Wendelin wrote a letter regarding his perceptions about the activities at the Osho Resort in Pune.
Pune, India – End of June 2012
An era of 26 years is ending these days. I have come to Pune recently to sell my flat. Everything around the sale went fine. An endless number of forms and contracts had to be obtained, filled in, signed, counter signed, again signed. Since I had gains I’m eligible to pay income tax. So I need an Indian PAN-card (Personal Account Number) from the income tax department. That kept me busy too: proofs, requirements, copies, clarifications, more forms, electricity bills…
The first time I came to Pune was in 1986 when Osho was still in Kathmandu. Then I kept coming here every winter until I moved my main place of residence to Pune in 1993. I stayed here for 7 years. I then left right after the new millennium had started (summer 2000) and went back to Germany to settle in Freiburg.
The reasons for leaving this place back then where several. One of the main reasons was certainly this one: what used to be a wonderful Osho Commune International had changed dramatically over time. From being a vivid, multidimensional place with friends from all over the world with a large number of people in the management, the same was taken over by a very few individuals. Most of those who were appointed by Osho either left or were made to leave directly or indirectly.
Simultaneously an important part of the activities – the therapy groups – were also streamlined in a way that most of the somewhat free souls and individuals would find difficult to cope with: all the new rules and partly stupid regulations the ones now in charge had come up with.
While all this happened, a number of people opposing the new developments were banned from coming to the commune. They realized that not only their spiritual home had changed its spirit, now they were not even allowed to visit their place anymore! They were not able to meet their friends where they had been at home for years, and not allowed to sit in the Samadhi, where Osho’s cinerary urn is located.
The management never seemed to feel any necessity to explain such banning policy. Nor did the remaining people feel courageous enough to question such decisions! Who wants to be thrown out as well? Many of us had no plan B for being in or near the Commune and being thrown out was a bit similar to becoming an outcast.
Whoever would question the management would soon hear the killer argument of being ‘negative’ and not understanding Osho’s vision properly. It was understood and obvious that the management would underline their prerogative of interpreting the spirit of Osho by simply kicking out people voicing a different opinion. They probably have no idea how many people left with sadness and bitter feelings – never to come back again.
Now, the place is aesthetically beautiful compared to the surroundings in Pune – but where are the people? Apart from the management there are also others living in the place that is now called ‘Meditation Resort’. It would be highly unfair saying that those who live there without asking questions to the management are spineless. But they know that their risk of being thrown out is real and high when they dare to oppose, raise questions or if they just demand explanations for decisions made. As to my perception this place has died as my spiritual home. For it has lost its spirit when it was taken over by those claiming to have the sole right to interpret Osho in their way while establishing an atmosphere of fear.
Newcomers or people who come only for a short time, consume and leave again might not feel and know any of the above. But to me it has lost the right to claim to be a guardian of Osho’s legacy. Because THAT right derives from a time when it was still a meeting place of thousands of friends who would come and spend time here every year in the spirit of the master: truthful to the moment, courageous, authentic and inviting the change, experimenting life. Working together full time, part time, whatever was suitable to the work and to the visitor.
Back then we participated in Commune life and were not just reduced to consumers of services like today; services rendered today by uniformed employees who have no connection with Osho. A person like me feels awkward moving around in a maroon robe and being served by uniformed employees – rather colonial! As a visitor it has become impossible to just jump in and help a bit. They don’t allow that anymore! Why? For me it was always that daily applied attitude in work and activity, where Osho’s spirit would manifest in us and come to life. Laughter and fun would just happen and needn’t be prescribed. THAT – together with meditation was the lived spirit of Osho for me.
Let’s jump to now, 2012: There is someone who became very annoyed about the way the current management is running the place and demands transparency about the decisions made. Particularly the management’s attempt to shift certain properties from one trust to another under dubious surrounding circumstances caught the attention and suspicion of a group of Sannyasins headed by Premgeet and Anadi. They explain their activities on their website www.oshowork.org
Guess what happened to them? Sure enough they banned Premgeet along with those who support him from entering the place! The resort management will try everything to bluff their way through the court case ahead – by claiming they are not answerable to individuals, etc. and by twisting things – the typical lawyer liar trip. Factually there are 2-3 people who are responsible for all these years of management resulting in an almost empty place. Jayesh, Amrito, Mukesh…
Premgeet is receiving support from many people – also from within the resort – but they request not to be named publicly. They fear trouble because people opposing know well how the system works: they can be escorted to the exit any time and live inside the resort only at the mercy of the management!
This is a typical drawback I have observed so many times during my 30 years being with Osho: Herd instinct; people are shit scared standing for their truth because they could be thrown out from the flock. And the sheep dog knows: just biting one sheep every now and then is enough to keep them together. Others see it and are warned. Specifically the instrument of banning people from common activities has become the most primitive tool to remain in power.
While suggestions, sharing and a critical discussion here and there are needed and normal in every healthy commune in order to develop and stay strong – in this place everyone asking critical questions comes under suspicion of being negative, shaking the resort’s credit and risks being ushered out. The speed with which people will be kicked out depends on the social standing of the person.
To open up the place again and fuel it with fresh life would be so much needed to overcome a state that is depressing to those who knew what the place once was! What’s needed for that? Not only would the management have to admit that they don’t know how to reverse the process of so many people having left over the years never to come back; many with bitterness and frustration in their hearts. They would have to admit not knowing how to invite the people again rather than hurting and snubbing people by treating them inadequately and patronizing.
They might know how to erect impressive buildings – but not how to attract people and how to invite Osho’s spirit again into a living commune. Needless to say that they would have to stop claiming that only they know how Osho is to be understood. A side-trip here and there from rigid ideas always helps to see things new. It is felt so unbearable listening to those in charge with their constant attitude of claiming prerogative interpretation of Osho! Without a change in their attitude I would not even consider talking to the management. Who wants to waste their time and end up having to listen to the very same versions of yesterday again and again with reference to what Osho said? While Osho’s very words are being edited by people who do not enjoy peoples’ trust! Osho’s own words are actually being changed, dates removed and often taken out of context, streamlined according to Amrito’s taste.
But also those others living in the resort and outside, all those who are concerned about the place: why chicken out?! Is that the spirit of Osho? Be an apple-shiner with cheek muscles hurting from the automatic smile on the face?
I for my part see no reason why I should go to the resort if my option is to merely be able to consume and to listen to dressed-up explanations why the place has come to such pitiful emptiness. People who are interested in transformation and aspire to truth and honesty don’t usually come to places where their inspiration is suffocated, where they find a system of yes-man. Change that, invite more help and ideas into the management and many might come back! If it is not too late yet!
If I will be banned now too from visiting the place which was once my home – then so be it! Who wants to give in to fear?!
With love from Wendelin (aka Wendelin Ackermann)
Previously posted on Facebook
July 4th 2012
Meanwhile I have received many replies and also many personal messages. Some people prefer to share their views not publicly for reasons only they know…
I observe that I also receive applause from the wrong quarters: people who have been badmouthing the resort for many years just for the sake of it should not use my sharing for their cause. My point by sharing my own experience is to explain why this place is no longer my spiritual home – because it ceased to develop and transform through a continuous process of learning together.
However, if people feel inclined to take some time off from their restless life and want to have some vacation in a beautiful meditation resort they can have a great time in 17, Koregaon Park!