Out of Germany!

Film Reviews

Sargama reviewed the film, Bhagwan – Die Deutschen und der Guru (Bhagwan – The Germans and the Guru). We thought that although not everybody understands German, the footage is too beautiful not to be shown worldwide.

The link to the film will be available until February 2022.

Bhagwan – Die Deutschen und der Guru (Bhagwan – The Germans and the Guru)
by Jobst Knigge, 90 minutes
Germany 2020
produced by WDR (German public TV)
available only in German language
broadcast on February 15, 2021

In the late 1970ies countless young Germans – born after the end of World War II and discontented with themselves and the world around them – were attracted to the Indian spiritual master Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, now known simply as Osho. They travelled to India, met him in his famous ashram in Pune, took sannyas, practiced meditation techniques like Dynamic Meditation, participated in intensive therapy groups such as Encounter… and learned how to live in love and here-and-now.

A new documentary by renowned German filmmaker Jobst Knigge, shown on German TV on February 15, portrays 13 men and women by just letting them tell their stories. No questions are being asked, no comments or further explanations are given. They just sit in front of the camera and talk, their memories illustrated by matching videos and photos showing, for instance, scenes from the old Pune ashram, short glimpses of Osho speaking, and a lot more. Later we learn about how some of them experienced the Ranch in Oregon and Commune life in Germany – especially in Cologne, where sannyasins ran successful businesses – discos, restaurants, handicraft and construction companies.

The film presents eyewitnesses who, on one hand, share their own personal motives and experiences, on the other paint a subjective picture of the historical background of what happened around Osho from the 1970ies until the Master’s death in 1990 and to this date. So we are given a chronological account of the Osho story, mirrored by different voices which clearly don’t belong to fanatic yes-sayers: their views are multi-faceted, ranging from admiration and fascination for the Master to critical comments on issues they didn’t like, and also to harsh disapproval, as some of them had later turned their backs to Osho and sannyas, mainly as a reaction to the final drama on the Oregon Ranch with the events and trauma around Sheela.

Having been a sannyasin for forty years now and belonging to the generation presented in the film, I consider the displayed honesty and openness for self-reflection a characteristic strength of this documentary, and I appreciate the courage of these 13 people just showing themselves as they are now, in their sixties – matured and grey-haired, and at the same time allowing us a look into their photo albums, so we can see them when they were young, wearing red clothes and malas around their necks.

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Anand Sargama (Michael Engler) has a degree in English and History. He is a teacher, psychotherapist, alternative health practitioner and lives in Cologne.

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