OIF's Full-Page Ad Criticizing Neelam, June 2000

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.

Sourced from http://www.osho.info/sites/default/files/17_3.pdf, this page presents OIF's rebuttal to a press conference given by Ma Yoga Neelam a few days previously. It was also sent to many Osho centers. Neelam responded with a widely circulated open letter, reproduced here. We also have here a full-hearted examination from Sangeet, addressing both their attack on Neelam and their claims regarding Osho's work. Her words suggest that the "Additional Comments from Others" at the end were indeed part of the ad or at least of the version sent to the Osho centers, not just attached to the Osho.info web page.

The entire text of Osho.info's page is reproduced here, including bold and italic formatting. It was a full page ad published in the
Indian Express all over India, and in the Times of India in Ahmadabad and Bangalore, on 28th June 2000:

Why Do We Need This Full Page Advertisement?

There is a campaign in the media to convince people that something is wrong at Osho's thriving Commune in Pune, something wrong with the people Osho chose to be responsible for his work, and something wrong with the direction of that work. Behind these allegations is Ma Neelam, along with her consort, Sw. Tathagat. Till recently their strategy was simple. Ma Neelam pretends that she has been personally informed by Osho of his wishes for his work and is therefore someone whose opinion on this can be trusted. She remains silent in public, but below the surface makes sure that everyone knows she thinks Osho's wishes are not being respected. Tathagat, who has no credibility in the sannyasin community, trades on Ma Neelam's deceptions to spread lies and distortions to the media and government bodies.

Eventually, the Commune Management Team had no alternative but to inform the Osho Meditation Centers in India. Now that these centers know Ma Neelam's credibility is a lie, she has been forced to "break her year-long silence" and try her luck with the general public and the government.

The essential point is that Ma Neelam has gone to great trouble over many years to deceive people into thinking that she was a long time on-going confidant of Osho until he left his body – someone who was "specially close" to Osho, and who naturally must know the facts.

In reality, she was Osho’s secretary for India for just 3 years, the last year of which Osho dropped her from the daily secretarial work with him. This meant that she was not present at all while he was making the plans and preparations for his work after he was gone. The reason Osho gave for dropping her was, "She thinks she knows better than everyone, including me. She is a stubborn type. She has forgotten who is the master and who is a secretary."

Despite being specifically excluded from any direct guidance from Osho about his wishes for the future direction of his work, Ma Neelam is insisting that she knows better than the people Osho actually worked on these plans with.

As Osho explains it, rather than admit her anger towards Osho at being dropped from her function, she attacks those who were entrusted by her Master with his work. Her ignorance about Osho's work is clear when one compares her false allegations with the facts outlined below.

She has now convinced her close friend, Swami Chaitanya Keerti – in spite of Keerti's admission that he was not aware that Osho had dropped Ma Neelam. Ironically, media contacts which were originally made by Keerti on behalf of the Commune, are now being used by him to attack the Commune.

As a result, misinformation is being published while the correct facts are not. Hence we have no alternative but to take this page to present these facts.

False Allegations and Actual Facts

1. False Allegation: Osho wanted his copyright returned to India after he left the USA.

Facts: What he wanted was his books returned to India – his personal library of more than 50,000 books which have been at the Osho Commune since that time.
This had nothing to do with Osho's copyrights, which, at his direction have been protected by an international foundation for the last 19 years. As the owner of the copyrights to his own work, Osho assigned them to a foundation in the USA, and later asked that they be transferred to a Swiss-based foundation. He directed that they remain there. The legal records of assignment of copyright are well documented and carry Osho's signature. Further, Osho has given sworn testimony in a copyright infringement lawsuit in the United States confirming his assignment.

Osho looked in detail at all his publications. From 1986 onwards, every English language book he saw included the title page with the copyright notice acknowledging the Swiss Foundation. He even made suggestions to change this copyright entry, asking that the date be removed to reflect the timelessness of his words. Books displaying that international Swiss copyright are in Osho's library today, signed by him.

2. False Allegation: Osho is against royalties.

Facts: In 1971, soon after Osho created the first trust, Jivan Jagruti Kendra, to support his work, including overseeing the publishing, he instructed his secretary of that time, Ma Yoga Laxmi, "You write a letter to these publishers explaining that now they should pay royalties." This is confirmed by the then managing trustee of this trust, Jayantibhai Thakkar.

The records confirm royalty payments at that time, including from the Aum Rajneesh Meditation Center, in Bombay, managed by Ishwarbhai Shah, a sannyasin publisher.

In 1987, when many publishers were reluctant to carry Osho titles, Osho suggested that, as an incentive, they could allocate the royalty amount towards additional publicity and promotion, so long as it was properly accounted for. This is reflected in the contracts of that period. By 1989, when the first major Indian publishers began to carry Osho, royalties were again paid. Osho was in the body at this time and agreed to this.

As more and more major publishers again began to take Osho, there was no need for this additional promotional expense – Osho's books now being part of the mainstream. And in recent years, all the publishers around the world have been informed that the money they had previously spent on this additional promotion should now be accounted for as royalty payments again, a nd they now pay standard royalties as they would with any other author. So from the early 1970's till Osho left the body, the only time when nobody paid royalties was during that brief period between 1987 and 1989.

3. False allegation: Osho wants all royalties to be paid to his Indian foundation.

Facts: At Osho's direction, all royalties from publishing in India remain with his foundation in India. Osho made India the only exception to this policy, reflecting the uniqueness of our country. To date this has amounted to some 20 lakhs over 12 years. And for information: International royalties cover only 10% of the total expenditure of making Osho available worldwide. The remainder is financed through individual private donations.

4. False allegation: Osho wants his headquarters in India.

Facts: His specific request was for an International publishing headquarters, to be situated wherever was best for making his vision available around the world. At present, New York is the world center for providing content to publishers – all the world's biggest media companies are there – and so it is the best location for Osho's publishing, and that is where it is.

The search for a suitable location started in 1986, at Osho's instruction, and was interrupted only to devote energy to rebuilding the Commune in Pune. The first publishing office was in London, seven years ago, before the current office opened in New York. This international publishing office is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Swiss foundation.

Otherwise, there are no "headquarters." Such notions exist only in institutionalized religions and organizations. This "Vatican mentality" has no place in Osho's vision.

5. False Allegation: The NY office is copyrighting Osho's work.

Facts: Osho's work is copyrighted from the moment it is created. The New York office manages that copyright in the U.S. where the laws provide the greatest protection. At Osho's instruction, his copyright has been registered in India since the early 1970's, and in the USA from the early 1980's.

6. False allegation: The New York office is trademarking Osho's name and meditations against his wishes.

Facts: The New York office is merely continuing a process that began in India in the 1970's, at Osho's direction. Applications to register the trademark "Rajneesh" were filed in India as early as the mid-70's, and in the USA in 1979; for "Bhagwan" in 1984, and for "Zorba the Buddha" in 1985. In addition, Osho’s meditations, photos, signatures and various logos were copyright and trademark protected as early as the 1970s and 1980s in India, Germany, USA, and other countries.

7. False Allegation: This trademarking is being done for monetary reasons.

Facts: No. Osho made it clear that people will try and use his name and work as an umbrella for their own vision, which has nothing to do with his. Accordingly, he asked that his work be protected by copyright and trademark law to make sure the purity of his vision would be protected from this kind of misuse.

For example, there have been many attempts over the years to change his meditation techniques, which amply demonstrates the need for this protection. It has absolutely nothing to do with preventing people from doing these meditations, or charging people for doing them. The whole purpose of Osho’s work is to make these meditations available as widely as possible.

8. False Allegation: Three dictators are running the Commune.

Facts: Osho has left very clear guidelines for the management of his work. He has created an Inner Circle whose responsibility is for the continuation of his work worldwide. In addition, at his request, there is a Management Team of Inner Circle members from India, whose responsibility is for the Commune and affairs in India. This is exactly what is happening.

9. Allegation: The Inner Circle is not functioning as Osho specified.

Facts: There have been only two major problems to date. The first was when Tathagat was asked to resign from the Inner Circle for theft and abuse of power. And the second was the total failure of Ma Neelam to understand the meaning of secrecy and unanimity, key instructions from Osho. The suggestion that there is some kind of "membership for life" is absurd. Some ex-members are no longer even involved in Osho's work. The other ex-members either live in the Commune, visit regularly, or remain happily involved in Osho's work around the world. And there is no "split" in the Inner Circle. It is working smoothly and harmoniously as Osho directed.

10. False allegation: Osho Commune is being commercialized as a resort against Osho's wishes.

Facts: At a public meeting in 1989 in Gautam the Buddha Auditorium at the Commune – the videotape of which is publicly available – a message from Osho was read, presenting his vision for a "Spiritual Health Club." At this time, Osho himself created the wording to use in a promotional brochure: “A new kind of holiday, for the body, mind and the soul.”

It was announced at that meeting: "What Osho sees is that we create here the biggest and the most beautiful spiritual health club in the world. A kind of spiritual Club Med – as in 'meditation.' His message was: 'We are expanding. We are not just a religious center; religiousness will be our very atmosphere, but we are now going to make a greater expansion.'"

Since that meeting, the Commune has almost completed Osho's list for this expansion. It includes the Osho Teerth Zen Garden, now visited by some 200, 000 people a year, the pyramid complex of buildings for his Osho Multiversity, a new model road in front of the Commune. The final items on the list – a Dharamsala and Osho Mandir, the new meditation hall – will be completed in about a year. At Osho's request, land has been acquired to provide for the continued expansion of the Commune in the future.

11. False allegation: The Commune has "thrown out" old timers.

Facts: Over the past 25 years, many people have come and gone. At a public meeting in 1989, Ma Neelam herself announced that it was Osho's wish that "his sannyasins come and go and not be economically dependent on the Commune because this takes away people's dignity and grace."

12. False allegation: Osho's art has been secretly removed from India.

Facts: This project was discussed in the Inner Circle, with Ma Neelam present, fifteen months before she left the Commune. Osho gave specific instructions that his art be protected and preserved so that one day people would be able to experience through his art what they now can only experience through his words. Accordingly, the art is being electronically digitized over time. It is a very expensive procedure. Many have been completed and are available. These originals are already back in India and were reviewed by the press when they were exhibited in January 2000. They will be on display again in Osho Commune during the Osho Full Moon meditation festival in July. The rest of the originals are specially wrapped and stored in an environmentally controlled, high-security location in UK awaiting digitization and return to India.

As for the rest of the Osho archive, 227 Osho titles are now available on the new multilingual osho.com website for anyone to read from anywhere on the planet. This site receives some 3 million visits a year. This archive of Osho's words provides the basis for the 1500 titles now carried by over 90 publishers worldwide in over 40 languages.

Every recorded word and video has been digitized in copy-master form. There are now 35 complete sets of his words on 5 continents, including India, to ensure their survival for future humanity. At one point Osho even discussed the possibility of placing the originals in a bombproof shelter in Switzerland for their permanent protection.

13. False allegation: Osho's Samadhi is being misused for No- Mind Meditation.

Facts: Osho No-Mind is a meditative therapy created by Osho himself during the last year he was in the body. It is a gibberish technique that has nothing to do with the alleged "violence or abuse." Osho specifically asked for this technique, and his Mystic Rose meditative therapy, to take place in the Samadhi. Ma Neelam's suggestion that it is more appropriate to have Buddha's Vipassana there rather than Osho's own meditations is incomprehensible. Every day, seekers participate in a variety of different meditations in the Samadhi, from 7.30 am, often till late at night.

14. False allegation: Ma Neelam was banned from the Commune.

Facts: Ma Neelam has been visiting the Commune on and off for the last year, creating the strange situation of using the Commune to meditate on the one hand, and trying to destroy it on the other. After it became clear that this situation had to be addressed, and the Meditation Centers had been informed, the Commune Management Team asked to meet with her. Instead, she called Sw Satya Vedant and refused to meet. He asked her meanwhile to take some time off to meditate at home and to look at what she is doing; and explained that the Management Team was not taking her pass away, but definitely wanted to discuss the situation with her. Ma Neelam then said she would go to the press. As it turned out she was lying – she had already gone to the press the day before, and her interview with the Indian Express came in that very morning's newspaper.

When asked later that day why she was attacking the Commune Ma Neelam replied, "The Commune is dying its natural death. I am doing nothing."

This going to the press creates a whole new situation, invoking a crystal clear directive from Osho that people who are responsible for negative publicity against the Commune are banned until a public apology from them is printed both in the Osho Times and in the publication which printed the original material.

Ma Neelam is perfectly aware of this policy. In 1988, it was she who delivered Osho's message banning Ma Laxmi – Osho’s secretary for many more years than Ma Neelam – for conducting a divisive campaign which is very similar to the present one. Ma Neelam has the option of accepting her Master's guidance on this. If not she will in essence be banning herself.

15. False allegation: Osho lovers around India are in support of Neelam's campaign.

Facts: The Commune has received only positive responses from throughout India for its stand against the malicious attempt to damage Osho's work by this tiny group of discontented people. We are aware that plans are afoot to compensate for the size of this group by arranging rent-a-crowd demonstrations against the Commune, with the usual free lunch and travel expenses.

16. False allegation: Members of Parliament are supporting this campaign.

Facts: Some members have been fed a totally distorted picture of the real situation. We sincerely trust that when presented with the facts, and given an opportunity to appreciate the explosion of interest in India and around the world in this most illustrious genius of our country, they will see the wisdom of Osho's specific directions for his work.

Why These Allegations?

The origins of these allegations finally became public on June 20th in Ma Neelam's Indian Express interview, where she acknowledged that she has been in conflict with the direction of Osho's work from the time shortly after his leaving the body.

Since she was not seeing Osho in that vital nine months when he set out his agenda for the continuation of his work after he left the body, she has no direct information about his wishes. She has never accepted any decisions he made after he stopped seeing her.

Osho made it clear he has no successor, and on the contrary proposed that all his people be ordinary, without any spiritual hierarchy. This was in conflict with Ma Neelam's idea that she was in some way special. She invented a whole mythology around herself to support this. She told people that Osho had made her the "Queen of his empire," and that the Inner Circle had been created essentially to support her work. Anyone who has been a part of the Inner Circle knows this to be false.

Even today, she declares that she is Osho's personal secretary, when she knows this is not true. She says she has been "close" to Osho for 30 years, to give weight to the idea that she is informed about his work.

The facts speak otherwise. She was an occasional visitor to the Osho Commune during the 70's, and only became involved in Osho's work when she started helping in the kitchen at the commune in the USA in 1982. For three brief periods in ’86/early ‘87 she took care of Osho in the absence of his regular caretaker. She was one of the group of secretaries who visited Osho in the afternoons from 1987 till the latter part of 1988, after which she was dropped from these visits because, Osho said, she was stubborn and thought she knew better.

Osho did not make her "the queen," nor select her for any special "successor" role, nor make any mention of her on his last day, nor leave her any memento as he did with some others.

So first she makes every effort to conceal the fact that she was not involved in those final preparations for Osho's work. Then she has the stunning audacity to travel the country, deceiving people about her "special" status, and passing judgement, not only on those particular instructions about which she naturally is not informed, but also on the people to whom those instructions were entrusted by her Master. And in this latest act, she is now doing her best to destroy her Master's work in this country, confirming that she still thinks she knows better.

The Ex-Secretary Trap

With his characteristic insight into the unconscious of us all, Osho warned about the difficulty for ex-secretaries to get over being dropped from the secretarial function. He explains that a secretary's ego is very happy to be called to see him for this work and gets attached to its idea that it is special. And the ego is always angry with Osho when he decides that they are no longer useful in that function. He explains how these people have always demonstrated their anger and resentment at being dropped by trying to sabotage the work that their replacement has been asked to carry out. Just as Ma Laxmi, Osho's secretary of the 70's, did this to her successors, and was eventually banned by Osho from the Commune for it, so Ma Sheela did the same, and now, like clockwork, Ma Neelam is repeating the identical pattern.

As Osho explains, when these secretaries are replaced, their egos naturally suffer, but this is an opportunity for them to experience ordinariness. And that the continuing resentment at being dropped always leads to a sense of separation, which is ultimately destructive.

We trust that the people Ma Neelam has deceived, including herself, and others who can influence this sad situation, will stop this destructive campaign. That they will not allow Osho's work – at the very time his vision is being embraced worldwide – to be destroyed in our country, a country that can be proud to have given this world the phenomenon called Osho.

Osho Commune's Reality: Simply Stunning

In contrast to the endless complaints from these few discontented people the reality of Osho's work is simply stunning. His Commune is in the middle of the biggest expansion in its history, welcoming three times more participants than when Osho was in the body. By far the biggest increase is in people from India. Young intelligent educated people who do understand Osho's message for their future, a message for contemporary India. A message that is free of the underlying motives behind these current allegations against Osho's work: power, greed, money, and divisions between people based on color, race, religion and nationality.

The Management Team
Osho Commune International



Additional Comments from Others

Ma Anando: A sannyasin working in Osho’s communes for 24 years; one of the three "dictators" referred to by Neelam; Osho’s personal secretary for the last four years in the body; appointed secretary of the Inner Circle by Osho; declared by Osho on his deathbed as his medium

“Although I am no longer a member of the Inner Circle, I have absolute trust and confidence in the way it is working, and I am sure Osho would be thrilled with what is happening with his work in India and worldwide.

"I am not part of any trust or foundation associated with Osho, and I have not been involved in the Inner Circle, for almost a year. I decided ten years was long enough1, and seeing that almost everything on Osho’s list of things to do after he left had been accomplished, and the rest were well under way, I felt totally relaxed to step aside from this work. In this I am not alone, others still very much involved in Osho’s work have done the same. There is nothing special about the Inner Circle; it is simply a practical body, designed to overview practical aspects of Osho’s work. It is not ‘religious’ in any sense, nor are its members special in any way. They queue for their food in the canteen just as everyone else.

[There are reports that this particular claim of ordinariness above is not always so. Jayesh is rarely seen in the canteen and certain others are reported to butt in regularly into the queue.]

"Osho knew the date he would leave his body, nine months beforehand. On April 10th, 1989, after giving his discourse, he said that he felt his whole body moving away from him. He then surprised me by saying he would not be speaking again, even though he had just started a new discourse series. He left his body on January 19, 1990. Years earlier, he had explained in a discourse that approximately nine months before a person dies, depending on the length of their conception, something happens in the body, something disconnects in the hara center. He said that an awakened person would feel this, and know that death was approaching.

[The years earlier discourse that Anando refers to is the first talk of Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, Vol 8. In it, Osho mentions a number of stories and methods of people knowing ahead of time when they will be dying. The relevant sutra and all Osho's comments on it are reproduced at YogaAO8, a good read.]

"Fully aware of his limited remaining time, Osho worked intensely and totally in those final nine months to create the platform for the continued expansion of his work. This is when the complete vision for the Commune, as it is now, was laid out – the maroon robes, the White Robe Brotherhood, the meditation intensives, the meditative therapies to be conducted in his Samadhi, the Multiversity, and the unique black pyramid buildings with blue glass. He outlined his plans for the Commune to expand and become a meditation resort, plus plans for the international expansion of his work. He also changed his name to just ‘Osho’ in this period.

"Neelam was not privy to Osho at all during the nine months he was laying out his plans for the expansion of the Commune and the international work. He had dropped her from the regular afternoon meetings with his secretaries more than one year before he left the body. She continued to be his secretary for India, but had to pass all her work through me, even the work connected with the Hindi publications. I know that this was very difficult for her to accept. She asked to see Osho a number of times, through me and through his caretaker Shunyo, but his answer was always no.

"In light of the fact that I have no formal position in any of the organizations involved in Osho’s work, I am surprised Neelam claims I am one of the in-charge1. I know she was jealous of me, because Osho used to invite me to all his meals, and spend hours talking with me in the evenings after the discourse. I was informed that the first words she uttered on being told Osho had left the body, were, ‘Was Anando there?’ And because Osho left me as his medium, it made it very difficult for her to play the ‘mataji’ role she so clearly aspires to.

"The reason I am disclosing the jealousy is that Osho said in a discourse in October 1988 that, 'The first commune was destroyed because of women's jealousies. They were fighting continuously. The second commune was destroyed because of women's jealousies . And this is the third commune – and the last, because I am getting tired. Once in a while I think perhaps Buddha was right not to allow any women in his commune for twenty years. I am not in favor of him: I am the first who has allowed men and women the same, equal opportunity for enlightenment. But I have burnt my fingers twice, and it has always been the jealousy of the women.'

"Osho was not, of course referring to Neelam when he said that. But it is interesting to note that he made this statement just after he stopped seeing her. Osho once showed me my own issues around jealousy, which was quite painful, but at the end of the experience he said that although it had been painful, 'a few crises bring a new approach, a new attitude, a new being. And this crisis has brought a new dawn to your life.'

"By one of those mysterious existential quirks, on the very night the Indian Express was going to press with Neelam’s allegations, Osho was speaking in Buddha Hall about problems with people who had power positions in his communes, and then lost those positions. Referring to a previous secretary, Sheela, Osho says, 'She would have died for me, but the day I declared that there will be no successor to me...deep down there must have been the hope that she was going to succeed me. She started things which are inconceivable. She bugged my room, to be aware of what other people were telling me, what my answers to them were. And it was the same person who was moving with the gun to save my life. But the desire for power, which was unconscious up to now, and perhaps to her it remained unconscious....'”

Ma Shunyo, A sannyasin for 25 years: part of Osho’s residential caretaking team since 1978; member of the Inner Circle; author of My Diamond Days with Osho:

"I would like to confirm that the Inner Circle is working very beautifully. I am saddened that no respect is being shown to Osho regarding his choice of the people he worked with closely. As Neelam was not part of that team in the last year Osho was in the body, she has not been able to understand and respect his instructions about the continuation of the work. Osho said of her, “She thinks she knows better than everyone, including me”, and maybe that is why he ceased seeing her. This must have hurt her very much, but still it is sad to see her betray him now."

Ishwarbhai Shah: Founding Managing Trustee of Jivan Jagruti Kendra, the original trust overseeing Osho's work

"I was present in the early 70's when Osho gave instructions about his copyright, and that royalties should be paid by all, including myself. "Osho work, as he said at that time is spreading like a fire around the world. As an ex-secretary myself, I was initially shocked at Neelam's unconscious behavior and then was reminded of Osho's insight that only an enlightened one can see the unconscious mind and its desires."

Sw Jayantibhai: Founder Managing Trustee, Jivan Jagruti Kendra; former Commune-in-Charge; former Inner Circle member

"I feel sorry for the behavior of our sannyasins in this matter2. Our Master’s vision is for the new man, free of nations and races, a synchronicity of East and West. His vision is multidimensional, and there is every possibility that people will not understand. History repeats itself by unconscious people. As in the case of Buddha. The vision was born here but could not grow here." 

*****

Footnotes:
  1. About Anando's claim to have left the Inner Circle a year before this ad was published: It seems a bit disingenuous for her to say, "I am surprised Neelam claims I am one of the in-charge", since the comings and goings and doings of the management team are a matter of considerable secrecy. It is in fact not out of the question that this claim is not factually true. She says, "I have not been involved in the Inner Circle, for almost a year. I decided ten years was long enough". If one were to quibble about numbers, her claimed time of departure would only be nine years, not ten. Certainly in the West she was widely thought to still be in the top troika of the IC even long after this announcement (in Indian newspapers), though that may not be her fault, just that it's easy not to know what's going on in the IC.

  2. Jayantibhai's words taken literally can be seen to be saying something radically different from what mgmt is aiming to achieve with this ad: "Our sannyasins" is plural here and, logically and sensibly, cannot be referring to Neelam (singular) but to some group, which can as likely be those slagging her as anyone else. In fact, his use of the word "multidimensional" adds to that impression, since this was a word Neelam used in her letter to express how Osho's legacy had degraded, precisely because of the lack of multidimensionality in mgmt's approach.

    Against that, we can observe in the literalness of "our sannyasins" that the "our" might refer to Indians in general and Neelam in particular, that impression reinforced by "the vision was born here but could not grow here", clearly referring to India. Mgmt is evidently hoping that the context of their ad will help Jayantibhai's words come across as a criticism of Neelam, but who knows what he actually intended?