misses the usual all-encompassing Spiegel sting. The 6-page story features Satyananda, Kavish, Anasha, Ramateertha and several other sannyasins including Sheela (who maintains she was innocent), and the author reports about various centers, such as Parimal, Osho Stadt, and Uta.

After quoting Satyananda as saying, “You want to write about Osho? You can only fail. A mystic like Osho cannot be explained with the mind.” – the author quips, “Perhaps after all. Because 22 years after the master’s death, the movement appears quite vigorous on all continents.” – and proceeds to speak about the activities at the Osho Tabaan Meditation Center in Hamburg.

The main body of text about Osho, Pune and Rajneeshpuram is heavily based on their biased archive material and ‘unrestrained sex and money’ remain favorite key phrases.

Upon visiting the Pune resort, the author wants to speak with members of the leadership about various money issues because “it is doubtful whether those disciples who continue to do Osho’s business making millions in profits with his books and therapies can show a testament, but the Pune leaders refused.”

Overall it is a descriptive piece without much personal bias by the author Carsten Holm, a refreshing change to most of the reporters from Der Spiegel in the past who appeared condescending and snide. There is clearly an appreciation of sannyasins’ activities.

“For the meditating sannyasins all over the world Pune is far away. In the meantime they have their centers all over the globe, in Taiwan and Argentina, in Mexico and Greece. There are 83 Osho centers in Italy alone, 28 in the USA, 22 in India and 19 in Russia. Sannyasins are part of the city council in Byron Bay and in Thailand, Pranesh Pascal Sacher, an heir to the Viennese cake producers, opened a beautifully situated meditation resort. Necessarily conspiratorial, a group of sannyasins meet regularly in a private house in the Iranian capital Tehran.”

Finally he speaks of his visit to Goa: “As the sannyasins say, it has been 22 years and a few days since their master left his body… veterans of the movement meet at Osho Beach in Candolim.” – and ends on a final note, ”We wanted enlightenment, says CIA-Sam, and if we advanced a few millimeters, than that’s a lot after all.”

Read an excerpt from an interview Osho gave to Der Spiegel here 

Bhagawati, Osho News

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