Rashid and Punya are trying to piece together the recent events at the Resort in Pune. (Post includes links to articles in the media.)
Some say it was like the fall of the Berlin Wall while the Indian press portray it as a scuffle by lawless protesters. So, what really happened on Osho’s Enlightenment Day in Pune?
According to eye witnesses, on Monday, 20th March, the day before the Enlightenment Day, three separate groups of security were stationed in and around the property; a dozen or so police, a squad of blue-uniformed security and, at the gate, 20 or more black-suited bouncers or ‘bruisers’. Plus an array of barricades were placed along the street at the front gate.
Someone must have suggested that such a show of force would most likely promote violence in a peaceful gathering of disciples, whose prevailing wish was to sit in silence in the samadhi, because the following day, on 21st March, half the bouncers had gone. Furthermore, the Chief of Police advised that everyone should be allowed in, and that the ban on wearing a mala should be lifted.
On that day, Osho’s 70th Enlightenment Day, between fifteen hundred and two thousand disciples peacefully gathered at the main gate requesting entry to celebrate the day. People already wearing maroon robes paid their Irs 970 and filed in. Very quickly Entry Cards and receipts ran out, so an ink stamp on the wrist became the pass. Videos that were posted live on Facebook showed happy, celebrating people dancing and singing in Buddha Grove (a still below), although – we later hear – there were altercations with the DJ who had Bollywood music running instead of devotional songs (which have been banned at the Resort for decades).
Then came an ugly and disturbing event. A big strapping giant of a man in jeans and black top was heard shouting and bellowing and then being beaten by the police with their metal and cane rods. He was then hauled out. No one knew who he was or why he was there.
Later, Osho’s lovers were allowed to process through the samadhi in a long line. People filing past the samadhi were touched to be there, some in tears, showing their love and respect for their Master, some may even never have seen Osho in the flesh. Some were clearly impoverished, some old and infirm – all were deeply touched. That is until the YouTube channel, TNC Live, aka BSR Media, was allowed to film live (unprecedented!) inside the samadhi area and the guards started hurrying the worshippers along instead of letting them stand for a minute or two in front of the samadhi.
The silent space was suddenly filled with pushing and loud instructions to hurry on. The un-meditative atmosphere spurred one of the visitors to loudly ask the question why the plaque, that was put on the samadhi on Osho’s instructions (Never Born, Never Died…), had been removed.
The Evening Meeting (the White Robe gathering), the wild dancing, the silent sitting, the Master’s voice and his virtual presence seemed to have quietened the mood in a fully packed Buddha Hall.
The following day, on Tuesday, 22nd March, the much-loved and revered old-timers Keerti and Jyoti arrived, together with others. Jyoti attended the silent sitting at the Samadhi (Chuang Tzu) from 7.30 to 8.30 am. They wore their malas like the day before, as orders to stop wearing the mala was issued only after 8.30am. Today all mala-wearing persons were refused entry. Keerti requested a meeting with Amrito who failed to respond. It was notable that not once did any of the resort residents appear, albeit just for short seconds.
However, at around 10:30 the guards withdrew from the gate which people took to be an invitation to enter. Which they did – without paying their entrance fee. Not in their thousands today, perhaps only 150, along with the strapping giant. He got the policemen’s violent attention. They charged on him with their metal sticks (so-called a lathi-charge) and the giant fought back the police. From the many videos on Facebook we can see what a very ugly scene it was, with the police jumping onto the podium in their boots. [From videos seen the following day, also the ‘storming’ if the Resort was less than graceful, people shouting Osho, Osho, Osho almost as battle slogan. Someone (person known!) insulting, harassing, almost physically assaulting Ma Sadhana in front of her office.]
Later there appeared photos on social media of sannyasins at the police station, handing in complains for not being allowed to enter the Resort while wearing the mala, and further requests to visit the samadhi without payment of the entrance fee. On the other hand, according to Policenama, see below, 130 sannyasin were reported by the Resort for entering the premises without permission.
Now, with all this conflict, the Indian press had their story and their pictures. And the OIF could appear clean and correct? The attention of the press had been cleverly diverted from the many heartful and valid concerns of Osho’s sannyasins.
What valid concerns? Osho left a council of 21 to administer for life the practicalities of running his commune and propagating his work. They were to have no say in the spiritual interpretation of his words. All decisions were to be unanimous and Jayesh would be the chairperson. The Commune or Resort was to remain “A Meeting Place of Friends.”
Within 10 years of Osho leaving his body all the independent members of the 21 had been replaced by Jayesh’s yes-sayers and exclusive procedures were established to keep out Osho’s older devotees. Entrance fees were hugely jacked up.
Today, 33 years later, the Resort is largely deserted and in dire disrepair. Parts of the land are up for sale. Furthermore, there are ongoing court cases regarding money allegedly being sequestered into private bank accounts and questions about the editing of Osho’s words, the whereabouts of his signatures applied to books in his library, etc.
It is perhaps worth mentioning that the required wearing of the mala in public ended after the Oregon commune closed (see Press Release in OTI). Because of the general persecution of Osho and his lovers, we all left for our countries no longer wearing red, and the mala was only worn for meditation, if one so wanted. When Osho returned to Pune, malas were optional but mostly no longer worn. A few years later Osho introduced maroon robes to be worn inside the compound, and white robes for the Evening Meetings (regardless if you were a disciple or not), and street clothes outside the campus. In recent years some sannyasins continue to wear their malas.
Post updated with edits on March 24 and 27 March, 2023, added more inks to articles from the media on 25 March, video added on 28 March, detail and additional link added 1 April 2023.
In the Media
On day 2, ‘rebel’ disciples barge into Osho resort; police deny using force
(March 23, 2023 02:50 IST) More than 250 followers of the late spiritual guru Osho Rajneesh, wearing ‘sanyas mala’ (rosaries), on Wednesday forced their way into the Osho Ashram here in protest against the management’s reported plans to sell some of the Ashram land.
Tensions had been brewing between a group of Osho followers and the Osho International Foundation (OIF) management, which manages the Ashram in Koregaon area, since Tuesday.
Police said that on Wednesday afternoon, more than 250 protesters forced their way into the Osho International Meditation Centre (OIMC). A day earlier, the ashram management had allowed protesting Osho followers, wearing the contentious `sanyas mala’, to enter the premises to avoid a law and order situation.
As per the ashram’s rules, the wearing of the mala, which the management claims Rajneesh himself had “dropped” later in his life, is not allowed.
“After our intervention on Tuesday, the followers were allowed to enter the ashram campus with ‘malas’ but today they entered forcibly. A man who was not a part of the followers’ group became violent and tried to manhandle police personnel, forcing the police to use force to evict him,” said Smartana Patil, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone II).
Swami Chaitanya Keerti, one of the protesters, said they had nothing to do with this man. “During the commotion, a man who is said to be an Indian-origin US citizen, who has not received ‘diksha’ (initiation), might have said something out of aggression and was whisked away by police,” he said, adding that the protesters did not know him. Koregaon police booked the man under Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the IPC.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Swami Chaitanya Keerti said, “Over 250 sannyasins sought to enter the ashram. They were all wearing the ‘mala’ given in ‘diksha’ by Osho himself. It is an integral part of our life and signifies the master-disciple bond. However, the management refused to allow us to enter.”
Another offence was registered against the protesters who entered the ashram forcibly for allegedly manhandling its manager, said Senior Inspector Vinayak Vetal of Koregaon Park police station. “We have registered an FIR under relevant IPC sections, including rioting. Five to seven people are named and the remaining are unidentified,” he added.
The protesting Osho disciples claimed in a press release in the evening that after entering the ashram, they sat in the Buddha Grove area, sang kirtans and did not cause any trouble. But the ashram management “coaxed” police to use force. “…it is explicitly clear that this disproportionate fear of Osho mala is not out of their obedience to Osho’s instructions as they claim, rather it is a part of their conspiracy to mint money off the prime real estate of Koregaon Park in Pune,” the group alleged.
Osho ashram drama: 2 cases filed, over 120 people booked in Pune
Around 120 ‘rebel’ Rajneesh followers were booked in the first case lodged on behalf of the Osho International Meditation Resort management. In the second case, Varun Rawal, 27, was booked for attacking police personnel.
(March 23, 2023 12:11 IST) The Pune police have registered two separate criminal cases over the high drama that prevailed at the Osho International Meditation Resort in Koregaon Park on Wednesday as a group of ‘rebel’ Rajneesh followers stormed into the resort premises.
Two offences were registered at Koregaon Park police station on Wednesday night. The First Information Report (FIR) in the first case was registered on behalf of the management by Dhaneshkumar Joshi, alias Swami Dhyanesh Bharti. Based on his complaint, the police booked around 120 ‘rebel’ followers, of whom seven were identified by name. The police also booked a man identified as a reporter and invoked charges under Indian Penal Code sections pertaining to unlawful assembly, rioting, voluntarily causing hurt, trespassing and intentional insult.
In the second offence, the police booked Varun Rawal, 27, a native of Bhilai, who entered the resort premises along with the ‘rebel’ followers and created a ruckus as he went on a rampage and attacked police personnel. Police officials said that their probe suggests that the man does not belong to either faction of followers. Rawal has been booked under charges related to attacking a public servant and intentional insult.
The ruckus at the resort came a day after the resort management had allowed the ‘rebel’ group — which has been banned for years — to enter the premises wearing ‘mala’ or beaded rosary. On Tuesday, the management had clarified that the wearing of the ‘mala’ was allowed only for a day because of the intervention of the Pune police.
While the resort management alleged trespassing and violence by the ‘rebel’ group, the latter alleged use of excessive force and lathi-charge by the police at the behest of the management.
The police said that they resorted to use of force on Wednesday to control Rawal who, according to them, did not belong to either faction and created a ruckus, attacking police personnel before being overpowered and detained.
FIR registered against 130 followers of Osho at Koregaon Park police station for creating ruckus near Osho ashram
(Mar 23, 2023) Pune : Policenama online – Pune Crime News | The police have registered an FIR against 130 followers of Osho at the Koregaon Park police station for raising slogans against the management of the Osho ashram and trying to enter the Osho ashram. The police have registered another FIR against an individual for having a scuffle with the police officials. (Pune Crime News)
On behalf of a complaint lodged by Dhaneshkumar Ramkumar Joshi alias Swami Dhyanesh Bharati, (65), a resident of bungalow number 17, Osho Ashram gate number 1, Koregaon Park, Pune, an FIR has been registered against Pramod Tripathi alias Prem Paras, Sunil Mirpuri alias Swami Chaitanya Kirti, Gopal Dutt Bharati alias Swami Gopal Bharti, Rajesh Wadhva alias Swami Dhyan Anugraha, Kishore Labhshankar Raval alias Swami Prem Anadi, Jagdish Sharma alias Swami Aman Vismay, Ari Razdan alias Kunika Bhatti, New India News representative Vaibhavkumar Pathak and 100 to 120 followers under sections 143, 147, 452, 323 and 504 of the IPC. An FIR has been registered against Varun Vinit Raval (27), a resident of Durg, Chhattisgarh based on a complaint by Police Naik Gokul Kanhaiyalal Pardeshi (50) under sections 353, 332 and 504 of the IPC.
There is a dispute between the management of Osho Ashram and his followers. On March 22, Osho’s followers had gathered in large number at the gate of Osho Ashram. They raised slogans and tried to forcibly enter the ashram. A member of the trust, Sadhana (80) was pushed aside and New India News representative Vaibhavkumar Pathak tried to enter the ashram by claiming to be a journalist. It has been alleged that at this time, the followers pushed aside Joshi.
Varun Raval raised slogans and had an argument with Dhaneshkumar Joshi. The police tried to reason with him but Raval still went on arguing and pushed aside the police, The Koregaon Park police are probing the case.
Rebel Osho followers stage protest for being denied entry on 70th Enlightenment Day
Slideshow of photos published be the PuneMirror Bureau – Gaurav Kadam – Tue, 21 Mar 2023 – 03:38 pm
As can be seen in the photos of the slideshow above, some sannyasins wore a badge saying, Save Osho Legacy. When asked why they were wearing the badge, they answered, “If we wear it, we eat for free.” It might well be they were part of the rent-a-crowd scheme alleged by the Resort in their Press Release.
More in the media
- BATTLE OF THE BEADS – Bombay HC asks Osho International Foundation (OIF) to produce valid copy of rules and regulations at the Commune, Pune Times Mirror, Vinita Deshmukh, 29 March 2023, 06:22 am
- Osho ashram drama: 2 cases filed, over 120 people booked in Pune – The Indian Express: March 24, 2023 10:20 IST
- Row between Osho followers & management over entry into… – Times of India: TNN / Updated: Mar 23, 2023, 09:05 IST
- Maharashtra: Protesting followers of Osho Rajneesh forcibly enter his Pune ashram – Deccan Herald: PTI, Pune, Mar 22 2023, 22:49 IST, updated: March 22, 2023, 23:01 IST
- Several disciples of Osho Rajneesh wearing malas forcefully enter his Pune ashram, one held for violence – Hindustan Times: by Nadeem Inamdar, March 22, 2023 10:36 PM IST
- Maharashtra: Osho Rajneesh’s devotees forcefully enter his Pune ashram, police resort to lathi charge – India TV: by Arushi Jaiswal in Pune, Updated on: March 22, 2023 18:15 IST
- Maharashtra: Several disciples of Osho Rajneesh wearing ‘malas’ forcefully enter his Pune ashram – Economic Times: Last Updated: Mar 22, 2023, 05:06 PM IST
- Police lathi charge at Osho devotees seeking entry into Osho Ashram – My Pune Pulse: March 22, 2023
- Won the battle, not the war: Unravelling the ‘mala’ protest at Osho ashram – Newslaundry: By Prateek Goyal, 21 Mar, 2023
- Will welcome ‘rebel group’ with open heart, claims Osho Resort – The spokesperson said the management team takes care of the campus and all the activities according to Osho’s specific guidelines, writes Manoj Dattatrye More on March 20, 2023 (on Osho News)
- Maroon brigade’s show of strength – PuneMirror Bureau, by Vinita Deshmukh, Saturday, 18 March 2023, 03:22 am
- Osho’s 70th Enlightenment Day celebrations in Pune, rebels seek police help – Police are urged to ensure the rebels are allowed to wear Osho’s ‘mala’ while taking part in the celebrations on March 21. Published in the Indian Express, March 12, 2023 (on Osho News)
- Osho’s guidance: Malas, celebrations, his ashes, name of campus – Press Release from Osho International Meditation Resort, dated March 20, 2023, published in Osho Times International under the title, Osho “Lovers” Hate Osho’s Guidance
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