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Re: Royal Way/Jacumba/Ranch/Michael Gottlieb
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 30, 2013 05:18AM


Might want to read My Life in Orange by Tim Guest.

He grew up in the Rajneesh communes. There was utter contempt for the needs of children. Guest was emotionally abandoned by his mother. He and the other children were left mostly unsupervised. There was little structure and it was almost impossible for Guest to keep possession of his belongings or have any storage space to call his own. He was left with scars. And other children were, too.

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Re: Royal Way/Jacumba/Ranch/Michael Gottlieb
Posted by: desciple ()
Date: October 30, 2013 12:48PM

I am reposting this edited version of my prior post so that my statements are clearly understood.

To the people who read this forum, to my old friends in RW and fellow seekers,

I decided to write in this forum because I was repeatedly denied a meeting with Maggi. I called and emailed her three times and got no response. I simply wanted to clean up any unfinished business with her and RW. I told her, "I will meet you anywhere, anytime, and/or anyway that works for you."

I was a disciple of Michael for 12 years. During that period I was involved with every facet of RW. I was involved 100% and was happy to have found a teacher and a community of seekers.

The list of my involvement was, as follows:

• Weekly group
• Weekly meditation
• Monthly worship (called the Doo Dah)
• Monthly retreat with Michael (called Pilgrimage)
• Twelve years in the Collective, elected as a co-leader for 4 years
• Ranch service leader for 6 years
• Head of Construction for the annual formal party (Patron's Party) for 8 years
• Co-led the Patrons party with Maggi one year
• One of Michael's 3 drivers
• Traveled in France and Italy with Michael and Maggi to look for a 10 day retreat location
• Took care of Michael cars – 2 Bentleys, 3 Mercedes, a Jeep and a Lexus
• Co-lead the Ranch for 18 months

Michael’s main teaching was meditation, to become a witness and to be of the world but not in the world. He used many techniques, active meditations, group and private therapy, singing, dancing, painting, service at the ranch etc., all of which I embraced fully and benefited from immensely! I truly felt in my heart that I found my teacher, and I did, I was devoted to him, the teachings and the ranch for years. In the last eighteen months that I was a disciple, I left my job in Los Angeles and co-led the RW Ranch in Lucerne Valley with my then-spouse. Shortly after we moved to the ranch we bought a house in the tract below the it…clearly I was a lifer at that point.

Michael was a great teacher for me and I loved him deeply. He taught me the esoteric side of being with a teacher that can only be learned through the experience of devotion. Surrender is a beautiful teaching and grows the heart in ways that are unexplainable. To be clear, I experienced eleven years and ten months of bliss and two months of hell with my teacher…I wouldn’t change one thing. It was perfect.

During the first year of co-leading the ranch I could do no wrong. I remodeled all the bungalow bathrooms, the men’s house, the White House (Michael’s residence), the changing room, on and on… and I loved every minute of it. It was service, which is one of the three pillars of RW-silence, service and ecstasy- and at the ranch it was easy to embrace them all. There is no question it was one of the highlights of my life.

At my one-year review, Michael said, “I finally had the right guy at the ranch and you exceeded my expectations.” Unfortunately that was not the case for my wife/co-leader. She was getting beaten down by Michael and Maggi almost daily, where she reached the point of wanting to leave the position and RW completely. We had talks every few day for a while. Her close friends were very aware of what was happening and felt for her as I did. Conversely, I was loving life while she was hating it. It was very hard on our relationship. She would be down for a week and up for a day… repeatedly, on and on.
The reasons for their abusiveness were mostly nonsense and really just classic mind control. It was sad to watch. I still shudder at the thought of the mental abuse she went through. Terrible!

Flash-forward: it was now my turn. It began when I was asked by Michael to be his representative for the new building/housing project at the ranch. I was overseeing all aspects of the project. A lot of political BS was going on, as it usually does in a community revolving around donations, power trips, etc. I reported the weekly progress to Michael.
One of the lawyers in RW hired a construction supervisor that was said to be well connected to the city, but ended up being a shyster and was fired. When I was reviewing his job files, I discovered he was being paid for supervising, doing physical work and subcontracting. Simply put, he was triple dipping (over $40,000) right under the nose of the RW construction lawyer who was asleep at the wheel. When I confronted her she was baffled and reacted strongly to me. Within an hour I received a call from Maggi, telling me to back off of her. She also asked me to refrain from saying anything to Michael because he didn’t need the stress. Maggi said that this lawyer did a lot for RW and so can't confront her like that. not to tell tell people in RW what is going on, blah, blah… I let it go but was fired from the position by Michael shortly thereafter. At this time the POLITICS began.

A month later I was demoted from the co-leader of the ranch to the caretaker of the ranch. Michael said that I was still just as responsible for the ranch but had no authority. If you know anything about a community and/or RW, that position was like swimming up river. Impossible, but I hung in there. I embraced the teaching and tried to work with it. To no surprise, all of a sudden my wife could do no wrong. Soon I was arguing with Maggi on a regular basis. We digressed from great friends to enemies. THE CRAZY STORIES I COULD TELL WOULD TAKE UP 1,000 PAGES. Four months later I resigned from any roll at the ranch. I wrote Michael a letter of resignation and he and I met for a few hours to finalize my leaving. When I told Michael about the games Maggi played, he said, “I don’t blame you for not wanting to work like that. Is there anything I can do short of getting rid of Maggi to get you to stay?” My answer was no. I let him know that I would still live there and do service as non-leader.


One summer evening before MY GRADUATION FROM RW, Michael called my now-ex-wife and I to his home at the ranch. He told us that the woman who introduced me to Michael was leaving RW for good (She was involved for over 20 years). He wrote her a letter that he wanted us to know about and had us go into separate rooms to read it. He then met with us individually to discuss it, isolating us as if we were little kids… really strange to me at the time, but now I see the control factor.
The letter was very sad to read. He laid the biggest guilt trip on her that I had ever heard. She had cancelled a donation check for 50k and opted out of a commitment to give another 100k for the new building project. She was coming back from a year off of RW, as she was SUFFERING FROM THE DEATH OF HER HUSBAND Of 35 YEARS FROM CONTRACTING MAD COW DISEASE. This lady had donated over a million dollars to RW, yet they were pushing her when she was down to give more cash and stocks… crazy stuff. She became upset from all the pressure and finally decided to leave over it. Michaels’ letter said things like “God will not forgive you until you make things right with the teacher” and "I did so much for you and your husband,", "I did (this and that)"… It was hard to read. The letter was so off and so lacked the integrity of his teachings that it was the final straw for me. After that, I never looked at him the same way. His ego was now running the show and the teacher was gone. He grilled us separately, asking us how we were going to handle this lady moving forward. He was easy on me but hard on my Ex. She came home a mess, crying hysterically even though she and the lady were barely friends… More games!

A month later, I was gone. I waited a month so I could finish the remodeling of our home and another project I was doing at the ranch. There was a moment when my Ex was going to leave, too, but Michael got to her. He had controlling power over most people in RW.

During the process of leaving I was harassed by more than twenty of my RW friends. They said I had no courage, that I was a pussy, that I was burning a bridge, that I was betraying Michael and on and on. Michael even had my Ex call me to ask when I stopped loving him. I told her to tell him that I never stopped loving the teacher. It was the man I had issues with. I know she didn’t relay my response.

The next year was a year of major growth. Thankfully, I had a few good friends outside of RW to lean on. I also went through cult therapy with 6 ex-RW members.

I want to explain the major flaw in Michael, and RW as a whole. There was always a strange undercurrent of secrecy. Maggi was its enforcer. We were always told not to share Michaels letters, that they were personal and only meant for the community. The same was said for the meditation practices and basically everything. His letters were usually transcribed from his talks a few months after we heard them, via recorded tapes during retreats. They were great letters and when I left there were well over a hundred of them.

So, here it is. During one of the last times I was in Michael's house, he asked me to fix a closet door in his study. In the closet there were dozens and dozens of cassettes that had the name "OSHO" printed on the covers. At first I thought nothing of it but it stayed in my mind. The day I left my home at the ranch for good, I looked up OSHO and ended up downloading one of his talks. WOW, it was like listening to Michael, verbatim!

Michael only mentioned Osho once by his former name, Rajneesh. Over the course of the next year I started studying Osho's teachings daily. At first, I was simply happy to have access to Osho’s great discourses. As time went on it was obvious that Michael used Osho’s talks, mediations, therapy techniques, and his concept of how class was run. Michael modeled RW after Osho’s commune. Michael always prerecorded his talks. He said it was to save his energy. Well, Osho did over 3,000 talks off-the-cuff… one or two a day, for over 30 years in both Hindi and English. I have listened to well over 100 of Osho’s discourses and I have heard every talk Michael prerecorded, which resembled each other almost word for word. To think that Michael took praise for Osho’s genius on every retreat was a sad discovery. We all thought Michael’s talks were amazing, and they were. They were just not his, they were Osho’s. I took it a step further and started corresponding with the Osho Ashram in India and found a talk from the 1970’s where Osho spoke directly to Michael… crazy. Michael use to teach “Be straight.” It was one of his main teachings. “If you cant be straight you are lying.” How can a teacher of truth do that and claim enlightenment?! For a while I was mad. I felt betrayed. Now I'm happy and grateful Michael introduced me to the teachings and methods of OSHO.

So, the community of RW is continuing to support the lie. It is now clear why their was, and is a weird secrecy trip in RW. When you build a community on that big of a lie, it is going to seep out everywhere it can, whenever it can. Hence, cameras all over their new property in L.A., a building that looks like a weed dispensary rather than a welcoming, open spiritual center. Maggi use say “Michael is so clean,” not so much. Once Michael said he was turning sickies into seekers. Who was the sick one? Michael modeled himself after Osho totally, from his cars to his watches, his custom clothes, calling his center the RANCH, to the people he quoted (He was quoting OSHO, quoting people).

Michael had someone say I was like Judas on this forum, that I betrayed him and that I may suffer a similar fate to that of Judas. Michael was a Sannyasin of Osho and didn’t pay respect to his teacher. In fact, he betrayed us all, pretending and taking credit for creating the methods used in RW. Michael often spoke of the need to develop a strong healthy ego. A healthy ego would be open about being with Osho and using his methods to help evolve a community. Michael sharply put anyone in check if they asked about his travels to India. Even on Michael’s web site he mentions a teacher or two, but not OSHO. Everything he did, all that his community does currently is the energy and methodology of OSHO. They should know and honor that fact, to be real and straight about it… that is, if you want to live authentically.

Michael did have the great quality of being present and facilitating the teachings of OSHO. He created a community of 300+ people, in spite of hiding the fact that the blueprint was borrowed. Imagine if Michael was straight and he didn’t hide the beauty of his teacher. THAT WAS A MAJOR FLAW. The secrecy scared a lot of people away… good people. Most of them were shunned, myself included. I haven’t talked to my sister or her family for over 6 years because they are all in RW. I introduced them to Michael, and now to OSHO… and I betrayed Michael? HUH?

One more thing. Osho was the wisest and most open teacher of our age. All of his teachings and discourses are open to all and it has always been that way. If Osho was closed like Michael was, THERE WOULDN’T EVEN BE A ROYAL WAY. Think about THAT, current RW members and ostracizers! If you don’t face this truth, your head is buried in the sand. Free yourself and Michael of this unnecessary lie. YOU HAVE ALL BEEN STUDYING OSHO FOR YEARS AND YEARS…EVERY MEDITATION YOU DO CAME FROM OSHO. If you’re a community of true seekers you’ll want to see this. If your not, your won't!

Your true friend and seeker.

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Re: Royal Way/Jacumba/Ranch/Michael Gottlieb
Posted by: shakti ()
Date: October 31, 2013 11:38PM

Sorry, buddy, this isn't a place where Osho apologism is going to pass unnoticed...

Key excerpts from My Life In Orange.

NOTE: This was scanned with an OCR device, so some of the passages are a little off.

interesting excerpts:

“ Then in December, in an NBC television interview in Los Angeles , Sheela was asked about Bhagwan's alleged anti-Semitism. She smiled sweetly and said: 'How do you get four Germans and five hundred Jews into a Volkswagen? Simple. Two Germans in the front, two Germans III hack, and five hundred Jews in the ashtray.' When they heard about this, my mother and her friends were shocked; then they put it down to a publicity stunt. On that level, at least, Sheela seemed to be succeeding.

Even on the other side of the Atlantic, at Medina , it was apparent to us _ the kids as well as the adults - that the world at large had begun to use the term 'Bhagwan' as shorthand for 'flamboyant religious conman'. One of the kids clipped a ' Bloom County ' ( comic strip from a newspaper, in which Opus is briefly entranced by the idea of taking sannyas. The clipping circulated in the Kids' Ilut dormitories. (Opus: 'Say, brother ... uh, how about refreshing me on this Rajneesh business .. .' Sannyasin: 'Well, Rajneesh is the truth, and the truth is the light, which is life. Life's truth light. And happiness. Which is wearing red pajamas and blowing kisses toward the Bhagwan's 72 Gold Rolls-Royces.' Opus: 'Whoa! By golly ... that does make a lot of sense.')”


“Everyone got as blissed-out as possible. Sometimes tears streamed down their faces. Dancing meant waving your head in a figure-of-eight, arms raised, malas flailing out at chest-height, about ready to take the eye out of any kid pushing past through the crowd. I knew that kind of dancing; we all did. We groaned and rolled our eyes whenever we saw someone waving in this manner. Later that year when we were first allowed to have our own discos - no over eighteens allowed - we put hand-lettered signs of our own on the door: 'NO SPIRITUAL DANCING'. Anyone who raised their arms too high above their heads was swiftly given the boot.”

… That year, the summer of 1984 at the Ranch, many of the Medina kids lost their virginity; boys and girls, ten years old, eight years old, in sweaty tents and A-frames, late at night and mid-afternoon, with adults and other children. I remember some of the kids - eight, nine, ten years old - arguing about who had fucked whom, who would or wouldn't fuck them. The wilder kids smoked borrowed or stolen cigarettes, burned each other with their lighters, and tried to persuade the younger kids to inhale the gas from whipped cream cans stolen from the Magdalena food tents. I had just turned nine years old. I kept away from these kids. I spent my time in the hills, wandering among the juniper scrub, searching for quartz crystals.

PP. 57

. That day we slipped on past the gates and kept on walking into the grounds of Lao Tzu. The sounds of hammering and sawing faded behind us. I expected one of the men to shout after us, but none did and soon there were bushes and trees behind us. I knew we couldn't be seen.

Viruchana didn't want to go any farther, but I wanted to see if I could find Bhagwan's house. I said I'd meet him back at the gate. I went on, up some stairs. At the top of the first flight I walked out into a long, low hall without walls, just arched columns and a ceiling. Out through the arches I could see the trees and huts and apartment blocks stretched out into the distance. Although it was late afternoon, the sky seemed to be growing dim. The dust in the air left a chalk-taste in my throat. I could hear the sound of running water. One corner of the hall was sectioned off with cloth, a cubicle of raw pink cotton drifting in the wind. Behind the curtains I could hear a band practising. It was a song I had not heard before; but I could tell it was what we called 'Bhagwan music': 'Disappearing into you ... Oh, Bhagwan ... Disappearing into you .. .' I wanted to ask for a go on the drums, but realized I wasn't supposed to be here, so I walked on along the tiled floor. I heard a peacock cry. At the other end of the hall, I went down some stairs. I came out onto a garden, fenced in by trees and bushes, with a lawn of cut grass. In the centre of the garden a small waterfall sprang into a pool. Under the surface, fish glinted orange and yellow. Bunches of ferns arced out in sprays over the water.

I stopped still. A woman - her arms outstretched, her long white dress stroking the grass around her bare feet - was standing by the edge of the pool. In front of her, seated on a wooden chair on the grass, in long grey and white robes with wide sleeves that draped down over the arms of the chair, was Bhagwan. I knew it was him. He had the same eyes, the same face, the same long beard as all his huge photos. I noticed that his feet were bare. In the same easy gesture he made those few mornings I had been to see him speak, Bhagwan raised his arm towards me. The woman looked round and walked towards me. She was smiling. Behind her, Bhagwan smiled, too, nodding to me. I turned and ran back up the stairs. I expected the woman to say something; a II I heard was the peacock cry again.

I found Viruchana back by the Lao Tzu gates. I told him I had seen Bhagwan; he didn't believe me. Eventually I gave up trying to persuade him. We went to find my mum.

The night before we left, I finally persuaded Nutan to show me one of his puppets. He took a giraffe figure off the wall and made it dance around the room; he smiled at my mother the whole time. I preferred playing in the dust outside Nutan's hut where I found a thick stream of ants - they were huge; in my memory the ants seem as big as my hands. I poked them with a stick. The next morning, as we packed up to leave, Nutan finally gave in to my longing stares and made me a present of a puppet. I chose the biggest, a huge wire and paper elephant that stomped Ind rolled and raised its trunk when you jerked its wooden cross. Nutan looked at my mother as he lifted it down from the wall. I shouted my thanks. As my mother packed our bags I went to IIlake the elephant stomp on the huge ants outside.

And then it was time to go home.

Viruchana came to see us off. As we said goodbye and got into OUI: taxi, he gave me a present, too; a black Parker silver-tipped lountain pen in a little plastic fold-up case. He had asked his mum if he could come with us; she had said no. So I clutched the pen and waved out the back window of the taxi until he was out c ~f sight. When we got into the airport, though, I realized I had left his pen on the back seat.

Although I was bitten by hundreds of mosquitoes, and though I was always eating fruit I bought at the side of the road, I did not get sick in India . But sitting in the glass cube that was the airport departure lounge, I doubled over with stomach pains. My mother said it was something beginning with 'c' - cramps or crabs, I couldn't tell. I had this picture of a few small crabs scuttling around inside me, like the red ones I'd seen shuffling sideways on the Blackpool sand. My mother said the feeling would pass. It didn't. On the plane I sucked on the green boiled sweet the stewardess gave me. I was sick the whole way home.

In the spring of 1981, not long after my mother and I returned to Oak Village in England , the senior Ashram dentist was sent from Pune to London to acquire for Bhagwan a dentist's chair. The chair - bright red leather, with blue and chrome fittings was duly purchased, lightly scraped, and painted with grey and red enamel (to avoid a 120 per cent Indian import tax on new goods), then shipped back to the Ashram and installed in a wing of Lao Tzu, newly built for this purpose. Later, Bhagwan would have the chair shipped to Rajneeshpuram in Oregon, USA; for now, as well as his daily discourses in Buddha Hall to thousands of his sannyasins, Bhagwan began to speak some evenings from his artificially weathered dental throne to an audience of four sannyasins - including a dentist and a dental nurse, all of whom he nicknamed either Swami or Ma Bharti, the same surname as his father. As he spoke, Bhagwan inhaled nitrous oxide from a canister by his chair. Like all his other words, these laughing-gas monologues were transcribed by devoted sannyasins, later published (with no mention of the anaesthetic gas) as Books I Have Loved, billed on the back cover as 'The very last words of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh before He went into silence for an indefinite period.'

'I don't think anybody has spoken in a dentist's chair,' he chuckles. 'I feel privileged. I see Buddha envious of me.' Books I Have Loved is a gem, the private indulgence of a high-as-a-kite guru; at once charming and hilarious, full of aggrandized pleasantry and sweet theatrical emotion. Bhagwan weeps tears of joy at the memory of a favourite author, then tears of sadness at forgetting to mention them sooner. Time and again he tells the disciple taking the dictation to put this or that book, which he has neglected until now, right at the top of the list. A third of the way through, when he mentions the first book written by a woman - The Secret Doctrine by Madame Blavatsky (whom Bhagwan nicknames 'Blah-Blah Blavatsky', because of her wordy style) - he introduces her with these words: 'I have been thinking again and again to bring in a woman but the men were crowding at the door. Very ungentlemanly!'

Midway through discussing the forty-second book, a spiritual text by Narada, a Hindu Brahmin, which begins 'Now the enquiry into love .. .', Bhagwan goes into a digression about love. 'To enquire into love,' he says, 'is the greatest exploration, the greatest enquiry. Everything else falls short, even atomic energy. You can be a scientist even of the calibre of Albert Einstein, but you don't know what real enquiry is unless you love. And not only love, but love plus awareness ... or in scientific terms, love as levitation, against gravity.' Amidst all the Kcntle veneration, this single sudden exclamation stands out. 'Levitate!' he urges us. 'Arise! Leave gravitation for the graves!'

That was what Bhagwan's sannyasins wanted. In his communes around the world, sannyasins gathered together to abandon weight, to surrender themselves to levity. Or rather, that's what the adults were hoping for. The children of Bhagwan's communes needed other things. We needed comfort. We needed a place to stash our Lego. We needed our home. Shorter as we were, closer to the earth, we couldn't, or wouldn't, escape gravity. We felt things we weren't supposed to feel. We never seemed to make it off the ground.


pp. 95


My mother)She began the story herself, then paused for me to fill in the blanks: 'Along the road came a' .. :' and I'd shout, 'Squirrel!' 'Called .. .' 'Sally!' Now, in the Medina dormitories, there was less time for stories. On the evenings she could make it to tuck me in I did what I could to keep her by my bedside, pleading with her to stay. But the stories ended soon after I arrived.

My mother slept in a shared room on the top floor of the Main House - a light-filled double-room, with her futon mattress under the window and a chest of drawers against the far wall. Because she was important, a player who had helped set up the British Buddhafield and who was now involved in running the place, she shared her room with only one other person. I soon discovered a new way to spend time with her. If I wanted to see her that night I ran down to ask her, or I dialled '08' for Hadiqua'a on the internal telephone, and hoped to catch her in between sessions: 'Mum - can I sleep with you tonight?' She always said yes. We met outside Hadiqua'a or in the Kids' Hut, or I ran up to her room in the evening. I filled her in about my day, the masks I had made, the books I had read. Sometimes I fell asleep before she arrived; often in the mornings when I woke she had already left for a session or for an early meeting. I loved to wake up in the quiet of her room, so very different from the morning racket at the Kids' Hut.

A lot of the children who had mothers at Medina stayed in their mothers' beds, especially in that first year. It became so common that a decree was sent out among the parents: children were not to spend more than three nights a week in their mothers' rooms. None of us took any notice. Most mornings when I slept in my mum's bed I would wake up alone; my mother _ and Sujan, too, if he had also stayed in her bed - had already gone off to work in Hadiqua'a. If I woke up there on a Sunday morning, though, the three of us would have breakfast in bed: my mother, Sujan, and me.

That's me, on the right. My teeth as wild as they ever were; my hair growing long the way my mother preferred it. We have i list eaten Marmite on toast and drunk at least three cups of tea each, all brought up on a wooden tray by Sujan from the kitchens two floors below.

Late that spring I picked up one of the Medina internal phones to make the usual call to my mother. All the internal phones in Medina were the same: rotary dial, plastic, mostly dark green - the shiny colour of the leaves on the holly bush outside the kitchen windows. For this call I was standing in a hallway outside the Medina Main Office. I remember watching the dial spin right the way round. The phone rang two, three times. Someone picked up on the other end. 'Hello, Health Centre?' I asked to speak to Vismaya. There was a clunk and a pause. I hoped my mother would be on a break so she would be able to come to the phone. Through the receiver I could hear people talking faintly in the background. Then my mother's voice came on the line. 'Hello?'

'Hi, Mum,' I said. The mouthpiece was a bit big for my head.
I moved it down to hear her better. 'Tim! Hi, love.'

'Can I sleep with you tonight?' I asked. There was a muffled pause.

'Sorry, love?' my mother said. Her voice was clear again. 'Can I sleep with you tonight?' I repeated. 'Please?' I added.

There was another muffled pause.

'Sorry, honey. What was that? Of course. Yes. Of COurse you can. You always can. Come up to my room about eight-thirty, OK?' There was a resignation in her voice I hadn't heard or noticed before.

OK.' I said goodbye, but I didn't put down the phone. I dialled a nine, just to hear the clicks and watch the dial go round. Then I heard a voice again on the phone line.

'Muuuum?' The voice was muffled, as if spoken to someone else near the phone. 'Can I sleep with you tonight?' The pleading voice rose into a whine. 'Can I sleep with you? Can I? Pleeeease? Muuuuummmm ... '

It was my mother's voice.

I slammed the receiver down, hard enough to ring the bell inside. I stared at the dial until the sound had faded into silence.

Now, on my daily travels - as I crunched Over the gravel, slid down corridors and hallways, ran across the grass _ I carried a cold, heavy lump around with me, this new secret knowledge heavy in my heart. My mother did not want me. Heavy _ but at least it was mine. No one could take it from me. I began to imagine this new sorrow as something priceless inside me, as valuable as it was weighty and cold: like a frozen meteorite, invaluable to science.

After that day my mother and I saw less and less of each other. She would sometimes catch hold of me in the hallways and ask me how I was; I smiled to keep her happy, then wormed my way out of her arms to go and read a book or play with the other kids. I never asked to stay in her room again.

In the last issue of the RBEN, issue 14, April 1982, there is an interview with Prakash, the first Medina schoolteacher. 'I look at these kids and the freedom they have,' he says. 'It's so beautiful. It takes me back to how closeted and imprisoned I was as a child. Today they were having a sex education class, and they were really embarrassed about it. I just talked to them about my sexuality, and they were there, open and listening.

'I really love being with kids. Part of it is that I grew up really quickly and missed out on that childish stage, and the kids give me that space where I can be a child again.'

To teach thirty kids, they needed to get the school registered with Her Majesty's Schools Inspectorate. My mother dug out her educational psychologist PhD certificate, and one morning Prakash told us we needed to be extra well-behaved and to stay in the schoolrooms today. The inspectors were coming. After that things were more organized; it seemed harder to just slip off and do your own thing. Two of the older kids went to outside schools, where they occasionally got beaten up - but they also had Saturdays off.

In May 1983 Her Majesty's Inspectors came to examine the Medina school. After some deliberation they decided it was a boarding school; they wrote recommending certain changes. Ma Sat yam, who ran the school, wrote to the Department of Education and Science pointing out that many of the children's parents lived on the property. On 30 December 1983 a letter arrived conceding the point, and the registration of the Medina Rajneesh School was confirmed. In the first issue of The Rajneesh Times, Ma Anand Poonam spoke with glee about how different Medina was to 'preconceived notions'. 'We do not fit into existing concepts because we are something unique, individual. This makes things a bit difficult for bureaucrats.'

The garage had bought a new Ford Sierra with the insurance money, from the Commer crash. There was a new Bhagwan video on th' way. 'Oh,' Sharna added. 'Has anybody moved the salt bin from down by the compost?'

We were already spending more and more of our time away from the adults, in the forests around the edges of the ground" where we knew we would be alone. We went out in the forest t() be among the plants, the oak, the silver birch, the single lilac, the nettles, the avenue of cherry trees. We began to stalk the forests. We liked whipping plants, but people told us off if we whipped the prettier ones - daffodils, for example. No one could tell us off for whipping plants that stung you, we decided, so we made it our job to clear the whole forest of nettles. We pulled off long birch sticks, stripped them of leaves, and wandered through the forest, along the pegged white cord that marked out the Medina boundaries, stepping high to avoid any ticks that might be lurking in the long grass. (Peegee, the Medina chow-chow dog, got ticks all the time; if you caught one you had to have it burned out. I had seen it happen to Sujan, and the thought terrified me.) Whenever we found a clump of nettles we laid them low, starting with the purple flowers at the top and working our way down to the base. As we got good at it, we worked our way deeper among the trees.

The nettles out there were monsters, taller than either of us, with stems thicker than our fingers. Majid claimed that you could eat nettles - you could boil them, he said, and it made the sting go. I had yet to see him try. In Willard Price's African Adventure I had read about the nettles on the Mountains of the Moon: their stings were the size of needles; they could kill a horse. I told this to Sharna, who laughed and said, 'Well, I'm glad I'm not a horse.' Har-har. Majid and I took no chances out there. We wielded the largest sticks we could find. The nettles were plentiful; they took the punishment we gave them, and they grew back twice as tall.

Slowly, on those whipping trips, we learned nettle-lore. We learned how to stroke the leaves downwards and not get stung at all. We learned how to grasp the nettles at the base, just under I he surface of the earth, where the spines were too soft to pierce the skin. In this way, we could pull a whole nettle - roots and all - from the ground. The knowledge was more useful than it sounds. By being able to emerge from the bushes at a moment's lIotice waving a huge nettle longer and taller than ourselves with leaves the size of your face - to chase an older kid across the fJ,rass, we gained a level of peace and quiet not readily available. When a big nettle fell on us and the pain was too great to ignore, we knew how to search out the largest dock-leaves and squeeze the green juice over the rash until the pain eased.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/31/2013 11:44PM by shakti.

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Re: Royal Way/Jacumba/Ranch/Michael Gottlieb
Posted by: shakti ()
Date: October 31, 2013 11:41PM

Sometimes we wanted the adults to notice our absence - and our prowess. On those afternoons, on the way back to the Kids' Ilut with our birch sticks in hand, the carefully cultivated plants ill the Main House flower beds proved targets too difficult to resist. We would look at each other and, without saying a word, strip a flowery bush bare with a few quick slashes.

One evening Sujan brought it up at the school announcements. The evening bell rang, and we gathered in the Kids' Hut playroom. 'Someone,' he said sternly, 'has knocked all the blossoms off the hibiscus.'

I bit my lip to stop myself from laughing.

Summer ended. One by one the swallows and house martins swooped out from under the eaves and flew away. Early that autumn there was a spate of sudden showers; thick, warm, heavy rain spattered the forests. The rain brought out every colour of green you had ever seen. Dark rivers of water ran down treetrunks, like tears.

In October a team of sannyasins decided to dig a new lake where the old lake had been, down at the bottom of the lawn. They staked out the shape of the lake with pegs and wooden cords, and dug down into the clay - I remember being surprised at how grey and wet the sides of the hole were. Then they lined the hole with a great plastic sheet. Someone ran a hose through the window ,II" I all the way from the Main House to the lake. Someone else put a water pipe right by where the lake was, so they rolled up a long hose, and ran a shorter hose from there. The kids gathlered to watch the lake fill, but after half an hour there was hardly ('V.11 a puddle. We talked about what would happen if we stood on the hose - would the Main House swell up and explode in a shower of water? - then we got bored and went away. That night at lilt Omar Khayyam bar someone took bets about how long the hi" would take to fill. The highest guess was three days.

The Medina gardeners wanted to get some exotic ducks ,., float around on the lake; it turned out another sannyas commune had a bunch of standard green and brown ducks, so they had I" settle for those. Later that week the ducks were shipped in, alld as the water rose they floated around in the hole. Even with ;111 the rain, the lake took seven days and nights to fill.

That winter at Medina we felt ripples of another kind. After the US Immigration and Naturalization Service, investigating alleged arranged marriages at the Ranch, told her she would have to leave the USA , Bhagwan's original secretary and first disciple, Laxmi, was evicted from the new Oregon headquarters. For fif teen years she'd been his most devoted sannyasin; she left the commune with just two bags and her gold Rolex watch. Laxmi moved from state to state, changing her name frequently to keep ahead of sannyasin spies and the INS. Her former assistant, Sheela, stepped into Laxmi's place as Bhagwan's secretary. Soon afterwards the hubbub in Omar Khayyam rose again, after Bhagwan's bodyguard Shivamurti was also excommunicated. In response to Sheela's condemnation, he published a series of exposes about the corruption of power in Bhagwan's inner circle. He claimed that Bhagwan wandered about his apartment so high on nitrous oxide that, while muttering that truth could not be expressed in words, he would brace himself against the wall and foul his own plushly carpeted hallways. Shivamurti also a scandalous story he claimed was common knowledge in the inner circle: Bhagwan used only the missionary position and came quickly. Sheela wrote open letters in the Rajneesh advising sannyasins to close their hearts to Laxmi and _ their egos, no longer fed by Bhagwan, wanted to everything they had all worked for. My mother and her discounted Shivamurti's allegations. Then in December, in an NBC television interview in Los Angeles , Sheela was asked about Bhagwan's alleged anti-Semitism. She smiled sweetly and said: 'How do you get four Germans and five hundred Jews into a Volkswagen? Simple. Two Germans in the front, two Germans III hack, and five hundred Jews in the ashtray.' When they heard about this, my mother and her friends were shocked; then they put it down to a publicity stunt. On that level, at least, Sheela seemed to be succeeding.

Even on the other side of the Atlantic, at Medina , it was apparent to us _ the kids as well as the adults - that the world at large had begun to use the term 'Bhagwan' as shorthand for 'flamboyant religious conman'. One of the kids clipped a ' Bloom County ' ( comic strip from a newspaper, in which Opus is briefly entranced by the idea of taking sannyas. The clipping circulated in the Kids' Ilut dormitories. (Opus: 'Say, brother ... uh, how about refreshing me on this Rajneesh business .. .' Sannyasin: 'Well, Rajneesh is the truth, and the truth is the light, which is life. Life's truth light. And happiness. Which is wearing red pajamas and blowing kisses toward the Bhagwan's 72 Gold Rolls-Royces.' Opus: 'Whoa! By golly ... that does make a lot of sense.')

On 23 December, two weeks after Sheela's outrageous remark on NBC, the US Immigration and Naturalization Service denied Hhagwan's petition for a permanent US resident's visa. They listed four reasons: his poor health would interfere with his religious work; religious leaders were not silent; applicants must have been working as religious teachers for twO years prior to the application,

The front lawn was always littered with mole holes. Chinmaya, the bobble-hatted Medina head gardener, kept us up to date on their battles to rid the lawn of moles. Very early on, he told us, the Medina gardeners swapped their natural holistic mole repellent for rat poison. When the poison didn't work, they finally installed a series of lethal-looking machines in the holes - designed, so we thought, to zap the moles whenever they came up for air. Nonetheless, the moles kept coming. We imagined them underground, living together like we did. We played our games directly above their own communal homes.

Often, on warm afternoons, we would pause in a game of football on the front lawn to watch the adults come out to do their group-dynamic exercises in the sun. The groups looked fun. The adults would climb onto each other's shoulders in a pyramid, then roar like lions before all falling off. They would form a ring and hold a mock-bullfight. They would stand stockstill, without moving, for hours.

At certain times of the year, at lunchtimes and in the evenings, we saw people from the Satori groups wandering around with IN SILENCE badges pinned to their maroon breasts. We called it 'Satori Season'. We'd follow them around, badger them, pull faces - anything to get them to talk.

At times, when we'd sneaked in to grab cushions, or crawled between the trees round the back of the group rooms and raised ourselves up on tiptoes to peek through the windows, we'd seen what happened in the group-rooms themselves. Everyone was fully clothed. People would sometimes be dancing, sometimes flailing and screaming. Occasionally a Ma or Swami would be crying and beating a cushion with snot and drool and tears dripping down their face. More often, the group leader would be talking quietly, gazing into the eyes of a man or woman who would be quietly sobbing.

One morning Sharna called us all into the Main Hall for a surprise. Sixty adults from one of the groups filed in opposite. He told us that this group needed an exercise in surrender, and we were each going to get two slaves for the morning. He said that until noon our slaves would have to do everything we commanded. We cheered and filed across the room to pick out the ones we liked. First, I made my two carry me on their shoulders to the sweetshop and buy me the most expensive biscuits. Then we walked out onto the front lawn; Majid and I held jousting matches using our slaves as mounts. Just before twelve the obvious thought came to us both at exactly the same time. We turned to our slaves and demanded they give us their wallets. The slaves couldn't say anything - they were still wearing their IN SILENCE badges. But they looked at each other, tapped their watches as if it were already noon, and ran away.

After the usual information that evening in the announcements _ Disco keep-fit had moved to eight-thirty in the meditation room _ Sharna asked Rupda to come up to the front. We'd seen her earlier, playing on the swings with her slaves; we'd scoffed at her naivety. She hadn't got her slaves to buy her anything. Now Sharna praised her. Apparently, the only order she had given was for her slaves to enjoy themselves. Majid and I looked at each other and mimed sticking our fingers down our throats.

To us kids, the regular Medina celebrations looked just the same as the groupS, except that the groups took place in Hadiqua'aand the celebrations took place in the Main Hall; we were allowed to push our way through these crazy celebration crowds. We got a much closer look. People would roll their eyes, sing, kneel, or curl up on the floor, smiling with their eyes closed. Everyone got as blissed-out as possible. Sometimes tears streamed down their faces. Dancing meant waving your head in a figure-of-eight, arms raised, malas flailing out at chest-height, about ready to take the eye out of any kid pushing past through the crowd. I knew that kind of dancing; we all did. We groaned and rolled our eyes whenever we saw someone waving in this manner. Later that year when we were first allowed to have our own discos - no over eighteens allowed - we put hand-lettered signs of our own on the door: 'NO SPIRITUAL DANCING'. Anyone who raised their arms too high above their heads was swiftly given the boot.

There were annual bashes, too, which were always advertised with crazy curlicued cartoons in the glossy Medina brochures:

Hallowe'en, Bhagwan's Birthday, Guru Purnima Day, New Year's Eve, May Day Bal1. (These adverts were so slick that the only time Bhagwan's secretary Sheela visited Medina , she told the assembled throng that our brochures were 'too much like Vogue magazine and not right for Bhagwan's message at al1.') On these annual occasions some of the adults would hold a fancydress cabaret on a carpet rolled out in the Main Hall: men with handkerchiefs tied on their heads, women with glittery feather boas wrapped around their malas, kicking their legs out to music-hall classics: 'MyoId man said follow the van ... ' and 'Oh I do like to be beside the seaside'.

To us, the celebrations all looked the same - a confusion of maroon, heat, balloons, red velvet, make-up, and crowds. The hall would become packed full of sweaty people. Hundreds of adults danced, sang, boogied, disco-danced, got on down to a sannyasin band. At these annual celebrations, a hundred or so visitors mingled with the residents. To separate us from the visitors the commune kids got special beads for our malas: red showed we were residents; orange that we were allowed up after eleven. (About once a week, when my mala broke, I would try to persuade the adult who restrung it to slip one of these orange beads on this time, because I was now old enough; they never believed me.) If you were young - six years old, say, going on seven - what you did was stand on the Main Hall stairs for a minute, looking down on the crowd to get your bearings, then plunge into the crowd. You raised your forearms on either side of your face to guard against the flailing malas. You would push your way through on tiptoes - craning for a glimpse of another kid or, even better, your mother somewhere through a gap in the lTowd.

The music in these crowds was always Bhagwan music, the old Sufi songs followed by new standards written by sannyasin musicians. The Bhagwan music was so much a part of it all: sung at music groups, celebrations, birthdays, meditations, cabarets, in Ashram buildings and commune hallways, in the kitchens, dormitories; out on the lawn late at night, before fireworks lit up the sky. So much so that, even though the kids rarely joined in the singing, I still remember the melodies and the words - 'Only you ... '; 'In your grace, Bhagwan '; 'Looking inside ... Looking inside ... I wake up to you I wake up to your love ... ' In the early days the songs were folksy, but later, as the 1980s progressed, they all began to sound more and more like the Pointer Sisters. Everywhere these songs were sung, sannyasins swayed to the music. Their hands caressed the air; their heads rolled in the familiar loop; their malas swung out into a rattling figure-of-eight. When the music stopped, as we sometimes managed to stay awake to see, everyone stood around with their eyes closed, still slowly swaying, or collapsed on the floor not caring who they layover or against.

In these celebrations, sometimes a group of visitors lined up to take sannyas. Swamis and Mas would line the stairs; we kids would sit and peer down through gaps in the banisters. The hall was packed with dancing, leaping maroon, frenetic drums, arms flailing, malas tucked into shirts or over one arm to avoid possible injury. Everyone sang along to a Bhagwan song: 'Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! There is a paradise on earth!'

By the side of the stairs in the main hall, moon-faced Adheera who I always thought looked like a wise old orang-utan - would hang a mala around the lowered neck of a new sannyasin, place her thumb on the person's forehead, and smile a blissful smile. When neither Poonam nor Adheera was available, my mother

That summer, as the Third Annual World Celebration approached, a rumour spread through sannyasin communes worldwide. If there was not 100 per cent emotional positivity this year, Bhagwan might 'drop his body' in July during the Master's Day festival in Oregon . Bhagwan had always said his death was to be the biggest sannyasin celebration yet; no disciple would want to miss the greatest event of his lifetime. Bookings for the celebration quadrupled.

From the Rajneesh Times:

Message to all sannyasins, friends and lovers of Bhagwan.

It is very important to make your travel arrangements to Rajneeshpuram for the Third Annual World Celebration immediately, as Master's Day, 6 July, coincides with the Olympic Games in Los Angeles and with the 4 July weekend (a US national holi day). Many flights are already fully booked. Also, get your vis;I:; early and be sure to let us know if you encounter any pro/lll'll!.",

We were gathered together in the Kids' Hut and were told that this year we were to have a special treat to be flown out to Rajneeshpuram, the sannyasin city where Bhagwan now lived, for a ten-day holiday paid for by the commune. We were thrilled. I quickly made it clear to the other kids that Oregon was near California , where I had been before, as my unparalleled 'Centipede' breakdance moves proved.

All the Medina kids flew out together (most of our parents had flown out the week before). We stopped over in Minneapolis-St Paul, 'The Twin Cities', a name which left me with confused images of apples and cathedrals and people joined at the hip. The whole airport felt cool, like the air from an open refrigerator. The older girls kept whistling the chorus to 'We're the Kids in America (whoah-oh)'. The younger children held hands as we waited to board the flight. The second plane landed in Seattle , Washington . We made the drive to Portland , Oregon , in a white-painted Rajneeshpuram minibus, two birds wheeling against a maroon sun painted on either side. The evening was dark and cool. I remember the air blowing in through the open quarter-light window. We may have stopped off at the Rajneesh Hotel in Antelope, the nearest town to Rajneeshpuram: I remember a stop at a bus shelter, the crunching of gravel. I awoke again when we reached the long bumpy road at the edge of the Ranch. Out the window I could see huts with men wearing sunglasses, who waved us through. Then we were there, at the Ranch, and I was somewhere, asleep.

The next morning all of the Medina kids were gathered together in an L-shaped room in Sheela's own residence, inside Jesus Grove - one of the most exclusive areas of the Ranch. The floor was covered in Oriental rugs, the patterns dark red and maroon. In between the rugs you could see patches of the rush matting that also ran around the edge of the room. We were sitting on the cushions that were already laid out across the floor. Some of the Medina adults were lined up against the wall behind us. III front of us, perched high on the arm of a sofa lined up against thl' long window, in a red jean-jacket and red velour trousers, her legs crossed but not quite reaching the ground, was Sheela. By the way we had all been ushered in we could tell she was important; I'd never seen her before. All I knew was her name. Sheela rolled up her sleeves, played with the silver bangles that ran up each arm to the elbow, and smiled prettily, waiting for us to be quiet.

Behind Sheela, through long windows that made up one wall of the room, huge hills were visible against the bright blue of the sky. The hills looked to me like the round tips of distant, dusty mountains. I was wondering how big this place really was, whether those clouds over there by the hills were still over the Ranch, or the sea, or California , or England . I thought they must be really far away, much farther than anyone might think. Then Sheela spoke. The first thing we should know, she said, was that we weren't going back to England in ten days' time. In fact, Medina was no longer to be our home.

We sat upright in shock.

Sheela explained. We were to remain here in the Ranch, to learn about meditation and worship from sannyasins who lived closer to Bhagwan. We would be here for as long as it took; it might be three months, it might be forever. Every adult would be allocated a tent or an A-frame. Children would be assigned carers who would watch over them at their worship each day.

I couldn't believe the power she seemed to have over us. She could decide all of our destinies at a stroke, with no thought for what we wanted. I hated her. Then I remembered my father, John, and my eyes filled up with tears.

Earlier in the year John had visited Medina . Back then we had made a plan for this summer: after the ten days of the Third Annual World Celebration, John would drive up here to pick rnc up; together, we would go on a camping trip down the west coast of America . I was to stay with him a while, then go back [() Medina .

What now? Would he be allowed to come? Would I be allowed to go? Kneeling on a red patterned rug, I burst into tears. One of the adults, a Woman with long black hair, asked what Was the matter. I told her my father Was coming to meet me. Would I still be able to go away with him? Should I call my dad and ask him not to come? I burst into tears again. The woman rubbed my head and hugged me. She suggested I ask Sheela myself.

I looked over towards the wicker chair. Sheela was still curled up inside it, talking to one of the women. The woman bent Over and whispered something. Sheela laughed, throwing her head back and rattling her bangles some more. No, I said, I can't speak to her. The black-haired woman pulled me to my feet and pushed me towards the chair. Breathing erratically, blinking back the tears, I stood in front of Sheela. She looked down, toyed with her bangles, and asked me what it was I wanted to say. Was I allowed to leave to visit my father? I asked her. Sheela looked around the room, then back at me. Sheela nodded. Yes, I could go, she said; however, while I was here, I was to worship along with the other kids. Until my father arrived, nothing would be different for me. I nodded eagerly. Sheela looked back up to the other woman. I could see she Was finished with me, so I walked back over to all the other kids and tried to wipe my face with my sleeve.

That Summer Sheela had a series of meetings with groups of sannyasins from around the world to tell them how best to spread Bhagwan's message. After the celebration, she let some sannyasins go back to their OWn Countries. In some of these meetings her bright red denim jacket was parted to reveal a .357 Magnum strapped to her waist.

Because they were less likely to abuse their power, and because they had been suffering for centuries and he wanted to compensate, Bhagwan put women in charge of his communes. The big-shot sannyasins were all Women: the Big Mammas. Back in the Ashram Main Office in India these matriarchs, the practical heart of the administration, laid down the law on moral, emotional, and spiritual issues. They were more down to earth than Bhagwan. They listened to the problem at hand. Then they said, 'OK. Now put it aside. Be meditative, be detached, and carryon with your work.'

The Mammas were absolutely dedicated to Bhagwan. They audibly capitalized their 'h's whenever they referred to 'Him'. They aped his mannerisms; they adopted his vocabulary; they pressed their palms together in greeting; they littered their conversation with Bhagwan's favourite words, like 'good' and 'beautiful'. Good meant varyingly 'hello', 'goodbye', 'welcome', 'we are finished here'. 'Beautiful' could mean anything. When people went a little too crazy at the Ashram, they were sometimes shipped off to a local asylum for tranquillizers and rest care. When they recovered and came back, someone would say, 'That is beautiful.' When they didn't recover, they were drugged and propped up on the seat of a plane back home. Someone would say, "That is beautiful.'

Until 1981 anyone who wanted to see Bhagwan first had to talk to Laxmi, the Indian woman who had been Bhagwan's first disciple, and had soon become his personal secretary. She always referred to herself in the third person. 'He told Laxmi to wear saffron,' she said once, 'and buy a special mala, and so Laxmi hecame his number one sannyasin. Just like that.' Laxmi said that when she met Bhagwan it had been love at first sight. She called him 'a fierce and powerful speaker, a courageous warrior, a lion'. She loved Bhagwan's message, and was convinced it would spread like an orange fire across the world. In 1977 she announced that by 1987 half of Red China would take sannyas. She was the daughter of an affluent Jain businessman, a ( Congress party supporter with close ties to Gandhi, Nehru, and Morarji Desai; when she met Bhagwan she had been the secretary of the All-India Women's Congress. Her political power and family connections had been essential in keeping the Ashram running.

Sheela, Laxmi's assistant, was a small, bright-eyed Indian woman, a powerhouse who never seemed to stop. (Laxmi and Bhagwan nicknamed her 'The Atom Bomb'.) Sheela had taken sannyas in 1972 and moved to the Ashram in 1975. She started working in the kitchen, but within a year she had formed the Ashram's bank (began when she sat on the Krishna House steps with a green tin box full of foreign currency). Sheela was soon Laxmi's second in command. As Laxmi spent more and more time travelling India , searching for a good location for the new Buddhafield, Sheela began to make more and more executive decisions. In 1981 Sheela took over as Bhagwan's right-hand woman. She immediately began to send some sannyasins away and 'blacklisted' others, giving them only menial jobs and restricting their access to the outside world. At the age of seventeen Sheela had travelled to study in New Jersey ; two years later she had married a US citizen. Her strong connections with the USA made her keen for Bhagwan to relocate to America . Laxmi wasn't around to argue.

'If someone is not next to you, it is as if they do not exist,' Bhagwan once said. He had no trouble with Sheela's rise to power. By the time they left for America , Sheela was Bhagwan's 'representative'; even Laxmi needed Sheela's permission to speak with Bhagwan.

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Re: Royal Way/Jacumba/Ranch/Michael Gottlieb
Posted by: shakti ()
Date: October 31, 2013 11:44PM

For some time, in some corners of Pune, anti-Ashram sentiment had been rising. To distinguish their particular brand of joyous surrender from the renunciation of the traditional sannyasin, Bhagwan and his sannyasins sometimes referred to his discipleship as 'neo-sannyas'. But religious purists were still outraged. The local Indians were at best bemused, and often shocked by the Westerners' open sexual contact - holding hands, kissing, embracing in public - while wearing the orange robes of the Saddhu, the Indian mystic who has renounced the world. As one local resident wrote in a letter to The Times, it was as if a thousand Indians, dressed as vicars, were snogging their way up Park Lane .

In 1979 a German film crew came to make a documentary about the Ashram therapy groups. They were allowed to film some of the most intensive encounter groups in the padded cells. They filmed men with beards punching other men with beards. They filmed women taking off their robes. They filmed men and women grappling on the padded floors. They filmed men and women screaming, hooting, and thrashing against the walls. The resulting footage was screened - as Ashram! - in cinemas across India . The reputation of Bhagwan as the epicentre of a 'sex-cult' grew. By the late 1970s, despite pressure from Laxmi's father - an old friend - Prime Minister Morarji Desai had banned all further film coverage of the Ashram because he felt it would give a false impression of India to the West. (Bhagwan had called Desai 'a cunning fascist', which can't have helped.)

There were fewer and fewer Indian disciples at the Ashram.

In the early days Bhagwan had lectured one week in Hindi and one week in English. It was the Westerners, though, who loved his message - and Bhagwan courted them most of all. After complaints from Western women about Indians liberating their sexuality too enthusiastically, he banned Indians from Tantric groups, and then from Sufi dancing. He stopped lecturing in Hindi. By mid-1981 only a few hundred Indian sannyasins remained at the Ashram. Around that time, Bhagwan had begun to receive death threats. Stones were thrown at sannyasins from passing cars; occasionally a lone Ma was dragged into a bush and raped by non-sannyasins. One morning in 1980 a Hindu stood up in Bhagwan's morning lecture, shouted, 'You are insulting our religion!', and threw a ceremonial knife; it landed on the floor at Bhagwan's feet. (The assailant later told the Times of India that he had attacked Bhagwan because the guru 'was a CIA agent'. Sannyasin folklore insists that the man immediately fell at Bhagwan's feet and wept for forgiveness.) After the attack, airport-style metal detectors were ordered for the gates of Buddha Hall. Visitors to the discourses were frisked; and for the first time weapons were worn by some of Bhagwan's bodyguards.

It wasn't just the Indians who were troubled by Bhagwan. In the late 1970s Richard Price, the head of the Esalen Institute in California , visited the Ashram. He was broadly admiring of what he saw, until he took one of Teertha's encounter groups. One woman broke her arm, another her leg. He was shocked by what he saw as emotional and physical abuse. Price had taken sannyas by post two years before; when he left Pune he returned his mala with a letter of protest to Bhagwan describing the group's techniques as 'violence and sexual acting out of the most unfeeling kind'. (In his discourse the next morning Bhagwan said: 'The expert always misses. Only innocence is fresh, alive, receptive.') Prince Wilf of Hanover, Prince Charles's cousin and a German heir to the throne, was a long-time Ashramite. Kirti, as he was known, died at the Ashram after collapsing from a stroke in an Ashram karate class. His daughter wanted to live on at the Ashram but the scandalized German royal family took her into its care.

In January 1979, two months after the Jonestown mass suicides, violence was dropped from the groups. 'Violence has fulfilled its function,' said an Ashram press release. But there were other problems. Tax issues were about to catch up with the Ashram administration. Indian officials had recently ruled that Rajneesh Foundation International did not qualify as a charitable or religious organization. Therefore it would have to pay $4 million in backdated income, wealth, sales, property, and export taxes. There was a fire at Saswad, Laxmi's favourite location for the new commune; there was another fire at a Rajneesh book warehouse ten miles outside Pune. The fires were held up at the time as an example of anti-Bhagwan persecution; but some sannyasins realized that the heavily insured books were more lucrative to burn than to ship abroad. These suspicions were shared by the insurance company, which later sued for fraud and repaid Rajneesh Foundation International only a minimal amount.

Through therapy groups, restaurants, donations from wealthy sannyasins, the Ashram administration had for some time been raising as much money as possible. The Ashram canteen was taking in a hundred thousand rupees a week. Even the six-rupee charge to enter the Ashram topped up the coffers.

In April 1981 Sheela used some of the Ashram money to buy a ten-bedroom, late-nineteenth-century mansion in Montclair , New Jersey - officially Chidvilas Rajneesh ('Tree of Consciousness') Meditation Center . Although Sheela referred to it as 'my castle', it served as Bhagwan's first residence in the USA . The Ashram coffers were emptied into a Credit Suisse account in Zurich . The stash of gold bullion was melted, forged, and tarnished to resemble cheap bronze badges, and pinned onto the clothes of the inner circle. And Bhagwan emigrated to America .

The whole first-class cabin of the Pan Am flight was reserved for Bhagwan and his closest disciples. As they rose above the clouds, Bhagwan tucked into a champagne breakfast. Sheela was by his side; Laxmi was not on the plane.

After Bhagwan left India , the Pune Ashram wound down. To mark his absence, a life-size cardboard cutout of Bhagwan was propped up on the stage in Buddha Hall. A half-page advert was bought in the Pune Herald: 'Big Sale at the Shree Rajneesh Ashram'. Locals gathered in a small crowd outside the Ashram gates - 'Anything to sell, Swami? Tape recorders? Bicycles?' Bombay airport was crowded with orange people waiting for flights out of India . The monsoon had started; after a clap of thunder the Ashram electricity went out. The last therapy groups were held on the roofs of the group huts in the pouring ram.

Immediately after Bhagwan's arrival in the USA , while they arranged visas with the London embassy, the people closest to Bhagwan began to come through Oak Village . The famous sannyasins, the people who had been living closest to Bhagwan - my mother and her friends met them all.

There were now 126 sannyasin centres scattered across Europe, including twenty-two in the UK , forty-three in West Germany , and one, Ananto Rajneesh, in Podgrad , Yugoslavia . In the Rajneesh Buddhafield European Newsletter there was an interview with Swami Prem Volodya, about life as a Swami behind the Iron Curtain (he Wore his mala locket under his clothes, although people often mistook it for a picture of Marx); and a postcard from Vihan Rajneesh Meditation Centre in Berlin, with a photograph of Bhagwan's name sprayed guerrilla style in letters six feet high on the Berlin Wall.

Sheela's New Jersey castle was never going to be big enough for their grand plans for the new commune. Two weeks after his departure, in August 1981, Bhagwan's final destination was announced: he had moved to a huge tract of ranch land in Oregon , bought by Sheela the month before. Bhagwan named the land 'Rajneeshpuram' - 'The Fortified City of Rajneesh'. The informal name was 'Rancho Rajneesh'; everyone called it the Ranch.

The Ranch. Sixty-four thousand acres - a hundred square miles - of Oregon ranch land, near Antelope, a retirement town with a population of just forty, bought with $6 million of sannyasin investments and donations. Sannyasins intended Rajneeshpuram to be a perfect society: a model of alternative living, with meditation at its heart. A blue booklet _ 'Rajneeshpuram: A Blueprint for Man's Future' - was printed and handed out to every sannyasin at the European communes; in it, Sheela's pronouncements were laid out like poetry. 'If we can build a city in a semi-desert, surrounded by land that has been reclaimed and made agriculturally productive through love and care, recycling wastes, exploring new sources of energy, giving back to nature as much as we take from her and enhancing areas of natural beauty and wildlife, we will have achieved Our goaL'

Bhagwan now insisted that the only way to meet the 'greatest challenge' facing mankind - ecological harmony - was through the creative use of new technology. They planned to build dams, hydroponics farms, and the biggest greenhouse in America . As well as agricultural areas, urban and commercial dimensions were needed, to 'accurately reflect modern man's dilemma'. 'Our vision of Rajneeshpuram', the leaflet continues, 'therefore includes provision for a small city, so that we can provide a complete working model, a society in miniature, for the whole world to study.'

There was another slightly different, more personal, story to the purchase of the Ranch. Sheela had fallen in love when she saw the broad, dusty landscape. In a euphoric moment, as the deal was signed, she confessed to the Ranch foreman that she felt this would be the place her dead husband, Chinmaya, would be reincarnated. Some of the other sannyasins in Bhagwan's inner circle asked questions about the suitability of the land, and about Oregon 's strict zoning laws. No matter. Sheela now had Bhagwan's complete confidence. Sheela wanted 'The Big Muddy', as the Ranch was then known, to become Rajneeshpuram. So it did.

The public story was that the land was intended for a smallscale sannyasin farming cooperative. Oregon zoning laws allowed just six people to live and work on the Ranch. In August 1981 Sheela's husband, Jayananda, wrote a letter to the Wasco County Planning Commission detailing their plans. The new farming commune would need forty-two persons, he wrote: ten for berry helds, ten for chicken farming, six for grapes, five for water resources, four for orchards, four for making fences, and three for the dairy farm.

Meanwhile, in the Ranch's Zarathustra farm storage building, an extra storey was built. Each time the inspectors C\lIIl', i11l' doorways into the upper level seemed to be obstructed. ()II 1111', secret floor, the architectural and financial plans made for a new sannyasin city. There were already four hundred sannyasins in residence, and secret plans to house ten thousand. The ultimate hope for this Ranch land was clear to every sannyasin: a Rajneesh city, an entire society focused on love and meditation, with Bhagwan at its centre - an enlightened eye at the heart of the celebratory hurricane. Richer sannyasins were approached and told that for $10,000 they could buy an apartment on the Ranch - which, like those at Pune, would be ready 'soon'. There would be sannyasin police officers, sannyasin Dumpsters, a sannyasin mayor.

Rajneeshpuram: the city of sannyasins in the sun.

By October 1981 sannyasins had bought up a number of properties in Antelope, the closest town to Rajneeshpuram, to use as spare accommodation. The Rajneeshpuram administration had asked the Antelope town council for permission to build a printing plant and a hundred-worker office building on the Ranch. In November Wasco County Court granted the Ranch administration permission to hold an election to incorporate Rajneeshpuram as a town or city. But, it turned out, Oregon land-use regulations applied to the property; and 'The Big Muddy Ranch' was zoned for agricultural purposes only. A local pressure group, '100 Friends of Oregon ', challenged Wasco County Court's decision. They insisted all non-agricultural buildings should be built in Antelope itself, not on Rajneeshpuram land. The Ranch administration investigated this possibility, but discovered that according to other water supply regulations, no new construction would be permitted in Antelope. A 'stop-work' order was issued, forbidding any further construction work on Rajneeshpuram land.

Not long after, the Rajneeshpuram sannyasins won their case; they would be allowed to build. In fact they had never stopped building.

They changed the Ranch. They dug it up, and ploughed it, and turned the earth with machines, until things began to grow.

Bhagwan had never made any secret of his admiration for the rich. His attitude to money was that it was there to be used: 'Money needs to be a current,' he said, 'fast moving. The faster it moves, the richer is society'. (An Oregon bumper sticker from the mid-1970s: 'Jesus Saves, Bhagwan Spends'.) Bhagwan said that the poor could never achieve enlightenment as they were too busy looking for fridge-freezers. In fact, he maintained, the seeker of truth had a duty to be rich (an attitude which, some observed, might explain his popularity in West Germany and California ). Back in the mid-1970s, the Ashram had two safes: one was reserved for stacks of cash, gold bars, and jewellery given as gifts to Bhagwan. Deeksha, a member of the inner circle and responsible for the Ashram catering, kept her stash of Swiss chocolate in the other. Bhagwan had always loved to collect expensive trinkets: monogrammed towels, gold pens, cuff-links, jewelled watches. Now he had moved on to bigger things. Unknown to most sannyasins, gold jewellery given to Bhagwan at the Ranch was now melted down into bullion. What he really wanted was Rolls-Royces.

His first two white Rolls-Royces, a Corniche and a Silver Shadow, were shipped over from the Ashram when he established himself at Rajneeshimram in Oregon . In 1981 the early guard of Rajneeshpuram sannyasins took up a collection, with the richer sannyasins donating the lion's share. On the morning of 11 December, his birthday, Bhagwan was led out from his Chuang Tzu living quarters. His birthday present was unveiled: two new Rolls-Royce Corniches, one white and one silver, parked on the gravel drive.

By the end of spring, work on the main infrastructure of Rajneeshpuram was nearly complete. There were generators, sewage works, and water supplies. There were sixty acres of vegetables, a hundred beehives, and a vineyard. There were twenty-eight hundred chickens, a hundred ducks, twenty geese, aflock of peacocks, and two emus (to keep the coyotes at bay).
At Medina we settled for Muscovy ducks; at the Ranch they imported black swans. Despite its being an entirely vegetarian city, there was also a herd of a hundred beef cattle, bought from an influential local. Bhagwan's apartment had a sculpted garden, a heated indoor swimming pool, and - his favourite _ a door that opened automatically as he approached. There was a new private airstrip for 'Air Rajneesh's' first two Douglas DC-3s. Work had begun on a massive two-acre solar greenhouse intended to be the largest in the USA . Nearly complete was 'Krishnamurti Dam', which would form a useful reservoir and 'beautify the landscape'.

Because of the steep ranch hills, TV reception was impossible - except in Jesus Grove, where Sheela had installed a satellite dish. There was no cinema, theatre, or library. There were few books; the second bestselling writer on the Ranch was Louis L' Amour. The bestselling author was, of course, Bhagwan. In every shop, office, and restaurant, Bhagwan's face was on the wall. At the Rajneesh Hotel, his face Was on every 'hospitality AIDS Prevention' condom and disinfectant pack. In the Rajneesh Casino, his face was on the back of every playing card.

Also complete were the foundations of a new kind of spiritual university: originally the ' Rajneesh International Meditation University ', then renamed the 'Rajneesh International NoUniversity' (because it did not believe in 'competition, examination or knowledge through memory'). The staff included deans of 'the occult' and of 'altered states of consciousness'.

To celebrate the birth of the new sannyasin city, they decided to hold a World Celebration, and invite every sannyasin from across the world. Promotional merchandise was ordered: baseball caps with plastic adjustable head-straps and high white foam front with a picture of Bhagwan. (Some of the Medina kids, whose parents visited from the Ranch, had these. I preferred my Marine World Africa USA hat, with two leaping killer whales and a tiger in the centre, because no one else had one.)

The Antelope residents began to see that this was going to be more than a farming cooperative. The German footage of naked Tantra groups at the Ashram did the rounds in anti-Rajneesh circles around Antelope and Madras . The old anti-communist motto 'Better Dead than Red' started to reappear on bumper stickers around local Oregon towns. At community fairs you could buy 'Ban the Bhagwan' T-shirts and badges. There were also customized versions of our own caps, worn by some of the more confrontational locals: the picture of Bhagwan branded with rifle-cross hairs on his forehead. By early summer there were a dozen lawsuits outstanding between Rajneeshpuram and the Antelope City Council, including one long-running attempt to have the permit for the celebration revoked. The old Antelope residents had begun to leave. Staff at a Portland restaurant -unrelated to the Ranch - had to change their red uniforms after patrons assumed they were sannyasins and stopped coming.

Sheela, who thrived when Bhagwan seemed to be persecuted, called the Oregon locals 'fascists and bigots'.

There were thousands of sannyasins at Rajneeshpuram. I remember having difficulty finding my mother's tent among the thousands and thousands of tents lined up in rows, in dusty fields upon dusty fields. If I missed my mother during the day, I went to look for her in the evening at ' Magdalena ', in the food tents. After a while, people dressed in the same colours all start to look the same. I would walk through the huge, long, low marquees, running my eyes along the hundreds of benches, pushing my way through the crowds of thousands of sannyasins arriving for their evening meal, looking down each row under the huge green canvas canopy. After dark, much of my time at the Ranch was spent wandering through those crowds looking for my mother. There were times when, as evening drew in, I felt I had spent my whole life on tiptoes, looking for my mother in a darkening crowd.

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Re: Royal Way/Jacumba/Ranch/Michael Gottlieb
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 01, 2013 07:27AM

MG got his material from a poisoned source.

In his memoir, My LIfe in Orange, Tim Guest tells how his mother, one of the ashram therapists, discovered that Rajneesh kept detailed files on each of the disciples. Thats ego-driven control and micromangement--not spirtual attainment.

And by not saying that he was utilizing lecture material and methods from Rajneesh, MG deprived his students of information needed to make an informed decision.

For there is a possiblility that some might have never become involved with RW had they been told that MGs material was first used by Rajneesh.

Whan presecribed a drug, at least one is told the name of the drug, there is information about its manufactuer on the label, a package insert with a list of known side effects, and a lot number indicating when the pills in that' bottle were manufactured and at which facility.


My Life In Orange. by Tim Guest. ***

The Bhagwan ('The Blessed One') was born in central India in 1931, the son of a cloth merchant.

As a teenager, he was interested in conjuring and hypnosis, hobbies ideally suited to someone wishing to start his own religion

"Tim Guest told how his mother discovered extensive files were kept on disciples and how she read her own file--and found it contained her first desperate letter to Rajneesh. Someone who maintains a file system can make it seem he or she is psychic. but even aside from that, there is detailed info about the programs at the Poona ashram, the whole sale regression, etc which may help may help reconstruct what made it so appealing to Michael. A lot of human potential types and therapists visited the Pune ashram and MG may have been among them."

Royal Way/Jacumba/Ranch/Michael Gottlieb - Rick Ross

(Reconstruction of a post on this thread),1202,115922,quote=1ý
Oct 28, 2012 - 6 posts - ý4 authors
... made it so appealing to Michael. A lot of human potential types and therapists visited the Pune ashram, and MG may have been among them.

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Re: Royal Way/Jacumba/Ranch/Michael Gottlieb
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 01, 2013 08:57PM

Rajneesh/Osho, the alleged source of MG's Royal Way material, was a polluted source.

25 years after Rajneeshee commune collapsed, truth spills out

Part One Rajneesh and Sheela--playing disciples off against each other.



Ma Anand Puja stepped into St. Vincent Hospital on a summer night in 1985, hunting for James Comini.

The Filipino nurse was there to kill the rural Oregon politician, who was recuperating from ear surgery at the Portland hospital. She carried a syringe to inject a mixture into Comini's intravenous tube that would stop his heart.

But once inside Comini's seventh-floor isolation room, Puja discovered her target wasn't on an IV. Flustered, she hurried from the hospital to a getaway car, and her assassination team started the long drive home.

Their destination: Rancho Rajneesh, a spiritual encampment 200 miles away in eastern Oregon. It was base for Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a guru from India, and 2,000 of his worshippers.


A group of wealthy California donors also proved challenging to control once they moved to the Oregon ranch in 1984. The most notable were Francoise Ruddy, whose former husband produced "The Godfather," and John Wally, a physician who made a fortune in emergency room medicine. She became Ma Prem Hasya; he was Swami Dhyan John. That was bad enough, but they also attracted the guru's attention. They obliged him with diamond-studded watches and Rolls-Royces. Before long, Hasya married the guru's doctor. ...

The Hollywood group and the guru's personal staff soon made Sheela's list of people on and off the ranch considered a threat to the commune and the guru. She split up the Hollywood group, scattering them to separate homes around the ranch. She tried to replace the guru's doctor.

To keep tabs on what was going on inside the guru's compound, she had the place laced with hidden microphones and recording equipment. One bug was placed on a table leg next to the guru's favorite chair. He was told it was a panic button. Trusted sannyasins monitored the eavesdropping equipment, reporting information to the commune's top four leaders.

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Re: Royal Way/Jacumba/Ranch/Michael Gottlieb
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 01, 2013 09:07PM

It is worth asking how many persons would have become involved had MG told them, clearly and up front, he had been inspired by, and got his material and methods from Rajneesh/Osho.

This was a shocking and notorious situation when news broke about Rajneesh's behavior in Oregon. Members of his group tried to influence local election in their favor by putting salmonella bacteria in the salad bar of a popular local restaurant, hoping enough people would stay home and ensure that more Rajneesh disciples would go to the polls and thus ensure victory for their supporter.

How many would have been willing to become involved with MG had they known of his use of methods and materials from a man whose group made the history books as being the first group to attempt bacterial warfare on US soil--and with US citizens as targets?



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Re: Royal Way/Jacumba/Ranch/Michael Gottlieb
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 01, 2013 09:41PM

The Rajneesh Chronicles: The True Story of the Cult that Unleashed the First Act
of Bioterrorism on U.S. Soil
[Win McCormack] on *FREE* super ... - 261k - Cached - Similar pages




Rajneeshees in Oregon: Home



Part one: 25 years after the Rajneesh commune collapsed, truth spills out




Part two: Thwarted commune goes on the attack



Part three: Mystery sickness, suspicions spread


Part four: Rajneeshee leaders see enemies everywhere as questions compound



Part five: Utopian dreams die in murderous mood



Why they came




Behind the story


Interview with Sheela
Rajneeshee memories

(part 1 - The Ranch)



(part 2 - After the Fallout)


Interview with Sheela



Where are they now?


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Re: Royal Way/Jacumba/Ranch/Michael Gottlieb
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: November 01, 2013 09:45PM


A comment on Facebook.


I wish you guys would pull the "Ohso" quote. He was no enlightened spiritual master, his lack of character nullified everything he said. He was mostly the master of voter fraud, public salmonella poisonings, attempted murder, and other criminal activity out of Oregon's history, some of it very bizarre and alarming. Take a look at this article get 'enlightened' for understanding who this man really was.

25 years after Rajneeshee commune collapsed, truth spills out -- Part 1 of 5
Rajneeshees in Oregon -- The Untold Story: After a quarter century, a fuller and more bizarre account emerges of the deceptive and dangerous goings-on at Rancho Rajneesh in rural Oregon.

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