The Sex Guru. When did it go wrong?

Sex guru

I am still somewhat shocked after seeing the movie documentary “Guru – Shree Rajneesh, his bodyguard and his secretary” some days ago. The Indian Shree Rajneesh was a celebrity in the 70’s and 80’s, gathering a huge following for his (quasi)spiritual movement based on therapy and meditation. He became notorious for arranging wild, daily  orgies in the name of tantric exercises, steamrolling over normal human emotions such as jealousy, shame, and longing for mature, lasting relationships.

The documentary tells the story of Shree Rajneesh’s rise and fall through the stories of his bodyguard and his secretary. Rajneesh was carismathic, smart and cunning, with a hypnotic pull on people. As it turned out, he was also deeply narcissistic, dangerous and willing to exploit vulnerable persons to satisfy his desires. Thousands of persons flocked to his utopian commune (have we heard this before? messianic sects, political movements…) hoping to be unloaded of their Weltschmerz. And the guru promised them the moon.

Of course, the followers were bound to be disappointed, and after the initial first years relatively free from frictions, it started to go downhill. Rajneesh fled to Oregon, USA with Indian tax authorities at his heels. After some years in the US it turned really nasty. The commune became filled with conflicts, cruelty and paranoia, and Rajneesh was in the end expelled and sent back  to India.

His bodyguard and his secretary, who both come across as intelligent, but naive persons,  tell their versions of what happened. They paid heavy prices for their involvement with the guru: The bodyguard was banished, tried to commit suicide and spent almost a year at a psychiatric hospital trying to claw himself back to a normal life. The secretary spent 3 1/2 years in an American prison. As for the question of when it began to go wrong, they both say that it was there from the start, built into the guru’s flawed personality.

14 Comments

  1. Halvor

    Very interesting. And for those who don’t know it, this is the same person that later went under the name of Osho, who still – 20 years after his death – has a following in a number of countries, now even China. They still have a way of creating beginners’ enthusiasm, though according to a friend with contacts in the movement, little actual change takes place.

  2. Kaif

    Very interesting. People here in India still seem to admire him, especially young people. My impression of Osho after reading a book by him and listening to some recordings of his was that he had come to a theoretical understanding of several Eastern spiritual traditions (Zen, Taoism, Confucianism, the Buddhist sutras, the Upanishads, bhakti, yoga, tantra – he wrote on everything) but he not have much of an experiential understanding of them.

    I also read somewhere that Osho was on heavy psychiatric medication for the last 10 years of his life or so.

  3. folkeg

    hi Kaif

    Thanks for your comment! Yes, that is right, he was sedated and heavily drugged for the last 10 years – his famous presence and agility totally gone.

    I also think you are right that he had a theoretical understanding of many spiritual traditions. But in his practices, he was anything but saintly.

  4. Kaif

    I must add that i think his theoretical understanding was limited because he did not really see that he was missing the real point – which is to live the teachings and not just comprehend them theoretically.

    I have been wondering why people are attracted to Osho now and perhaps it is because it gives them an opportunity to relate to spiritual ideas without having to actually take part in a traditional, religious path that involves following certain rules, participating in rituals and so on. The conventional religion of their parents does not appeal to them but they still want something to believe in.

  5. Per S.P.

    I wonder about the possibilites for being able to view this film in Norway. It might be to eairly to say wether a DVD release is planned. A dvd will probably be available on amazon in a years timem

  6. folkeg

    Maybe the reason why people feel attracted to Osho/Shree Rajneesh is that he promises a “quick fix”? Nothing complicated, ambiguous, not having to face and accept your own mistakes and shortcomings. But then again, the quick fix simply doesn’t work.

    I agree with Per, it will probably take at least some months before the dvd is available over the net. But I would certainly recommend seeing this movie.

  7. Kaif

    Yes, of course the quick fix is attractive. Also, it seems that people don’t even expect meditation and similar things to remind them of their own mistakes and shortcomings, and are surprised when that happens.

    I saw a trailer of the film : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NBauQW_msE and it looks really interesting indeed. The 60s and 70s were a strange time.. 🙂

  8. folkeg

    I checked out the trailer, which I found more speculative and commercial than the movie.

    I agree with you, Kaif, the hippie decades were strange and bizarre times.

  9. olego

    I, of course, agree to all that has been said! Just two tiny thoughts: Nearly whenever I know something about the reality a movie pretends to cover, there is some discrepancy. The language of movies is full of cliches and catering to large audiences through distortions and sensations. I have no idea how far this inherent truth-distortions of film-making may have influenced this movie, and there is no need to doubt that is portraying a real fake! But the proof about most things is not in the movie, nor in most movies. In addition, the ‘truth’ of many institutions is often revealed through persons who have been insiders and then left the organisation. That kind of dissenting truth may not be the truth. The movie may be highly interesting, but the seeker of the truth may have to keep walking.

  10. folkeg

    Those two last points from olego are certainly true (although in my opinion, movies are not necessarily built on clichés). In fact, the makers of the film themselves point out that the stories of the two are subjective. The secretary, who was a kind of managing director of the movement, did not actually leave, she was arrested by American authorities. If not, she might have followed the guru back to India. She still has a certain loyalty, or rather fond memories and good feelings for parts of what she went through. Actually, the movie is more many-sided in its approach to the subject than can appear from my short description, which in my opinion makes its impact even stronger. But some facts cannot be denied. For example: The guru got the idea that he wanted to appear in the Guinness Book of Records as the man on the planet who owned most Rolls Royces. All available resources from his followers were put into this project. On the other hand, he may have been a more constructive person in the early years of his career.

  11. Folke

    I actually received a dvd-copy of this film from amazon.de the other day. So now everybody can see for themselves!

  12. Raj kumar

    i agree with all of you………..

  13. Yogesh Pama

    I have not as yet seen the movie, but am well familiar with the various allegations and criticism which has been levied against Osho and which has been gaining in momentum over the years. These so-called facts, opinions and accusations may well be true, but are also entirely irrelevant on the level that we are talking about!

    Osho’s principle message is one of love and personal responsibility and this constant bleating about his failures and weaknesses, brings to mind the brilliant and all-important observation that “there are no false gurus, only false disciples.”

    An earnest seeker is ultimately compelled to merely use the outer Guru, Master, Teacher, what you will, as the vital reflection and Mirror which He is and one that provides the opportunity to recognize those aspects of oneself that one needs to bring to the surface of one’s consciousness most accurately, in order to learn who one is in Truth.

    Whoever Osho was; what he did or did not do, is simply not the point. When are we going to get this?

    In this sense, it is so important to remember that the “Outer” is always irrelevant in this remarkable process, as it merely provides the opportunity to observe one’s own reactive personality (to the reflection) and in so doing gain further insight into one’s own Being.

    For as long as Man considers and treats himself as a Victim, nothing is possible. Osho and others have pointed out repeatedly: “A Master is merely a finger pointing at the Moon. Don’t hang on to the finger”.

  14. RAM

    PLEASE DO OSHO DYNAMIC MEDITATION FOR ATLEAST 40 DAYS.

    MOST OF THE PEOPLE ARE JUST COMMENTING (THEORITICALLY UNDERSTANDING OSHO).

    COMMENTS MADE ABOVE THAT OSHO IS THEORITICAL, NOT PRACTICAL, SHOWS THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE THEORITICALLY UNDERSTANDING OSHO AND NOT PRACTICALLY UNDERSTANDING HIM.

    IF YOU WANT TO PRACTICALLY UNDERSTAND OSHO, WHOLE HEARTEDLY DO OSHO’S DYNAMIC MEDITATION FOR 40 DAYS AND THEN COMMENT WHATEVER YOU WANT, NEGATIVE OR POSITIVE (IT’S IRRELEVANT).

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