The great divide

On Current Affairs

Nirav’s thoughts on the news that a part of the Resort in Pune, the Bhasho plot, will be sold.


At the end of last year, Osho International Foundation (OIF) discreetly put up parts of the Osho Resort in Pune for sale, including our famous swimming pool in Basho. The Bajaj family made the highest offer, agreed to pay about US $14 million, and already gave a substantial earnest deposit.

Now the matter has gone public and disciples cry foul. The Osho Friends Foundation has appealed to the Charity Commissioner, and says it will seek the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Uddhav Thackerey to prevent the sale.

Since this matter came out a few days ago, the world of Osho is once again split into two.
Those who are for the current management, and those who are against. Those who feel that Jayesh and co. are doing an impossibly great job at keeping Osho’s vision alive, and those who feel that they have stolen it. Those who see this latest move as the most sensible one in the midst of the crisis we are in, and those who see it as another attempt to syphon millions to private offshore accounts. Those who are convinced that this is the only option to save the Pune Resort, and those who are convinced that this is another step in ultimately selling the whole place for an amount that gives vertigo just to imagine. Those who don’t see that faking Osho’s Will for personal financial agenda is such a problem, and those who find it evil.

I remember a discussion I had in 2001 with Osho’s personal physician in Pune, where he patiently tried to enlightened me on the new business model that the management was in the process of implementing. I remember him saying “We are giving Osho’s proposal our best shot, and if it doesn’t work we will dissolve the place. The last thing Osho wanted was an Indian Style Ashram, and we will make sure it never happens.”

A discussion with A. usually meant that he did the talking, and you listened until the knot in your stomach was tight enough for you to excuse yourself.

That short meeting has remained with me ever since. The message was clear: the couple of people in charge of Osho’s affairs believed that they had THE understanding of Osho’s vision, and THE ONE business model to execute it.

Of course there were plenty of other possible models, but as the Inner circle of 21 that Osho had carefully designed shrunk to less than a handful, all the rebels got expelled and thousands were banned.

During his last breath, Osho may indeed have whispered into Jayesh’s ear “I leave you my dream” and the slow collapse we have been witnessing ever since is exactly what Osho had in mind. Or maybe “You” was meant to include all his people and not just one man, and maybe with “dream” he meant that we wake up.

What I find outstanding here is how the polarized divisions inflaming the world at large today are being reflected in the exact same way in the sannyas community. Friends of 30 years are banning and blocking each other, because they suddenly find themselves on different sides of the divide. The pro-Trump versus the anti-Trump, those who believe in a global pandemic and those who don’t, those in support of the current Osho management and those against. And no matter where I turn I rarely see someone with a truly open heart and un-crystallized mindset. Maybe it is in the nature of the ego to subtly fight and hold onto beliefs and dogmas.

Osho certainly chose Sheela to be his personal secretary for 5 years, and when we look with hindsight at the unfolding of events and the downfall of the Ranch we can indeed wonder what Osho had in mind. The most cherished and accepted answer is that he designed it all to wake us up!

When Osho told Jayesh “I leave you my dream”, he may have meant what we are told he meant – he may even have mischievously giggled as he spoke those five words.

Let us see if we can finally learn from our unconsciousness, go in, wake up, and maybe realise that the great divide between us and them is nothing but hot air.

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Nirav is a painter and writer.

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