|'Wild Wild Country' Depicts an American Construct of OshoŚ Incomplete and Superficial
Posted by Osho World Foundation Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 13:42
|These are the words inscribed on Oshos tombstone. His "visit" that the tombstone refers to was so glorious and controversial that it has served as the fodder for many books and movies over the years.
From journalists, writers, to filmmakers, many have previously tried to tell Osho or Bhagwan Shree Rajneeshs story and while most of these efforts were noble, none could ever truly succeed in capturing the essence of the enigmatic guru. The latest one to fail in the attempt is Netflixs six-part docu-series, Wild Wild Country.
Netflixs Wild Wild Country has been all the rave for the past month and anyone who has watched the series will tell you that it is worth all the praises and more. It tells the fascinating story of a hedonistic Indian guru aka Bhagwan whose cult followers, led by his dynamic secretary, Ma Anand Sheela established the independent city of Rajneeshpuram in the United States and later tried to take over an entire county in the US state of Oregon.
With snazzy background scores, the docu-series for the first four parts details the rise and rise of Oshos followers and as one outrageous happening after another unfolds from bioterrorism, immigration fraud, attempted murders to wiretapping the audience is left gobsmacked at the turn of events. The last two parts of the series focus on Oshos downfall and his subsequent death.
For anyone who doesnt know the story already Wild Wild Country runs like a thriller; addictive and enthralling, it doesnt let your attention waver even for a split-second.
However, despite all the amazing qualities that make Wild Wild Country an interesting watch, the creators of the show, Chapman Way and Maclain Way, fail miserably in doing justice to the person Osho was.
They reduce Osho to a vengeance-seeking, money-making, sex-obsessed guru who led a life of decadence, hung out with the cool Hollywood crowd and owned diamond watches and ninety nine Rolls Royce. There is no denying the facts of the matter but it is the perspective with which the documentary unfolds that seems problematic.
The image of Osho that the documentary paints for us also happens to be the same perception that the western media propagated back in the 80s which made the guru really unpopular among many US citizens. It is not to say that Rajneesh wasnt all of the things that Way brothers have depicted him to be. He was. However, he was a whole lot more.
It has rarely happened in human history that a man who lambasted every religion across the world and denounced god himself, found such a massive following. Often mistakenly referred to as a godman, Osho was, in fact, anti-god and against all religions.
Osho said that the most fundamental error of all religions is that they pretend to know it all. Every religion pretends to be omniscient while they are nothing but old clubs who have religious jargons around them. Oshos only religion was to rebel against all religions. Once, when asked if he considered himself a god, he said, "There is no god, then how can I consider myself a god? God is the greatest lie invented by men."
However, as the docu-series Wild Wild Country proceeds, we see Osho repeatedly being accused of propagating his "religion" by Antelope residents and other Christians. The guru who had taken a vow of silence and who was hardly seen in public during the early days of building Rajneeshpuram comes out only after Ma Anand Sheela leaves Rajneeshpuram to say that he has never wanted an organized religion around him. He did not want people to wear red robes and he didnt want Rajneeshism. It may sound like the thing a man who has already criticized every religion of the world would say, the documentary hardly ever dwells on the point.
Wild Wild Country by then had become a "he said, she said" battle between Ma Anand Sheela and Osho. We hear Ma Anand Sheela say that denouncing Rajneeshism is an angry retaliation of Osho because she left him and the commune and the idea of Rajneeshism came from Bhagwan himself. While it seems hard to imagine that Osho would dismantle an entire religion around him because of Sheela, there is no way of verifying if the orders to create Rajneeshism truly ever came from Osho at all. There are two versions of the story Oshos and Ma Anand Sheelas and Way brothers only present us with Sheelas because Osho isnt here to tell them his story.
That is another problem, Wild Wild Country is mostly Ma Anand Sheelas film. She is one of the narrators, and after 28 years, she is still the spokesperson of Osho. Apart from her, presenting the Rajneeshees side of the story are Ma Shanti B and Swami Prem Niren.
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