Discontentment in Osho Commune

DECCAN HERALD, Friday, June 23, 2000
PUNE, June 22 (UNI)

Bubbles of discontentment have started rising up from the Osho commune here with a section of disciples declaring rebellion against the functioning of the present ”inner circle”.

Osho Rajneesh had constituted a 21-member decision-making committee, which came to be described as the ”inner circle”. All the members of the inner circle were chosen by Osho himself, according to one of the discontented sanyasins Ma Yoga Neelam.

The inner circle members were chosen for life by Osho, who had ordained that the members could not be replaced during their lifetime, according to Ma Neelam, who had served as personal secretary to Osho.

But, over a period of time, 15 of the original members have left the commune in disgust, peeved over the autocratic functioning of the chairman, vice-chairman and secretary of the inner circle, says Ms Ma Neelam, who herself had been a member of the inner circle.

All these 15 members have been replaced in disrespect to Osho’s wishes, says Ms Neelam. The new members have been ”planted” by New York-based inner circle chairman Swami Prem Jayesh and constitute the ”Jayesh circle”, she says.

Thus, actual policy decisions are taken only by the three members at the top of hierarchy while the rest are there only to execute them, says the disenchanted sanyasin.

This has led to the neglect of the spiritual values of the commune, she alleges adding that the commune has flourished only in one dimension – the aesthetic dimension.

Swami Jayesh (Canadian-born real estate agent Michael O’Byrne) has concentrated solely on enhancing the real estate value of the commune by beautifying it. But, that apart, he has no feelings of the pulse of the sanyasins, which has led to the neglect of the spiritual values causing the heart of the commune to become lost, says she.

BOOKS’ COPYRIGHT: Furthermore, when Osho came back to India in 1987, he wanted everything belonging to the commumne to be transferred here including the copyright of his books, says Ms Neelam.

But the copyrights never got transferred and the publishing rights continued to remain in New York, she says. ”Thus, although the world headquarters of the commune was in Pune, we had to seek permission from New York to publish Osho’s works,” says Ms Neelam.

The publishing permission was often denied under the pretext that since Osho’s works were best- selling titles their exclusive rights should be sold only to the best of publishers, says she.

As a result, even the ”world headquarters of the commune in Pune” was forced to buy Osho’s books from American publishers at inflated costs. The costs further inflated when the books reached the Indian markets. The commune has, therefore, been finding it difficult to spread Osho’s message, says Ms Neelam.

The discontented disciples propose to build up pressure against the three top members of the inner circle by urging other members to come out openly to register their unhappiness with the present functioning of the commune.

Login form