|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. The page consists of two articles in The Indian Express, June 20, 2000: the first, the "hard news" story of Neelam's being refused entry following her public comments on how the commune was being run, the second, Sahajanand with his take on her and what she was and is up to. See page bottom for comments and sourcing info.|
Ma Neelam denied
entry in Commune
PUNE, JUNE 20: Ma Yoga Neelam, the high profile Oshoite who spoke out yesterday against the 'dictatorial attitude' of Osho commune bosses, was prevented from entering the commune this morning within hours of the publications of her statement.
"I was asked to take a break," Neelam, Osho's secretary in India, told The Indian Express, "when I went for my usual silent meditation at Osho's Samadhi early this morning."
Neelam said she reached the commune at 7.10 a.m. for the silent meditation that begins at the Samadhi at 7.30 a.m. At the welcome centre, where she sought the sticker on her I-card for day's entry in the commune on payment, she was asked by the sannyasin at the desk to contact the 'management team'.
She spoke to Swami Satya Vedant, the management team member on the intercom. Vedant, according to her, said she needed a break and she need not enter. "How does my not doing silent meditation at Osho's samadhi help the commune and myself," she asked. "Am I being banned?"
Vedant, she said, replied that she was not being banned and her I-card was not being withdrawn, but reiterated that she needed a break.
Without further argument, Neelam returned to her flat in Koregaon Park.
The commune's version was sought, as the present system goes, by an e-mail message to Swami Satya Vedant, the press office and the management team. There was no response.
Meanwhile, Swami Chaitanya Keerti, till recently the Osho Commune International spokesperson and now out of the commune and camping in New Delhi said through an e-mail message that he would "organise a protest celebration at our Osho Rajyoga Center (in New Delhi) against this ban."
"I have her picture with Osho (walking hand in hand) in my own website homepage: www.meditate-celebrate.com," he added. "Sannyasins here (in Delhi) did not like that Neelam was denied entry in Commune. She used to live in a room next to Osho Samadhi. It was given to her by Osho. Sannyasins all over the country will protest this stupid behaviour of management team, which I know that it is not their decision. Again, it is Amrito and Jayesh and Anando doing this - the team has to carry out all these decisions."
"I am happy I don't have to be the spokesperson in such a situation."
retaliates against Ma Neelam's charges
Swami Sahajanand (Peter Kreutzfeldt), 25980, Westerland/Sylt, Germany, one of the five trustees of Osho International Foundation, Zurich, Switzerland, and an Inner Circle member of Osho Commune, has transmitted the following letter from Germany in retaliation to Ma Neelam's accusations published on Tuesday that three persons in the commune are functioning in a dictatorial manner and the rest in the Inner Circle are stooges. Incidentally, the three 'dictators' Indian national Neelam names are Canadian national Swami Jayesh (Michael O'Bryan), UK national Swami Amrito (Dr Geroge Meredith, now John Andrews) and Australian national Ma Anando (Sue Appleton):
"I joined the Inner Circle exactly a year after Osho left the body when some people left to settle in the USA to run a meditation centre there. So take this letter with a little caution, would you? Bear in mind, I'm one of what Neelam calls the 'stooges', the yes-sayers that were not part of the original Inner Circle.
"When Osho was in the body, I was director of the Rebel Publishing Ltd, Germany, a company set up at Osho's request to produce his books in the quality he liked, in Germany. This was before India was capable of producing the same quality. Even at that time, when I was not involved in an Inner Circle and spending only part of my time in India, but working very closely with the key people in the Commune, I was often wondering why Neelam seemed to have a problem with the books being printed in Germany, something everybody knew Osho wanted.
"I was in charge of the upgrading and digitising project of all of Osho's recorded audio and video which took place in London, Cologne and Zurich from 1991 to 1997. I was also in charge of international copyrights during the same period.
"Since 1987, I have been back and forth between Pune and the places where my projects took place. I worked very closely with Neelam. As a liaison I sat in at meetings about publishing in India when Neelam was Osho's secretary for India. I also worked very closely with Neelam's partner, Tathagat, who was very involved in the distribution of Osho's books.
"I personally liked Neelam very much. But when I was working with Neelam, it was very arduous. Things always took a long time to get done - unless that is, if everybody just went along with Neelam's view, which was very often the case. In fact, among many insiders - I am talking especially about Indian nationals - the 'gracious queen' had a very different image.
"In all this, I was surprised, and often shocked, at the patience others, especially the 'dictators', and more so Jayesh, showed towards Neelam in her full-fledged stubbornness. It is not that a tiny number of three dictators were pushing everybody through - it was that the teams were generally quickly (and of course sometimes not so quickly) coming to decisions, and Neelam was again and again stubbornly refusing to go along with anything that didn't appeal to her 'I-know-better' attitude. Some things were left pending for years.
"I must say I should have suspected 'quiet resentment' often when I was still trusting in the understanding of unanimity in the spirit of Osho's vision. I guess ideas of what organism means vary widely. For my part, I just saw it as a test of my own meditation and questioning of my own ideas of knowing better, and learnt patience, to an extent that I was later often the mediator between Neelam and Tathagat and some less patient and exasperated folks.
"I will just summarise here what my understanding is in contrast to Neelam's:
"A lot of pieces of
the puzzle are now falling into place for me. Neelam, the erstwhile
'graceful queen' (believe me, my impression, too) has turned into a
frog; a politician who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. She
doesn't understand Osho's place. He talks of the potential of a
committee (the Inner Circle) working in unanimity. He warns that all
committees in history failed because of very characteristics displayed
here by Neelam. She quietly undermines the process without openly
"She is not really interested in meditation or in anything from Osho. She just wants to use all the tricks in her arsenal to push through what she thinks is right. What is this? It's a simple power game! Osho teaches us that what we think is right and wrong is imposed on us by others. The function of his meditations is to learn how to 'unlearn'. Neelam seems to have missed that point.
"How do you think 21 Neelams would do in running a 'real organism', 'free' of 'commerce' and so on. They would be at each other's throats and poison each other's names wherever they went. And nothing would move. And they'd live in perfect harmony. Right?"
A few things about Sahajanand's comments: It's actually good to understand his view on this situation, since it provides at least a plausible understanding of some of the dynamics in that formerly august body, the Inner Circle. It is clear that the folks remaining there believe this somewhat sincerely, while those who left believe that Jayesh & co are the stubborn ones. Whatever one thinks of who is the real power freak, it is easy to see this dynamic developing where all the players sincerely believe what they are doing is for the best. (And understanding that sincerity might easily have blind spots.)
Meanwhile, just as with "What is an Osho?", there may be claims that can be evaluated on their own, quite apart from unverifiable claims and counter-claims such as "the 'other' is preventing consensus". One such is Sahajanand's story of what Osho allegedly said about Neelam: "Osho himself confirms that 'Neelam thinks she knows better than anyone - even me. She is stubborn type'." We may wonder where Osho is supposed to have said this. It is not found in any of his public talks. Nor for that matter does Osho ever say anything like it about her publicly. He speaks very positively about her.
Moreover, Sahajanand could not have heard this himself from Osho, even privately, since he would not ever have met Osho privately. So the source can only be some of the others in the Inner Circle. (Not that he is claiming otherwise, i'm just nailing this down.)
So those other members, the "dictators", had "seen no need to spread this pretty embarrassing statement about Neelam even within the Inner Circle" before now. Now they are spreading it. So what makes "now" so special? Of course it is that Neelam has just created some bad PR for the "dictators". So now they are spreading it. But what makes it so believeable or trustworthy if they are the only source? And especially as now there is a reason to think it may not be so trustworthy. Likely it is just what Sahajanand wants to believe. And he is not only not questioning it, he is spreading it too.
It all comes down to who one chooses to believe. So who would that be? For me personally, as in the opinion of the person who is writing this, i tend to go with things i can at least semi-verify. Regarding the claims and counter-claims of copyright, say, i have no way of knowing, so i let it all go. And with Sahajanand's story about Neelam, there are a couple of things: I can look at what Osho has said publicly about Neelam, which is all positive and i can look at where that story has arisen. Sahajanand is relying for his trump card on stories he has heard from the same gang that brought us William James, a condescending invalidation of all ways different from theirs and a lot of spin on Osho's words and what sannyas is all about.
As a result of all the ploughing through WiaO that these pages are about, we have found a fair bit of altered history and a fair bit of selective spin on behalf of positions that narrow Osho's vision. And the same folks that have provided all this have also come up with a self-serving private Osho quote about Neelam. Who do you choose to believe?