The "Inner Circle"

This page is part of the historical background relating to "What Is an Osho?", a slick, sannyas-paradigm-shifting policy paper written by Amrito and circulated in 1998. A deconstruction of Amrito's paper is presented on this site, introduced here.
Origins:

The information about the origin and composition of this group is
taken from a Feb 1 1990 supplement to Osho Times International, except the additional material (beyond their names) about the individuals and information following the list.

On April 6 1989, Osho gave instructions for the setting up of a committee to be called "The Inner Circle." The aim of the committee, he said, was to reach unanimous decisions about the continued functioning and expansion of the commune and his work. "I am tired," he said, "and I want to retire."

Over the next few months Osho kept close watch on the workings of the committee members. Eventually he finalised the committee at 21 members, whom he said had been chosen to represent the commune departments and his work. He stressed that the inner workings of the committee were to remain a secret. He also said that the committee is not to be involved in spiritual considerations, but should look to the mundane work, the practical problems of the commune: "The Inner Circle" is not a club to discuss philosophy. It is a pragmatic and practical way to decide things."

Osho said that when any member dies a new member is to be chosen unanimously by the remaining members.
from the Feb 1 1990 supplement to OTI(Right click to view larger)

The original IC members
(first three in order of stated positions / roles, rest in aphabetical order) were as follows below. Note that OTI only gave the bare single names, not even Ma or Sw, except for "Mukta the Greek"; other information has been surmised and/or gathered:


1 Sw Anand Jayesh -- "
chairman", Canadian lawyer and financial whiz aka Michael O'Byrne, now Michael Byrne
2 Sw Prem Amrito -- "vice-chairman", Osho's personal physician, etc aka Sw Devaraj, George Meredith and now John Andrews
3 Ma Deva Anando -- "secretary and medium" Australian lawyer aka Sue Appleton, now Sue Heffley, left in 20001 or so, was till she left the only female in top mgmt, since then there have been none
4 Sw Amitabh -- aka Cliffski, Osho's pilot, left early, died 1996 or so
5 Ma Atmo Anasha -- aka Brit-Austrian
children's author Elfie Donnelly, likely left early
6 Ma Avirbhava -- left as part of the "Hollywood Group" exodus in 1991 or so2
7 Sw Chitten -- unknown, possibly Veet Chitten3, likely left early
8 Sw Devageet -- British, aka Charles Newman, Osho's dentist, left in 2005 or so
9 Ma Prem Garimo -- Dutch aka Prem Arup, Maria Kortenhost
10 Ma Prem Hasya -- Osho's secretary at end of Ranch and all Pune Two aka Francoise Ruddy, left as part of the "Hollywood Group" exodus in 1991 or so
2, died Aug 2014 (Parkinson's)
11
Jayantibhai (Thakkar) -- aka Sw Satya Bodhisattva, died 2011, was Osho's main host in Gujarat, sponsor of all of Osho's Mt. Abu Camps
12 Ma Prem Kaveesha -- aka Joyce Schlozman, left as part of the "Hollywood Group" exodus in 1991 or so
2, died 1998 (cancer)
13 Ma Yoga Mukta -- "the Greek", Osho's gardener and backer for the original purchases of ashram property in Koregaon Park
14 Ma Yoga Neelam -- Indian, Osho's secretary, left in 1999 or so
15 Sw Plotinus -- the most unknown, rumored to be American, likely left early
16 Sw Prem Prasad -- German Centering group leader, left early, died of brain tumor six months later
17 Sw Tathagat -- Indian, Neelam's husband, was "ashram-in-charge" until forced out in early 90s amid allegations of financial impropriety
18 Ma PremTuriya -- German aka Turiya Hanover, left early
19 Sw Satya Vedant -- Indian aka Dr Vasant Joshi, left in 2010 or so for health reasons
20 Sw Dhyan Yogi -- aka Dhyan John, left as part of the "Hollywood Group" exodus in 1991 or so
2
21 Ma Zareen -- Indian (Parsi) ran sannyas initiation academy with Shunyo (below)

An interview with Amrito was also featured in this issue of OTI. Regarding the IC, he said:

The names were selected by Osho. He said the inner workings of the committee should be secret. It's a group of people who are not particularly public. So, it's a way of doing things in a gentle and unobtrusive fashion.
I don't feel to discuss all the people on that list. They're all well-known sannyasins. It's a very wide-ranging group. There are 11 women and 10 men. I think the word Osho used about it was that it should be representative. And if any member of that 21 should die, then we would select somebody else.


About the "11 women and 10 men", he may be forgiven for a small inaccuracy. Or maybe "Plotinus" will turn out to be a woman. (Unlikely but ya never know.) Or maybe OTI got it wrong. About "wide-ranging" and "representative", is is clear that this no longer applies, and has not since Yogendra joined in 1991 or so.

And from Amrito's address in Buddha Hall the night after Osho left his body, this snippet:


About nine months ago, Osho formed "The Inner Circle", a group of sannyasins now numbering twenty. Osho said He would have no successor, the Inner Circle would be H
is successor. The function of the Inner Circle is -- in Osho's words -- "to reach unanimous decisions about the continued functioning and expansion of the commune and Osho's work". Anando is preparing a full account of Osho's guidance on the workings of this group and who is in it. It will be available for you all to read tomorrow.

Additionally, information from Neelam indicates that on Dec 23 1989, a committee of six members of the IC was created by Osho called the Presidium, who were to have special responsibilities such as Publications.




Subsequently:

In the event, many members left before their life term was over and were duly replaced. In fact, almost half left quite early, likely in the first two years4. As the group evolved it apparently became less consensus-oriented and diverse and certainly more hierarchical and homogeneous, and dominated by the Presidium, with that group almost entirely male and Western.

As the group have fairly steadfastly observed the principle of secrecy ostensibly suggested by Osho, it is next to impossible to learn much about their workings or even their comings and goings and composition.
The only known exception regarding their workings is an open letter from Neelam circulated about a year after she left. Some infobits have been put together based on some workers' recollections:

New members replacing old, mostly unknown how long they have lasted (** = likely still members as of 2016):
Ma Prem Shunyo -- aka Dharma Chetana, wrote Diamond Days, may still be a member but said to be rarely there
Sw Dhyanesh -- Indian, runs security, likely replaced Tathagat
Sw Yogendra** -- Jayesh's brother aka D'Arcy O'Byrne, also a lawyer, like Jayesh (father was a Canadian high court judge), and Presidium member, in IC since 1991 or so
Sw Pramod** -- German (accountant?) aka Klaus Steeg, also in Presidium
Sw Sahajanand -- German (accountant?) aka Peter Creutzfeldt, came in in 1991
Ma Bodhitaru -- Brit, was member by 1995
Sw Kuteer -- her Italian boyfriend, ran kitchen, also in by 1995
Ma Vatayana** -- aka Ursula Hoess, German, runs Global Connections, since 1991(?)
Ma Amrit Sadhana** -- Indian aka Sadhana Belapurkar in charge of PR, public face of Resort in India
Sw Mukesh Bharti** -- Indian aka Mukesh Sarda, runs finances, on the board of lots of trusts and legal entities, Presidium member
Sw Shantam Dheeraj -- Texan, ran "Tibetan Pulsing Healing" groups, left / forced out ~1997, died in Italy in 1998
Sw Devendra Bharti** -- Indian aka Devendra Singh Dewal, audio and books, sits on various trusts and orgs

*****

Possibilities (suggested and/or surmised):

Ma Gatha -- completely unknown5
Sw Sudheer -- (Dutch?)
Ma Vidya Bharati -- Indian aka Vidya Khubchandani, sits on various trusts and orgs
Sw Yoga Pratap Bharati -- Indian aka Lal Pratap Singh, Osho Hindi translator, sits on various trusts and orgs
Sw Anand Satyarthi -- Indian aka Anand Kumar Awasthi, long-time Osho Hindi editor, sits on various trusts and orgs

*****

Footnotes:

  1. About Anando: She claims to have left the Inner Circle in 1999, not 2000 as stated above, this claim being in connection with a fairly nasty criticism of Neelam.

  2. About the "Hollywood Group" exodus: This group of four Americans was centered around Hasya, who became Osho's secretary after Sheela left the Ranch. As the whole group left in one secretive whoosh, it created quite a stir. Hasya was in the middle of leading a group and left without informing even her assistants. Thus, the official version of the story, that they left to start a meditation center in the States, seems at best inadequate, though the group never publicly criticized the IC or its doings.

  3. About Sw Veet Chitten: said not to be the Brit aka Rob, but German, in any case mentioned by Osho in discourse in the same breath as Maneesha, Hasya etc; a Chitten also mentioned by Shunyo in her book, as working with Jayesh and Nirvano on their trips to Mumbai.

  4. The "almost half" who left early -- and voluntarily, ie not including Tathagat -- were the "Hollywood group", ie Hasya, Avirbhava, Kaveesha and Yogi, plus Chitten, Prasad, Turiya, Anasha, Amitabh and Plotinus. This mass early leaving made for a radical remake of the group, and was a major step in its homogenization. Of course they did not leave "en masse" except for Hasya's group but their individual decisions taken collectively had a mass effect.

    And in fact, some consideration must be given to the possibility that already forces were at work that made it difficult for some members to continue to participate in the IC, quite aside from any personal idiosyncrasies. Yes, personal factors would have played a large part, but solely that, and for so many? Some common factors might easily have included (intolerable) pressures from the three (now two) "on top", which would certainly have increased when Jayesh's brother Yogendra came on board. Neelam, the only one to have talked publicly even a little about what went on there, alludes to some of this in her open letter.

  5. About Gatha: One source for this suggestion is a discussion on the IC at Sannyas News. The whole discussion is long and rambling and riddled with errors and personality matters but may have some value for some.