Title: Ma Anand Sheela

The fight between the ideals of communal living and capitalism has been present throughout the last dec- ades. Our mind immediately associates it with the So- viet communism and the Western capitalism, especially with the USA as an example. That is the kind of black and white thinking we grow up with, we rarely think about the in-between. If we look at the philosopher Osho, formerly known as Rajneesh or Baghwan, we can find different approaches on the topic. He promoted the philosophy of communal living with capitalistic pleas- ures and spiritual advancement integrated. The aim was to combine the eastern man, who is rich in spirit- uality but poor in terms of materialism, with the west- ern man, who is rich in terms of materialism but poor in spirituality.

When his followers, known as the Rajneesies, brought his commune from Pune, India to the countryside in Ore- gon, USA, a war between ideals quickly enflamed.

On the frontline of this fight was one strong woman, fighting everything the USA could bring up in legal and manpower – Ma Anand Sheela, the right hand of Osho. The story of Rajneeshpuram and its fall is a long and intense one, which was recently worked through in the Netflix documentary series “Wild Wild Country”. After years of imprisonment, Sheela built herself up again in the Swiss countryside, where she now leads two homes, named Matrusaden and Bapusaden, where she gives people who are mentally and physically handicapped a warm and loving home.

Special Thanks to

Ma Anand Sheela

© Stefan Dotter, 2020