Searching for Sheela

Film Reviews

A personal review of the recently streamed documentary on Netflix – by Chintan.

Sorry you missed him Sheela. He was, and is quite marvelous.

Once in a while, on this tortured Earth, a Master appears. I heard Osho say that you could count them on the fingers: a Kabir, a Jesus, a Socrates. They are few and far between.

This is a re-view of the Netflix film, “Searching for Sheela,” but first a disclaimer: I am a lover of Osho, and have survived 44 years of the Master/Disciple relationship. I have fought and questioned, thrown the mala, screamed into pillows, doubted, sweated in group rooms in India, and shivered at bus stops in Oregon. Who is this Guru person? Why can’t I turn away? Is it hypnosis? Is there something in the cool aid?

While I sweated and fretted, the Master created more and more obstacles to weed out the faint of heart, until finally, my mind was defeated, and my being discovered.

For 60 minutes, I watched an old woman, bathe in the glow of the camera lights, and the glistening eyes of her admirers, and all I could feel was sadness and compassion. That charmingly mischievous force of nature, who had us all (almost all) transfixed and eager to do her bidding, was now a gray, shuffling figure, comically exaggerating her homey Indian accent, and struggling to come up with snappy replies to her interrogators’ vapid questions.

Near the half way point, Sheela states, “I didn’t want to become spiritual. I didn’t want to become enlightened or learn about meditation. I have no interest in there.”

That, perhaps, is the crux of her dilemma, and why she chose to spend her time studying ways to poison people, and creating a very sophisticated wire-tapping of Rajneeshpuram.

At another point, she laments the fact that after 35 years, people still ask her about her crimes. Well, my dear, perhaps if you would give genuine answers, they would cease asking.

That’s enough! There was no story there to re-view. Some people searched for Sheela. They found nothing!


Chintan (David Hill) is a writer, and author of Mastering Madness.

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