While makers of the Netflix show Wild Wild Country focus on the controversies around Osho, ardent follower Sangita Kathiwada speaks about what they missed. Published in DNA, May 6, 2018.
Imagine making a six-hour documentary on an experiment based on Einstein’s approach to the outer cosmology with barely a mention of the context: his theory of relativity. That is what the Netflix docuseries Wild Wild Country did: it made a six-hour program about an experiment based on Osho’s approach to the inner and outer cosmology with barely a mention of the context: Osho’s vision of a new world populated by the new man.
There’s a lot that Osho did for the larger good of humanity that the series seems to have completely ignored. His philosophy extended to the betterment of mankind both in terms of the outer environment and the inner being. The biggest benefit of the Osho communes, which spread to all walks of life, is meditation. His followers in Pune and Oregon begin and end their day with meditation, and spend many a quiet hour in-between connecting with a higher plane of consciousness. However, it is not all quiet contemplation. Dynamic meditation, as preached by Osho, can find you screaming, shouting, jumping, etc., to release pent-up emotion, thereby acting as a tool for anger management. The devotees express themselves in a safe, soundproof auditorium first thing in the morning, to begin the day by releasing troubling emotions, creating a more positive outlook for the rest of their day.
It’s not just emotional betterment that one looks at but also cerebral improvement. Himself an artist whose abstract paintings and sketches have found their way to galleries, Osho ensured that his disciples too learned a creative art. A wide range of workshops take place on a daily basis at the ashram even now – from art and pottery classes to tai chi and dance. Among those who benefited from this philosophy are the likes of Vishal Bharadwaj and AR Rahman.
Osho believed in improving the aesthetic of one’s environment. It was following this principle that a dirty, fetid nala (gutter) and its surroundings in Pune were transformed into an Osho garden. In Oregon too, acres of barren land were converted into the ashram.
Decades before sustainable living became a trend, members of the Osho ashram were living an organic lifestyle within the commune. Osho did not go around doing charity, but his teachings aimed at responsible citizens, who would respect their fellow human beings and environment.
Wild Wild Country focuses on the controversial free love aspect of Osho’s teachings and the people of the nearby town of Antelope, and the scandal surrounding his right-hand woman Ma Anand Sheela. It was a series of five talks (out of a total of more than 5,000) in Mumbai almost 50 years ago for which Osho was rewarded with the demeaning epithet ‘sex-guru’. Perhaps, one should look at the other side of the story.
Sangita Kathiwada is a fashion entrepreneur who lives and works in Mumbai.