Osho commune in Pune in new controversy

Yahoo! India News – Top Stories, Wednesday June 21, 2000

Pune, June 21 – Osho Commune International, established here by the late Osho Rajneesh, has found itself in a new controversy, with a veteran member accusing the organisation’s leaders of commercialising the late guru’s legacy.

The Osho Commune, which has been witnessing internal conflict for some time, has attracted fresh controversy with Osho Rajneesh’s trusted personal secretary Ma Yoga Neelam being denied entry into the commune.

“I was shocked when I was denied entry to the commune on Tuesday morning for meditation. This is nothing short of running the commune like a dictator,” Ma Neelam, who hails from Punjab and has made the commune her home since 1969, told IANS.

“Swami Satya Vedant, one of the members of the Inner Circle who manage the Osho Commune, told me that I needed a break and need not enter the commune”, a distraught Neelam said. “But when I asked if I had been banned from the Commune, he said no and neither had the Commune withdrawn my identity card.”

Neelam alleged that the “spiritual legacy” of Osho was being hijacked by some powerful people driven purely by commercial motives.

“The crass commercialisation of the Osho legacy and running the affairs of the Osho commune in a dictatorial manner was absolutely against the teaching of my master and guru Osho who was close to me,” said Neelam, who used to be one of the 21-member Inner Circle managing the commune before and after Osho’s death 10 years ago.

However, Swami Satya Vedant told IANS, “Neelam has not been banned from the Commune but I only told her to take a break. A year ago she herself had resigned from the Inner Circle as she claimed she needed to take care of her health.”

“Neelam also told us that she wanted more time for meditation and we hugged each other and parted in a cordial atmosphere. But we were shocked to read her interview in a local daily making all kinds of allegations against the Commune affairs”, Vedant said.

Demanding transparency in the administration of the Osho Commune, Neelam, in an newspaper interview had charged that the commune was run for purely commercial profits.

Neelam had specifically questioned Osho’s copyrights resting with the Osho Foundation in Zurich. She had also threatened to move the Charity Commissioner’s office for details. She had demanded that copyrights of Osho’s works, art and meditation remain with the Pune-based Osho Commune International headquarters according to the late spiritual leader’s instructions.

She said members of the Inner Circle were trustees of the Commune and any major decision like that on copyrights should be taken only after taking sanyasins (ascetics) into confidence. Instead, the autocratic decisions of the Inner Circle were being dished out as Osho’s decisions, Neelam said.

Vedant however defended the Commune’s decision on copyrights, claiming that Osho had made it clear that people would try to appropriate his work. Clarifying the Commune’s stand, he said, “What Osho International, New York, has done is to continue a process that began in the early 1980s of registering these copyrights in the U.S., where the law provides the greatest protection.”

Vedant said the Osho International Foundation, Zurich, a non-profit Swiss foundation holds the copyrights of Osho’s works and makes the works available around the world. He said neither Zurich nor Pune were the best place to make publishing content available and that the world’s media content capital was New York. Vedant said the New York chapter, Osho International, was created in accordance with Osho’s guidance.

The trustees of the Osho International Foundation, Zurich, are all members of the Inner Circle.

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