Return Of The Agent Provocateur

THE WEEK|October 20, 2019

Return Of The Agent Provocateur
Osho’s controversial personal secretary, Ma Anand Sheela, is in India after 34 years. And the pressure to deliver those fiery punchlines persists
Sneha Bhura

On October 2, Zorba the Buddha, an open faith spiritual centre in Gurgaon, hosted a “date” with Ma Anand Sheela, who was the personal secretary of Guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) from 1980 to 1985. During a pre-dinner talk, the moderator asked about the famous spiritual guru’s take on sex, marriage and polygamy. Sheela, 69, sat slightly bent on the stage, wrapped in a green shawl with her grey hair styled into an elegant bob. There was a smiling portrait of Osho in the backdrop, garlanded with marigolds. Although known for her sharp wit—she was once called the “tigress of the two-minute television news spot”—that day, she seemed uncharacteristically mellow. “You take responsibility for your actions...,” she said. “Bhagwan is not interested in your daily problems. Leave him alone.”

And what about “power”, the moderator asked. Sheela jumped up from her seat. With an eerie smile, her eyes glinting with excitement, she stared down at her enraptured audience. “Look at me,” she said. “I am Osho’s power. Have a good look at me. It is called the power of love.” The crowd roared and whistled; they had got their money’s worth. In this instance, 2,500 for a sampling of Osho’s work, a talk, a Q&A session and dinner with Sheela, the linchpin of the 2018 blockbuster documentary Wild Wild Country, on Osho and his improbable commune in Oregon.

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October 20, 2019