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Archive for the ‘Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’ Category

Ma Anand Sheela, of Oregons Rajneesh saga and Wild Wild Country fame, will star in new Netflix documentary – OregonLive

Posted: November 2, 2019 at 12:48 am


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Oregonians with long memories have never forgotten Ma Anand Sheela, and people all over the world saw her in action thanks to the Netflix 2018 documentary, Wild Wild Country. Now, the former top aide to the controversial Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh is getting more Netflix attention as shes set to be the subject of a documentary filmed during her first trip to India in more than three decades.

The Associated Press reports that the documentary, scheduled to stream on Netflix India on a date not yet announced, follows Ma Anand Sheela as she visits the Rajneeshs cremation site in Pune, and also makes a trip to her family home.

When the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his followers came to Oregon in the early 1980s to establish a commune on the the site of what was then known as the Big Muddy Ranch, near Antelope, locals had strong reactions.

As the Rajneeshees exerted their influence in the area, many Oregonians were alarmed at the commune members free-wheeling behavior and the gurus habit of riding in Rolls-Royces, among other things. As the culture clash heightened, the goings-on at Rajneeshpuram, as the commune members had christened their Wasco County property, drew national media attention.

Tensions escalated to crimes, with the revelation that Ma Anand Sheela had been behind the 1984 mass food poisoning bioterror attack in The Dalles, which left more than 700 people ill after eating food contaminated with salmonella bacteria.

Ma Anand Sheela eventually served two years and five months in prison for attempted murder, arson, immigration fraud and the food poisoning in The Dalles. She was granted parole after 39 months and later made her home in Switzerland.

Related: Netflix documentary on Rajneeshees in Oregon revisits an amazing, enraging true story

The bizarre saga became internationally known years later, thanks to the Netflix documentary, Wild Wild Country, which recounted how the commune formed and collapsed amid the Bhagwans deportation from the U.S.

Related: Read The Oregonians original 20-part investigative series on Rajneeshees

According to the Associated Press, when she was asked about her past, Ma Anand Sheela replied, "I have nothing to apologize for."

-- Kristi Turnquist

kturnquist@oregonian.com 503-221-8227 @Kristiturnquist

Visit subscription.oregonlive.com/newsletters to get Oregonian/OregonLive journalism delivered to your email inbox.

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Ma Anand Sheela, of Oregons Rajneesh saga and Wild Wild Country fame, will star in new Netflix documentary - OregonLive

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November 2nd, 2019 at 12:48 am

Some Eye-Opening Osho Quotes That Will Grow Your Wisdom – Thrive Global

Posted: October 18, 2019 at 2:48 pm


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Born as Chandra Mohan Jain, Osho took birth in Raisen (a district in Madhya Pradesh) on December 11th, 1931. He was a great visionary and a religious movement leader who was praised and followed by many. His followers used to call him Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and later, Osho. He didnt only have followers in India, but also in many other countries such as the USA, UK, Canada, and many more. It was like people were attracted by his words and he gave them an eye-opening experience.

Along with being a religious leader and a mystic, he was also a best-selling author and published many books such as Tarot Zen, The Book Of The Secrets, Gita Darshan, and many more. His books, words, and morals affected many people and gained him a lot of followers. He was so popular that Netflix even made a docuseries on him by the name of Wild Wild Country consisting of only 6 episodes. He was really a quotable man as he taught people a lot about love and spirituality through his sayings and books.

Rajneesh Osho inspired a lot of people to follow the path of spirituality with his words. I will be sharing some of those words in this article and they are either the ones he has said or written in his books. Either way, the goal is to grow our wisdom with the words of a man who influenced a lot of people. So, here are some eye-opening Osho quotes that will grow your wisdom:

If you love a flower, dont pick it up. Because if you pick it up it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.

What Osho says here is gospel and is really the true definition of love. Love is a big misconception nowadays and we really need to understand its true meaning. If you see a flower and find it beautiful, youll most probably pluck it to keep it with you. Well, thats human nature, however, if you do pluck it, it will not be able to complete its necessities for survival and will eventually die.

As a result, it wont be appealing to your eyes anymore. So, youll lose the reason you loved it for in the first place. A better thing to do would be taking care of that flower without plucking it. This way, it will always be the flower you fell in love with. It should work the same way with the people you love. For love is about appreciation, not possession.

Be dont try to become.

The meaning of this quote is very simple and quite understandable. Be the way you are. Just learn to love yourself and dont try to become someone or something that you are not. God gave us all different personalities, different goals, and different lives. You only have one life and you are here to be who you are, to play your part. Dont waste your one precious life to change the way you are from the inside.

Friendship is the purest love. It is the highest form of Love where nothing is asked for, no condition, where one simply enjoys giving.

Ive never heard anyone giving such a pure and perfect definition of friendship, other than Osho, of course. He says that the purest form of love is friendship as you dont keep any unreal expectations from your friends and you love them unconditionally. And that is exactly what love should be, caring for someone unconditionally. Rather than expecting that someone will do something for you or be a certain way with you, learn to appreciate them for what they are, just like you do with your friends.

Life begins where fear ends.

Never be afraid of hesitant to achieve anything you want to. Whatever you want in life, just go for it. Life is too short to keep waiting for the right moment and worrying about taking risks. If you really want something from the bottom of your heart, then stop worrying about the future and start working to achieve your goals. The life that you truly want to live, will begin when you stop stressing over things.

Truth is not something outside to be discovered, it is something inside to be realized.

People spend their whole lives trying to discover their true passion and identity. While theres nothing wrong in doing so, but we need to understand where we must be looking for our true identity. And as per Osho, our true identity lies within ourselves and instead of looking for it in the outside world, we must believe in self-exploration. Just dig deep and you will be able to find your true self inside yourself.

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Some Eye-Opening Osho Quotes That Will Grow Your Wisdom - Thrive Global

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October 18th, 2019 at 2:48 pm

Return of the agent provocateur – THE WEEK

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On October 2, Zorba the Buddha, an open faith spiritual centre in Gurgaon, hosted a date with Ma Anand Sheela, who was the personal secretary of Guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) from 1980 to 1985. During a pre-dinner talk, the moderator asked about the famous spiritual gurus take on sex, marriage and polygamy. Sheela, 69, sat slightly bent on the stage, wrapped in a green shawl with her grey hair styled into an elegant bob. There was a smiling portrait of Osho in the backdrop, garlanded with marigolds. Although known for her sharp witshe was once called the tigress of the two-minute television news spotthat day, she seemed uncharacteristically mellow. You take responsibility for your actions..., she said. Bhagwan is not interested in your daily problems. Leave him alone.

And what about power, the moderator, Ashwin Bharti, asked. Sheela jumped up from her seat. With an eerie smile, her eyes glinting with excitement, she stared down at her enraptured audience. Look at me, she said. I am Oshos power. Have a good look at me. It is called the power of love. The crowd roared and whistled; they had got their moneys worth. In this instance, Rs 2,500 for a sampling of Oshos work, a talk, a Q&A session and dinner with Sheela, the linchpin of the 2018 blockbuster documentary Wild Wild Country, on Osho and his improbable commune in Oregon.

But what the participants had not bargained for was a possible cameo in an upcoming Netflix documentary on Sheela herself. When they were informed that there was a videographer shooting the show, some walked out of the hall feeling short-changed and wanting a refund. Most did not seem to mind. Ma Anand Sheela is like Oshos first wife, you know, said a participant, who was never really a follower of the godmans teachings but was a fan of Wild Wild Country. It is great entertainment, he said. But you cannot believe anything of what she says. It is like listening to Modi. Sheela, who was born in Gujarat as Sheela Ambalal Patel, was introduced by her father to Bhagwan Rajneesh in Bombay in 1967, just as she was about to leave to the US for further studies. She apparently got lost in his eyes in that first encounter. By mid-1981, she had bought the 64,229-acre Big Muddy Ranch at the Wasco and Jefferson counties in Oregon to form the Rajneeshpuram commune. At its peak, it hosted 15,000 spiritual seekers from around the worlda hippie carnival that turned into a dangerous, aggressive cult. And when it crashed and burnt, Sheela was exposed as the mastermind behind the movementa sort of manager, spokesperson and chief of staff of the Rajneesh empire. Her operating style during her four years in Oregon was perceived as Machiavellian. She was accused of arming the commune members with semi-automatic weapons, drugging homeless people, attempting to murder Oshos doctor and plotting to kill an Oregon investigative reporter. You accept a crown, be ready for the guillotine, Sheela said in a recent interview with Karan Johar, organised by the NGO Humans For Humanity and Sipping Thoughts, a women-centric talk show. The two organisations were responsible for bringing Sheela to India, 34 years after she left the Osho ashram in Pune.

You accept a crown, be ready for the guillotine Ma Anand Sheela

Evidently, the Indian audience wants more of her trademark, flame-throwing punchlines from the 1980s. The internet is full of listicles of her wild wild quotes. What can I say? Tough titties tops the lot. Ever the slick provocateur, she could twist any uncomfortable question into a brazen celebration of the self. Which is how she has tackled questions during her India tour as well. But those quotable quotes are not as fiery or egomaniacal as they used to be. Now, they are more about self-love and self-help. A few of her tepid one-liners during Johars show which generated hearty applause were: I am a free woman; Love has no reason, if love has [a] reason it is not love. It is a bargain; I dont push the buck around; You create your own rainbow and You too are divinity. Some titillating bits included Sheela offering Johar post-coital Swiss chocolates, admitting how she never meditated or had sexual relations with Osho, and how she had personally paid for 96 Rolls Royces.

But often, one could see flashes of alarm and muted outrage. After Johars interview, when an audience member asked her about the allegations of mass poisoning and fighting with the local residents of Antelope in Oregon, she recalledalmost with a death-glarehow the Rajneeshees were even blamed for a volcano that exploded there. I have nothing to do with these accusations.... This information you have is not correct, she said. There was a bit of gaslighting, too. At the pre-dinner session on October 2, when a woman wondered how her great love for Bhagwan could allow for violence, Sheela defended her actions as self-protection at a time of spiraling negativity. But I have a question for you, Sheela shot back. Tell me this, you are such a pretty girl, but why do you look so sad? She ended the cross-questioning with an advice: Be positive, otherwise you will become suicidal. Yes, that is where depression starts. That was the last question of the evening.

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Return of the agent provocateur - THE WEEK

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October 18th, 2019 at 2:48 pm

Monday Musings: When Sheelas love for Osho brought her to Pune after 35 years – Hindustan Times

Posted: October 10, 2019 at 7:42 pm


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On October 4, I had the rare opportunity of spending more than three hours with Sheela Birnstiel, formerly, Ma Anand Sheela, as she re-visited the lanes and by-lanes of Koregaon Park, saw the Osho International commune, and paid her respects to Osho at the place where he was cremated in Pune.

Famous as the controversial secretary of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who was later known as Osho, Sheela shot into the limelight in recent years after the Netflix docu-series, Wild Wild Country, featured her prominently, and, the rise and fall of Rajneeshpuram in Oregon.

The most tumultuous period of Rajneeshpuram centred around clashes with the locals, her sudden flight to Germany in September 1985, and the criminal convictions for which she was deported to the US and served a prison sentence.

Pune was the place where she spent one of the most beautiful periods of her life at the Commune, demonstrated her organisational capabilities, rose to become Oshos secretary after Ma Yoga Laxmi and planned Oshos secretive departure to the US in June 1981. Pune was also the place where she spent beautiful moments with her first love Chinmaya, whom she lost to cancer in this city.

Now 70 and settled in Switzerland where she runs two homes for the elderly and disabled, Sheela, accompanied by her two devoted secretaries-caretakers, and a film crew, was on a short, discrete visit to Pune to re-visit Koregaon Park.

Full of nostalgia about Koregaon Park (KP) of the mid-to-late 1970s, one of the first things she noticed was the lifeless faade of Osho International commune in lane number 1, and the complete absence of people in orange robes. Yes, when she left Pune in 1981, Oshos followers wore bright orange robes, and the maroon robes only came later. She was happy with the rich greenery of KP, although the entire landscape had changed with large buildings, numerous shops and restaurants and the high volume traffic.

She was not aware of the famous German Bakery restaurant because it did not exist when she was here. The only hotel she knew was Blue Diamond- Punes first and only five star hotel in those days. Take me to Hotel Blue Diamond because that is my reference pointthe Commune was right behind, she said.

The most poignant and deeply emotional moment for her was when she visited the place where Osho was cremated on the night of January 19, 1990, at Tulsiram Ghat in KP. Full of reverence for Osho, Sheela closed her eyes, stood in silence for minutes and bowed with a namaste at the low pedestal created to place bodies. She was delighted to spot a dog sitting below the grill and spoke of her immense love for animals.

For Sheela, this was one of the most significant moments of her journey with Osho. I was not there when he died, but I feel connected with him here, she said.

When asked, where she was when Osho died, Sheela said she was in Paris with her lawyer, who saw the news on TV, confirmed it and then informed her. I had the feeling that it was an unnatural death, Sheela said, of her intuition when she got the news.

We had a lengthy discussion on all that happened on the day Osho died, and in the years that followed. She could not immediately connect with some of the names such as Amrito- Oshos personal physician, whom she knew as Devraj; and Nirvano- whom Osho considered as his soulmate- and who had died in suspicious circumstances 40 days before his own death. Sheela knew Nirvano as Vivek.

Sheela spoke extensively of how shocking and outrageous it was to completely deny the existence of Oshos Samadhi inside the Commune, created as per his own wish. She wondered whether this was being denied by the Commune managers to make it easy to liquidate the property.

She expressed the hope that Oshos followers, his admirers and others would take steps to ensure that the Samadhi was protected and opened to the public.

abhay.vaidya@hindustantimes.com

First Published:Oct 07, 2019 14:02 IST

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Monday Musings: When Sheelas love for Osho brought her to Pune after 35 years - Hindustan Times

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October 10th, 2019 at 7:42 pm

Karan Johar interviews Ma Anand Sheela: She is controversial without revealing a thing – India Today

Posted: September 30, 2019 at 6:50 pm


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Karan Johar took to his Instagram today to post a picture with Ma Anand Sheela and to announce that he interviewed her. The Bollywood director was all praises for the controversial figure in his post.

Karan posted a selfie with Sheela, who featured in the Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country on Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh aka Osho.

Karan posted the picture with the caption, "Interviewing #maanandsheela was an experience! She is fun forthright and fabulous! Dodging every answer in her inimitable fashion! She is controversial without revealing a thing! Now thats an art! She is witty and never at a wits end! Thanks for the help."

For the selfie, the star was dressed in a quirky, nerdy look. He donned a navy blue blazer over a black shirt, nerdy glasses and a quirky chain. As for Sheela, she wore a lemon yellow ensemble.

After Karan posted the picture on his gram, celebs like Shibani Dandekar, Ananya Panday and even Vishal Dadlani took his timeline to show there excitement.

Shibani wrote, "Damn cant wait to see this," and Vishal wrote, "'Seela is a beach!' said the most venerable Osho. She must've done something right!" As for Ananya, she was super excited and so are we.

For the uninitiated, Sheela is an Indian-born American-Swiss, former spokeswoman of the Rajneesh movement aka the Osho movement and was also convicted for multiple attempted murders.

As the personal secretary of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, Sheela managed the Rajneeshpuram ashram in Wasco County, Oregon, United States.

In 1985 she pleaded guilty to attempted murder and assault for her role in the 1984 Rajneeshee bio-terror attack. She was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison and paroled after 39 months.

In fact, Priyanka Chopra is also working on a biopic which is based on Ma Anand Sheelas life. Priyanka had announced the news on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she also revealed that the film will be directed by Barry Levinson.

ALSO SEE | Karan Johar shares old video of Yash Chopra on his birth anniversary: Honoured to be fathered by him

ALSO WATCH | Karan Johar on Bollywood, love and Section 377 at Conclave Mumbai 2019

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Karan Johar interviews Ma Anand Sheela: She is controversial without revealing a thing - India Today

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September 30th, 2019 at 6:50 pm

I have come out as a winner: Ma Sheela Anand – Livemint

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Its difficult not be in awe of Sheela Biernstiel, or Ma Anand Sheela.

Her soft words and warm smile make you forget that she was once the foul-mouthed, no-nonsense administrative head of Rajneeshpuram, a commune established in the 1980s Oregon by the followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (or Osho), a Rolls-Royce-loving godman who advocated free sex and unique meditation methods. The fine lines on her forehead, which get accentuated when she talks about the 39 months she spent in a California prison in the late 1980s after pleading guilty to attempted murder, arson, wire-tapping, and assault for poisoning hundreds of peopleoften referred to as the largest bioterror attack in American historyremind you of all the things she did to live the life the way she wanted to. Her defiance and competence make you root for her, even if you are not supposed to.

The world had almost forgotten about Sheela till Wild Wild Country, a 2018 Netflix documentary that follows the rise and fall of Rajneeshpuram, brought the Vadodara-born anti-hero back into the limelight. Today, Sheela, now 70, is running Matrusaden (mothers home) and Bapusaden (fathers home), homes for the mentally ill, disabled and the elderly. She has established similar homes in Vietnam and Mauritius. What about India? If someone shows interest (in funding), Im happy to do it," she says.

In an exclusive interview with Mint, Switzerland-based Sheela, who was recently in India to be part of Sipping Thoughts, a platform for women established in association with the NGO Humans for Humanity, shares her life experiences, her relationship with parents and Bhagwan Rajneesh, and why she did what she did. Edited excerpts:

You are returning home after 34 years. What took you so long?

I had people they said they would like me to come (to India) but I wasnt ready yet to come so I didnt encourage anyone. I was sure that when the right time comes, I will be there, and now is the right time.

What makes now the right time?

Feeling. Feeling inside. Often our intuition relates to our feeling, and it felt right. So when I got this invitation, there was a yes" in me. There wasnt ummm..no..I have to thinkno. I feel it is my responsibility to share my reality and my feeling to people.

Has your perspective towards life changed since the time you first left India?

Im the same individual I was when I was young. It is the same person, who became young, and then a bit older. It is the same person who met Bhagwan and fell in love with him.

Most people talk about you only in reference to Bhagwan Rajneesh. Did that ever bother you?

They talk in reference to him because that (being with him) was the biggest event of my life. And it is normal, the love I felt for Bhagwan. It was out of this world and it should be talked about. Such love, such commitment you dont see it every day. It was rare and even today I feel the commitment to him.

What I have come to learn from this man is remarkable. It should not be ignored, because this learning is itself an achievement. This is the real achievement: To live with somebody and learn from this genius, that is remarkable. In love and trust, you learn the most.

Have you used this learning in building Matrusudan?

Matrusudan is my expression of love for my parents. Ma and Pa have given me the basic correct values of life. In their honour, I do the work that I do now. When I was with Bhagwan, I was in love with him and I did what I could offer him in terms of my learning and in my being there. And now, Im being there for my handicapped people.

What are you doing for yourself?

People make me happy. People around me make me happy. The way I have lived till now makes me happy. The thought of my parents makes me happy. Thought of Bhagwan makes me happy. I work seven days a week. And I dont take vacation; Im not stressed in my work. I enjoy it.

How did Matrusaden and Bapusaden start?

I had come out of prison (December 1988), and I wanted to be on my feet. There was still much emotional chaos in me. At that time, I couldnt speak German. I started working as a housekeeper with an old couple in Basel. I was almost coming to the end of the journey with them (the old couple). I missed my parents very much. I could go back to them but I was not ready to take the risk of the US government. I was safe in Switzerland but I still missed them. Then I started seeing my parents in the people I saw on the streets. I felt my parents were here with every person, and then one day I came across an advertisement about a new law that people can take handicap person into their house and take care of them and the government will pay them to take care of them. So thats what I exactly did. With my little savings, I rented a house and I took in my first three patients and then three more. They were happy, I was happy. And just then the immigration law in Switzerland changed and I was able to call my parents. I was in heaven. And in 1996, my parents came. Existence took care of me. It realized that she doesnt have to suffer anymore heartaches".

How was prison life?

I only learnt. In such hard situations, you can only learn. If you dont learn, then you shouldnt be called human. What makes us different as humans, as individuals, is our ability to learn. And I took it as, Did I have any choice?" No. Since childhood, our parents taught us, Be ready for every situation and learn from it. Dont play to complain." Thats all I did.

So, what did you learn?

One of the most important things I learnt was time. Nobody has time. People are in traffic jam in the street or in the traffic jam of the life they create. Everybody is stressed because they dont have time, either for their loved ones or for themselves. In prison, everything you talk is in terms of time. How many years are you doing? How many years you have been here? How much more time do you have? Thats the vocabulary there. Then you have to sit back and understand what is this phenomenon. I learnt the value of time and what it meant to me.

The other important lesson was patience. Because to complete 39 months in prison requires a lot of patience. Women in nine months of pregnancy are finished, they want the child out. Thirty-nine months of pregnancy is bigger than an elephant.

Today, I do justice to my two learnings with my work. Im there for people, and I take the time for them. People need one another. Why has the problem of psychologically ill people, or handicap people, or the old people, become such a big problem? Because they are isolated. I have 10 more years to my life; I want to be there for people.

Bhagwan Rajneesh accused you of several crimes. How did you deal with them?

It is very simple today when I speak about it. Much water has gone by. I was brutally hurt in my heart but that was my problem, and I was very clear about that what Bhagwan says was his problem. I had to suffer for my heart, for myself. I fully accepted it. If I landed in prison, I had to learn something from there. Everyone can meditate, everyone can read books when life is good. But can you, in hard circumstances, look within? I dont talk about spirituality; I have nothing to do with it. But can you look within in all honesty?

Bhagwan and I had a wonderful love affair. We understand that when an average couple separates there is a lot of bloodshed. Now this was an international love affair, with thousands of people involved. He has to hold on to his people. Nobody had ever imagined that Bhagwan and Sheela will be separate. So he has to say something that is believable for people. But I can tell you, recently a sanyasin wrote to me, Do you know every day Bhagwan asked, How was Sheela, till the day he died." For me, it was clear, Bhagwan cannot think of anything other than my love for him. He did what was right for him. He did take a lot of drugs, and it is normal for people who take drugs to talk nonsense at times. He had to do that; I assumed he had a more intelligent way to do that, there too I agree he wasnt creative under drugs.

But I was like a phoenix rising from the ashes. The whole world was against me. Think about that. People who called me friends no longer existed all gone with the wind. And then I had to depend on my own back. My old values that my parents had given me came to my rescue.

What were your parents like?

Im made of my parents. My mother was very intelligent and my father spent his time with Gandhi, Kakasaheb (Dattatreya Balkrushna Kalelkar).... He was well trusted and respected. And that is the value of loyalty he taught us. Im no Christian in that sense that I suffer from guilt but I have learnt to look at myself and move on. Life is vast.

What was your parents reaction when you told them about your decision to join Osho?

I tell you a small incident. When my father was young, he used to take my mother on his bicycle and go through Baroda. His friends always told him not to do so because it didnt look nice" but my father also said, My wife is beautiful, I want the whole world to see her". My father gave me an advice when I was 16 and going to America for study. He said: Im sending you to America to study, to learn. I want you to remember that you are at that age where you will be interested in men and men will be interested in you. Experiment. Dont meet the first man and marry him. Have sex. Marriage is a long-term event, and if you enter into it without knowing your desires it would be wrong. Date few men, then make your choice."

Did you have any apprehensions about the Netflix documentary, Wild Wild Country?

My four sisters were against it; they didnt want me to go through any more public scrutiny, but my brother convinced them. The two brothers (Maclain and Brocker Way, the directors of the documentary) said they have this 200-300 hours of raw footage from our time in Oregon. It was a goldmine. I was just putting out my heart. I had no idea what they were planning to do. They filmed me for five days. I was just there, with my reality, with life, with myself.

Do you ever wish to go back in time and change things?

I have no regrets. I have come out, out of the whole deal, in spite of 39 months in prison, as a winner. I feel like a winner; I am a winner. Thats what makes me, me. The training of my parents, the love of my brothers and sisters, the trust of Bhagwan in me, that I could do it, that makes for a good foundation.

If Bhagwan Rajneesh was here, what would you say to him?

(Blows a kiss).

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I have come out as a winner: Ma Sheela Anand - Livemint

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September 30th, 2019 at 6:50 pm

LFW SS20: Ashish – beauty, magic and escapism – FashionUnited UK

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Ahead of London Fashion Week if you had to pick out one show that would bring the party it would have been Ashish, known for his high-tempo catwalk collections, however, when the invite arrived, a packet of wildflower seeds, it suggested that the British designer was about to take us all in a different direction.

Set in the large sports hall of the Seymour Leisure Centre, Ashish greeted his guests with a meditative beats from musicians, Candida Valentino and Michael Ormiston, who played with gongs, wind chimes, and a singing bowl, adding a calm to the storm of fashion week, as the sun set through the skylights.

For spring/summer 2020, Ashish was inspired by the Netflix documentary series, Wild, Wild Country, which tells the story of the Rajneeshpuram ashram cult in Oregon, the designer told FashionUnited backstage following his show: I became kind of obsessed with Ma Anand Sheelas character, I was thinking shes kind of amazing, she is such an anti-hero and you dont want to mess with her - she is such a strong character.

Then I was kind of inspired by the situation, about being in an ashram, away from everything, it is like a magical space where it is like free love and everybodys like really chill and just away from all the horribleness that is happening.

It is kind of like escapism, just beauty, magic and escapism.

This was a spiritual awakening of sorts, there were still sparkles, sequins, bright colours and clashing patterns, everything we expect from Ashish, yet it seemed a little more subdued, if not reflective and mesmerising.

Gone were the overtly obvious tongue-in-cheek slogans, well except for one black sweatshirt that featured 19 sexual expletives on the back, all of which began with fuck, this collection was more reflection, quite literally, as traditional shisha mirror embroidery covered full tracksuits, denim, shirting, slip dresses and full-skirted dresses.

As well as spring/summer ready-to-wear, the catwalk showcase also featured resort-style pieces from swim shorts and polos for men, and bikinis for women, which were mixed in alongside sportswear, which Ashish stated added contrast to the collection.

As with most London Fashion Week designers, sustainability was on Ashishs mind, following on from previous collections dedication to slow fashion, the designer added: A lot of the fabric was actually vintage that I literally found sack loads of, Ive then joined them all together to make my own fabric.

Also, all the denim is sustainable, as it is all old jeans that have been cut up and joined back together.

The looks were also all styled with handmade jewellery, featuring discarded wood blocks that Ashish said he had found about the place, which really added to the hippy-vibe of the colourful collection.

The show notes concluded with a quote from controversial Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, also known as Osho from the documentary Wild Wild Country, saying: A little foolishness, enough to enjoy life, and a little wisdom to avoid errors, that will do.

If this was Ashish starting his own cult, a cult filled with a kaleidoscope of sequins, sparkles and mirrors, where do we sign up.

Images: courtesy of Ashish

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LFW SS20: Ashish - beauty, magic and escapism - FashionUnited UK

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September 30th, 2019 at 6:50 pm

Everyday Mystics – The Good Men Project

Posted: September 21, 2019 at 1:49 pm


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I was a college freshman when Herbert Benson published Relaxation Response, a mass-market book that swept across the country, initiating millions to the basic principles of transcendental meditation. A lonely, stressed-out young man, 2000 miles away from home, I took refuge in the space that Bensons book opened up in me. I would go deep within for an hour every day, sometimes two, to escape from the challenges of a high-stakes, high-pressure academic life.

After college I desperately wanted to complete my escape from reality and live in a newly established ashram in Pune, India, led by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (later Osho), whose spiritual teachings and open attitudes to human sexuality spoke to my heart. Bhagwan was all the rage in the seventies, no doubt in part for his willingness to go toe-to-toe with religious and political authorities. He spoke to the rebellious young man in me. As it turned out later, his organization became a cult. Im grateful that I dodged that bullet.

The desire to be on a path of purpose and meaning continued to burn deep inside me, however. As I continued my meditation practice, strange disassociations occurred. I heard voices, whispers of the universe. I watched the world from an elevated place. I flew in my dreams. I thought I was losing my mind.

I prayed for these experiences to stop, but they did not. Instead, they intensified. Finally, no longer able to function like a normal person in the real world, I asked for forgiveness for not being able to take the next step into whatever awakening was occurring.

I became an advertising exec in New York, then eventually a husband and father, and confined the deepening of my spiritual practice to the Episcopal traditions that I had known since childhood.

Thirty years later, because I would not go to India, India came to me in a series of bizarre events. First, I got my fat, toxic, road-warrior ass into yoga and other forms of exercise. Down twenty, I got naked, resumed my meditation practice, and really opened up. It was then that the universe really got to work.

To help me on my journey, a series of spiritual advisors showed up. A pre-cognitive psychotherapist, who used to train TM trainers in Switzerland. A demanding, but loving female guide (who is also a world-class tri-athlete). A former Ogilvy exec expert in the research on the mind-body-heart connection. An inter-spiritual mystic traveling the world, and close friend of Ram Dass, dropped into my life. A beloved Episcopal monk welcomed me into silence and solitude. WTF?

The pinnacle of the succession of these spiritual peaks occurred in the Carmel Highlands where I found myself on retreat with an Indian mystic from Arunachala who had relocated to the US and was convening a group of gurus and some laypeople. I felt like Forrest Gump in the presence of the fifteen others. At his feet, the infinite blank flat screen of the eternal present opened up and forever changed my life, blowing apart my mind, body, and soul. After the smoke cleared, it became apparent that a cycle of great duration had been completed.

Having wandered through a great many spiritual practices over the decades, heres what I learned that might be useful.

There is a Great Awakening going on now in our country. People of all ages are throwing themselves into a smorgasbord of spiritual disciplines, creating an exotic, intoxicating fusion of practice in search of meaning. An inter-spiritual approach is fine, but its hard to execute, and in my opinion, it must be grounded in a single practice that requires a serious ongoing commitment, at least in the beginning, with an advisor or a community to help guide you.

Otherwise, I can tell you that you will wake up someday to discover that you have spent an enormous amount of time engaged in spiritual self-deception, blissing out. It feels good, but there is no real connection or union with the divine.

Secondly, I personally believe that the world needs us to engage not retreat from it, and thats what this Great Awakening is all about. While regular detachment from the world by going on retreat is essential in order to maintain a space where consciousness can unfold, the world needs us to remain present and engaged in it, using our hearts, minds, and bodies to lift up others.

Third, the real challenge begins when you come back from a retreat. Opening a space for daily renewal and spiritual growth is a tall order in our busy, distracted, over-committed lives. I believe that it is especially problematic for men. We are not hard-wired to remain open so that Spirit can descend and take root. We are much better at taking action, making shit happen. In addition, millennia of traditions regarding what it means to be a spiritual male are no longer serving us well. They need to be reimagined, incorporating the sacred feminine.

However, heres the opportunity that is being offered to us as men. When we finally get naked, surrender, become vulnerable, opening up an interior space where the universe comes shining through, we come fully into our gifts. Our lives begin to have meaning.

We become brave, strong, bold, and creative in ways that we would have never imagined. We finally reveal who we truly are, and engage with the world to the great benefit of others.

In short, we become Everyday Mystics, the embodiment of the sacred feminine and divine masculine, at one with the universe and those around us.

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Everyday Mystics - The Good Men Project

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September 21st, 2019 at 1:49 pm

London Fashion Week: Sparkles and spiritualism were high on the agenda at Ashish – Fashion from Xpos – Virgin Media Television -…

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15th Sep 19 | Beauty

Prudence Wade reviews the sequin-obsessed designer Ashish Guptas spring/summer 2020 collection.

Ashish catwalk shows tend to be one of the biggest parties of London Fashion Week, full of disco vibes and lots of sparkles.

Sequins, clashing patterns and bright colours still made up much of creative director Ashish Guptas latest show, but it definitely felt more subdued than previous seasons.

Gone were the tongue-in-cheek slogan clothes from previous collections, replaced with a more reflective collection quite literally, as many of the outfits were covered in tiny circular mirrors.

It seems the designer showcased something of a spiritual awakening, too.

According to singer Ella Eyres Instagram Stories, model Neelam Gill walked the runway holding a branch of palo santo aloft a type of wood popularly used in South America for ceremonial purposes, as its believed to have healing properties.

Gill was fitted out in a long, almost religious-looking robe but as this is still Ashish were talking about, it was fuchsia and covered in sparkles.

The show notes also featured a quote attributed to the controversial Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh saying: A little foolishness, enough to enjoy life, and a little wisdom to avoid errors, that will do. You might recognise the Indian spiritual leader, otherwise known as Osho, from Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country.

The show held in the art deco Seymour Hall in London also saw a mini concert of musicians playing soft wind chimes, bells and conch shells.

The clothes themselves had a Sixties flower power vibe, with some models wearing actual flowers in their hair. But dont think this is a hippy collection theres always an edge with Ashish, and the beauty look by Isamaya Ffrench involved eyes heavily ringed with kohl. Hair by Sam McKnight opted for messy braids and the occasional pop of colour.

Billy Porter, Ella Eyre and Paloma Faith all appeared on the front row. Pose actor Porter is always one to watch on the red carpet he most famously wore a Christian Siriano tuxedo gown to this years Oscars so hopefully well see him in one of Ashishs latest designs soon.

It feels like something of a new era for Gupta; more pared back and contemplative. Luckily, the colourful, sparkly essence of the brand remains, but it certainly feels like Ashish is delving further into the spiritual than the meme-able than ever before.

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September 21st, 2019 at 1:49 pm

The Best True Crime Shows And Movies To Watch If You Loved Hulu’s ‘The Act’ – Pulse Ghana

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When They See Us Nominated for 16 Emmys, Ava DuVernay's four-part Netflix series When They See Us follows the injustices surrounding the Central Park Five , a group of five teenagers who were wrongly accusedand convictedof raping a woman in New York's Central Park. The story is one of the most notable in recent U.S. history, making the show an instant must-watch. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Netflix@Youtube

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Sharp Objects HBO's Sharp Objects is one wild ride. Based on the Gillian Flynn novel of the same name, the TV series is more similar to Gypsy Rose's story than you might think at first glance. A mom who just wants to take care of her children ends up making them sick in the process. But, don't worry, that's not a spoilerthere's an even bigger twist that you won't see coming. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube ONE Media@Youtube

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Unbelievable Just like The Act was based in part on a BuzzFeed News article , the new Netflix series Unbelievable is based on a ProPublica and Marshall Project investigation . Booksmart actress Kaitlyn Dever plays Marie Adler , who reported being raped to the police but, when authorities didn't believe her, retracted the claim. Two detectives played by Toni Collette and Merritt Wever help uncover what actually happened in the true-crime drama. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Netflix@Youtube

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The Staircase Family drama always makes for good TV, and this real-life story is just that. Staircase, another Netflix series, follows the charges against Michael Peterson, who was convicted and imprisoned for the death of his wife, Kathleen. It was believed she was pushed down the stairs in their home, but his children say he would never do that. Filmed over the course of 18 years, the true-crime documentary makes for one gripping and timeless story. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Netflix@Youtube

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Mindhunter Mindhunter became an instant true-crime TV obsession when season onebased on a true-crime book of the same namedebuted way back in 2017. Now that its second season just dropped, fans can watch as Holden Ford and Bill Tenchcharacters both based on real FBI agents get under the skin and into the minds of the country's most notorious serial killers (which, yes, really did happen). Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Series Trailer MP@Youtube

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The Keepers The people closest to a murdered Sister Cathy lead the hunt to uncover more about the 50-year-old homicide case in The Keepers. The Netflix series throws viewers right into the middle of their search for answers. The only problem? The show's only seven episodes long, making for a one-day binge. (At least you've got a ton of other options as soon as you're done...) Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Netflix@Youtube

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Abducted In Plain Sight Netflix documentary Abducted In Plain Sight has about just as many twists and turns as The Act. Similar to the way Dee Dee misled Gypsy about her health, there's a level of brainwashing in this true story that is both insane and infuriating. You won't believe what goes down until you watch it for yourself. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Abducted In Plain Sight - Trailer@Youtube

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Making A Murderer If you've always wanted to get in the minds of killers (and have already binged all of Mindhunter), then Making A Murderer was pretty much made for you. The 2015 series captivated Netflix subscribers worldwide, telling Steven Avery's story in two enthralling seasons. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Netflix@Youtube

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Paradise Lost Trilogy Just like Gypsy's trial, this one consumed headlines in 1993. The three-part HBO documentary follows the trials of the West Memphis Three: teenage boys who were charged with killing and mutilating the bodies of three young boys in a Satanic ritual. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills - Trailer@Youtube

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The Jinx: The Life And Deaths Of Robert Durst Art often imitates life (case in point: The Act, duh!), but sometimes, life imitates art after it's already imitated life. Confused? Don't be. Here's the sitch: In 2010, director Andrew Jarecki made the crime drama film All Good Things, based on the true story of Robert Durst, who is accused of killing three people but has yet to be convicted of any charges. While doing research for All Good Things, Jarecki was able to get so close with Durst that he later directed a six-part docuseries for HBO, featuring an unprecedented interview with Durst himself. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube HBO UK@Youtube

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Lorena Lorena Bobbitt flooded the news circuit in 1993 when she cut off her abusive husband's penis while he was asleep. What came after was a slew of jokes at her expense by the male-dominated media. Now, the Amazon Prime four-part docuseries, produced by Jordan Peele, allows Lorena to share her side of what happened and how the coverage impacted her life. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Amazon Prime Video@Youtube

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The Case Against Adnan Syed You've probably heard of a little true-crime podcast called Serial that pretty much kickstarted a whole slew of podcasts delving into cold cases. Five years after season one of Serial ended, HBO made a documentary catching up with Adnan's case, including new interviews with both those who believe him and those who don't. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube HBO@Youtube

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I Am The Night Patty Jenkins and Chris Pine team up for this Black Dahliainspired TNT drama. The show follows a teenager and a journalist who get wrapped up in the infamous murder of Elizabeth Short (posthumously known as the "Black Dahlia") in the 1960s. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube TNT@Youtube

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Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes Shortly before the Zac Efronled Ted Bundy biopic, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, director Joe Berlinger released The Ted Bundy Tapes. Through old recordings and new interviews, the four-episode docuseries let's the notorious serial killer and those closest to the infamous case speak for themselves. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Netflix@Youtube

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Evil Genius: The True Story Of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist This 2018 Netflix docuseries tells the true story of Brian Wells' murder, a headline-making incident in 2003 that's also known as the "collar bomb" or "pizza bomber" case. Just like The Act, Evil Genius takes a high-profile case and puts it into a well-crafted series exploring who, if anyone, was the "evil genius" behind such a high-profile crime. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Netflix@Youtube

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Amanda Knox Amanda Knox's story is kooky with a capital K. After implicating herself in the murder of her study-abroad roommate, Italian courts found her guilty, even though the nature of the interrogation was shadyto say the least. Then, in 2015, she was not only exonerated, but became a journalist and best-selling author. The Netflix documentary tells her full story. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Netflix@Youtube

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The Confession Tapes Speaking of unjust interrogations, Netflix series The Confession Tapes highlights the cases in which psychological interrogations were used against suspects to make up for a lack of evidence. It's often the most intense part of the investigation, and this docuseries proves that it can be the most unfair part, too. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Downeu@Youtube

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The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story Ryan Murphy's hit anthology TV series started by exploring the infamous trial of football player O.J. Simpson, charged with the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, in 1994. From the acting to the direction, the show won multiple Emmys. (Fingers crossed The Act can do the same.) Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Dagbladet@Youtube

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Wild Wild Country Cult stories are seriously intriguing, which is why they usually get a lot of media attention. But the cult led by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh that built a "utopian city" in the Oregon desert was largely forgotten in the grand scheme of American historyuntil 2018. That's when the Netflix docuseries, Wild Wild Country, premiered, diving deep into the conflict between the cult and Oregonians that eventually resulted in the first bioterror attack in the United States and a massive case of illegal wiretapping. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Netflix@Youtube

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Captive There are few documentaries that let the victims tell their story, because it's often too painful for them to relive one of the most terrifying moments of their life. In Captive's eight episodes, however, the docuseries goes deep into multiple kidnapping cases and reconstructs some of the most complex, high-stakes hostage negotiations in history. Watch Now See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube See the original post on Youtube Netflix@Youtube

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The Best True Crime Shows And Movies To Watch If You Loved Hulu's 'The Act' - Pulse Ghana

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September 21st, 2019 at 1:49 pm


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