The Last Testament Vol 3 13

Thirteenth Discourse from the series of 30 discourses - The Last Testament Vol 3 by Osho.
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Peter Weissbach, CJOR Radio, Vancouver, Canada
Mike Zielenzinger, Knight Ridder Newspapers, United States

Good evening.

Peter Weissbach, CJOR Radio, Vancouver; Canada

How are you?

I’m fine.

You’ve made recent statements that you’re prepared to sell back Antelope, or the City of Rajneesh, property to the former residents of Antelope. Now, is that an indication that you’re now prepared to compromise with your neighbors in order to seek a reconciliation?

No, there is no question of compromise, no compromise of reconciliation, because we don’t have any hostility toward them. The people who had hostility toward them have left. We simply want to leave their homes, their place, their city - and we are going to change its name back. It is not a question of reconciliation, it is simply undoing what the fascist gang had done to the people around while I was in silence for three and a half years.

Am I hearing you correctly then, you’re not called Rajneeshees anymore?


What term should I use?

Just friends of Osho.

Okay. Your friends will be selling their interests in the City of Rajneesh, formerly Antelope, Oregon.


Now, Margaret Hill, the former mayor of Antelope, said to prove your sincerity you should instruct the Rajneesh city council to repeal the city’s charter this year. Do you intend to do that?

No, because she is just asking an absurdity. If we are friends, why should we destroy a city? We will change the name of the city back to Antelope, but the city remains. We are not enemies, and we will hand over the city to the people from whom we had got it. Then it is up to them if they want to repeal, decompose - that is up to them. That is not our business, and it would not be an act of friendship.

You’ve always maintained that you’re simply a guest here in Rajneeshpuram.


Since the weekend of September 14th, 15th, is that still the case now?

I will always be a guest.

Are you at all involved administratively or politically at Rajneeshpuram?

No, not at all.

But some of the statements that you’ve made during the past two weeks would indicate that you were involved during the time Sheela was here. You’ve indicated that Sheela consulted you about the plans for the Share-a-Home program, and you told her it was perfectly good to start the program “If money was available.” Is that an accurate quote?

I was not involved. And to me, what she had said was not anything political: she had said it was a humanitarian program, and I am certainly interested in humanity. That is not politics. But she was deceiving me. I came to know only when I came out of silence and started meeting my people, that it was not a Share-a-Home program; it was just an effort to take over the whole county. It was an absolutely political strategy.

But it would seem that in recent statements you’ve made since that weekend, you’ve pledged to decentralize the power in the movement’s corporate structure, and that you’ve said, quote: “It will take a few days, but I will make it diffused.” and you’ve also said, quote: “There will be several equal corporations, and several presidents of equal status.” Now reading that, to me, you must then have the power to say, “Go do this.”

No, I don’t have any power. I have something more than power - that is my love. I can advise my people, whether they do it or not is up to them. But I love them, they love me, and there is an understanding between us which is not of power. I am not ordering them to do it. I am simply explaining to them that whatsoever wrong has been done, should be undone.

So you’re there to give advice to your heads of the corporations.

Just advice.

But it’s advice, it’s not a direct order.

No, it is not an order; it is just advice from a friend.

It’s been said that your new corporate leaders have been referred to by some sannyasins as the “Beverly Hills money crowd.” and concern has been expressed that once again the power has passed to a close-knit elite group of favorites. Would you respond to that, please?

Whosoever has been informing you is absolutely wrong. My own understanding is that the people who were in power all came from poor families, and I hate poverty. Whenever a poor person gets an opportunity he is bound to take advantage, to be rich, to be powerful, and that’s what happened. So this time I have advised my people, “Give power to those who already have enough money, and are not interested in taking money from you.” On the contrary, they will be putting their money into the commune.
And secondly, the people who have taken their place are very creative people. President Prem Hasya, with her husband, had made one of the best movies ever made, The Godfather. She has a talent and a creativity and intelligence, and has lived as super-rich, so there is no question of inferiority and poverty in her.

There must be examples of people who come from a similar background to Sheela - if that’s what you’re referring to - that still have compassion for the poor and don’t abuse their power.

I have never seen a single person who comes from poverty and gets a chance to be rich, who has not misused it.

These allegations against Sheela and the gang: now, they may have ordered these crimes to be committed, but there must have been a number of people that were involved in actually placing the bugs and the wiretaps, et cetera.

Yes, there have been.

A secondary echelon. Has any action been taken against those people?

Those twenty people have fled with her.

So those twenty people are the only ones that were involved in this massive plot of wiretapping and.

Yes, other people have done only small things, of which they are absolutely innocent because they knew nothing about it. If they were told to dig a ditch, in which they were going to bug a house. Those people had no idea what they were going to do. They didn’t know anything about wires and electricity, and which wire was an electric wire and which wire was just a bugging device, so they simply dug the ditch. So, in a way they have supported, but they were absolutely innocent.
The people who knew what they are doing, the people who invented the whole bugging system - and they invented a bugging system that even the FBI has accepted was far more sophisticated than used by Nixon. So, all those people have gone with Sheela. Only one person had the courage to come back from the middle journey.

Who was that?

A sannyasin, Ava. And she is going to reveal everything about the whole group, because she was the most intimate in the group, and she knows about everything that has happened.

Is she the one that told you of the murder plots?


Have you been interviewed yet by the FBI or the Oregon state police?

They seem to be afraid of me. Four times they have - on my request. They have not requested me for an interview, on the contrary I have requested. Four times they made an arrangement and canceled at the last moment.

Isn’t one of your conditions that the press be present during that interview?

That was only the last time: when they canceled the fourth time, I said, “Now, this is too much. I am requesting you, not you requesting me, and you go on canceling, so what is cooking behind it? Why are you afraid of me?”
So I told them, “Now, a fourth time you cancel it, then I am going to call a press conference, and tell everything to the press conference. You are trying to hide something. It seems there is a conspiracy against the commune - by both the governor and the United States attorney - to protect the criminals who have escaped and somehow involve innocent people. They are trying to arrest one thousand sannyasins who have nothing to do with all those crimes, just to disrupt the whole community.

There’s a rumor around that the National Guard is being mobilized in Madras.

Yes, they are keeping the National Guard on alert, and mobilizing it in Madras. I know it, I have heard about it. The governor is thinking of declaring a state of emergency in Rajneeshpuram - where everything is peaceful and no emergency is needed. Our sannyasins are going to the police on their own accord and revealing whatsoever they know.

There’s also a rumor that you’re to be arrested tomorrow.

Yes, I have heard that.

How would you handle that? Would you.

I would enjoy it.

Why would you enjoy it?

Because that is the only experience in my life which is missing and this is my last life. I’m not going back again; I will not be having another life. So I would like to have that experience too.

You have now urged the residents here to take responsibility for the future. It’s up to them to guard against similar events. Do you share any of the responsibility for what has happened here?

No, neither for good nor for bad; I don’t take any responsibility.

One of your sannyasins in a letter to the Osho Times said, and I quote: “He should have known. He should have seen what a monster she was. He should have protected us. He should have done something” - referring to you.

That is the projection of people. I have been insisting that I am not a savior, I am not a prophet, I am not a messenger of God. I am just a human being.
I didn’t even know that my room was bugged, so how could I know? And I don’t see that there is a condition anywhere in any scripture that if you bug the room of an enlightened person he will know it.

Let me take you back to a quote from a discourse you gave in Pune, India: “Whatsoever is happening here is happening with my knowledge. Not a single thing that happens here is happening without my knowledge, so you need not inform me about things. I know them already, and this you have to understand absolutely. I may not come out of my room. I never come out except in the morning and in the evening. I never go around, but whatsoever happens is perfectly known to me, and is happening according to me. Please don’t interfere.”

Yes, that was a totally different context. But note the fact that it does not imply any esoteric nonsense. It simply means I was seeing my secretary in the morning, in the night, and at any time whenever she wanted to inform me about anything important. No decision was being taken without informing me.

You’re referring to Pune now?

Yes. It was a totally different context; I was actively participating. Every decision was my decision and I was responsible for it. But since I went into silence I dropped all responsibility and all active participation. So I didn’t know anything of what is happening anywhere.

But from your point of enlightenment, with the clarity of vision. I can see someone like myself not being aware, distorting what I’m seeing, because I really don’t want to look at it. But surely you had a lot of contact with Sheela?

Not a lot of contact. She was only seeing me each evening - that too, not necessarily every day.

But you’ve known her since she was what? Sixteen?

No, I have known her only when she came to me in 1970.

Well, that’s 15 years. Did she indicate to you by actions or verbally that she was no longer happy here? Did you get any sense of what was about to happen on September 14th?

No, that was - I was becoming aware that she’s not happy here.

Had she verbalized that to you?

No, I could just see it. Everybody was so happy because I started speaking again. They were ecstatic, and she was sad. She was the only person who did not want me to speak, because if I was speaking then she was useless. She had all the power because she was representing me, so it was natural. I could see that she was becoming sadder. And then she started traveling in Europe, in Australia, in other communes - any excuse and she would simply rush. And I knew the reason: there, she would still have the same power; she was representing me.

I interviewed Sheela August 22nd. She was very clear to me at that time that she was not here for enlightenment at all. She was not into the spiritual aspect at all. She was here purely and simply because she loved you - whatever her definition of love was, be it conditional or unconditional. Now why would someone like that be your personal secretary? That’s the difficulty I have understanding.

Yes, I will make it clear; your difficulty is very simple.
She was not interested in enlightenment. She was not interested in any spiritual growth; I knew that from the very first moment I saw her. In fact, that was the reason she was chosen to be my secretary - because the people who are interested in meditation, who are interested in spiritual growth, are not on the earth; they are spaced out. And she was very pragmatic, very practical, naturally. And a secretary needs to be that. She was chosen actually for that reason, because there was no chance of her spiritual growth in this life. But she was capable of doing practical things, and she was very pragmatic at dealing with situations which the spiritual kind of person is not capable.

But in your talks you have said that you’re looking to merge Western materialism with Eastern spiritually.


You have said that you want to merge Buddha and Zorba, to come up with the new man. So I have difficulty understanding when you say that everyone who is meditating is spaced out. So really what you’ve done is you’ve given a dichotomy again.

No, I’ve not given a dichotomy.

You are, because you’re saying that spaced out people cannot go get these things done, pragmatic people like Sheela can.

I know it, because the people who are interested in meditation - in going in - are simply not interested in fighting in the courts, in fighting with the politicians. That is not their interest: they are not political, and they are not interested in unnecessarily wasting their time.
Once they become attuned to their inner being, they will become settled, they will become centered, and then it will be possible for them to deal with those realities also.
But at the moment when I came to America, I had only twenty people with me. Within those twenty people Sheela was the only person who had lived in America, who knew America perfectly well - the American mind, American politics - and she was the most practical person out of those twenty people. They were all significant in their own jobs. Whatever they were doing, they were perfect, but the job of a secretary was a totally different one. And I chose her simply because she was always going to remain a Zorba, she was not going to become a buddha - so, for the time being, let her be the secretary.
Now, my new secretary is both: she has the potential of being a Zorba, and has the potential of being a buddha. But now the commune is settled, the work of the Zorba is finished.

When did you receive Sheela’s letter of resignation?

She just informed me.


Not verbally, through somebody - her second, Savita, who used to work in her place when she was not here. And mostly she was not here since I started speaking.

So Savita was the one that informed you that Sheela was leaving?

She informed me that Sheela was sending her resignation. So I waited for her resignation; it never came to me. She left, and left the resignation in the office.

When were you told by Savita that Sheela was going to resign? Do you remember the day?

Just the day before, and that too.

Could that be Friday the 13th?

Whenever she left, just the day before. And then too she deceived, because she said that she had a cold, which was why she could not come. So after three, four days when her cold was gone, she would come to see me and explain the whole thing.

So you did not see her before she left?

No I have not seen.

She did write a letter to you.

She did write a letter to me, in which she wrote nothing about leaving. She simply wrote, “I am not feeling so excited coming back here as I used to feel before. On the contrary, I feel more excited in Australia, in Europe, in India. I don’t know the reason.” That much was the content.
And I told Savita, “Give Sheela my message: there is nothing much in it. The simple fact is that because I’m speaking again, she has to become an ordinary sannyasin again here. In those three and a half years her ego has blown up too much - that is what is hurting. And if she wants proof I can come to Europe, I can come to India, I can come to Australia, and then there will also be no excitement. This excitement is nothing but becoming a celebrity: being on the radio, being on the television, being in the newspapers. So, just try to understand that this is only an ego trip.”
And she deceived me, saying that she was going to stay three or four days. The next day she left immediately.

When did you start to become aware of some of the charges that you subsequently made about her about the poisonings*?

Only when she left - because these simple people were so much afraid of the group: they had in these three years forced people who were intelligent, more capable than them, were not ready to surrender to any stupid order.

She left on the afternoon of the 14th - Saturday.

Yes, and immediately things started coming up - because not only she left, she left with the whole gang.

And they started leaving between the 14th and 15th. But did the sannyasins start to come to you? Who started coming to you?

Who? Nobody comes to me.

But how did you find out about the wiretapping, the bugging?

My physician comes to me, my caretaker comes to me, my new secretary comes to me, and from them I started getting all the news. They started - the whole day sannyasins were coming.

Were you talking directly to the sannyasins that were making the allegations, or were you getting your information.


.through your doctor and through your personal secretary?

I was not talking directly to sannyasins.

So did you compile all of this information, then, on Sunday, September the 15th?


And then you went public with it the following morning.


But since you were dealing with what would be called in criminal law, hearsay evidence.

Yes, it was hearsay. That’s why I’m not a witness to it.

So you have no firsthand knowledge of these things?

Not even third hand! But I wanted the government and the police to know that these were the rumors all over the commune, and they should come and look into the facts. And whatever I have alleged, they have found proof for everything.

They haven’t said too much yet have they?

No, they are not saying anything, because they are waiting for the governor and the United States attorney to decide whether they want to protect the criminals, or whether they want to protect the innocent people.

There was some confusion in the reporting, in the research I did, in terms of drugs being administered or poison, and whether the drugs were being used in all restaurants and eateries in Rajneeshpuram. What were you saying, that selected dishes were being poisoned or drugged? What allegation exactly were you making? Maybe you could tell us.

Perhaps the food was drugged.

All the food throughout Rajneeshpuram?

Not all the food. Not the food for the people of Rajneeshpuram, but the food for the street people must have been drugged. They were kept drugged so that up to the election day they didn’t escape. And they became almost zombies, so that on the election day they would do whatever was told to them to do. And so many drugs were ordered.

What kind of drug?

[Aside] What is the name of the drug?

[Reply] Haldol.


Do you know what the effects of Haldol are?

I don’t know, because I am not a druggist.

You also said that as much as forty-three million dollars may have been sitting in a Swiss bank account in Sheela’s name. Has that been proved yet?

Yes, the woman who has informed about it used to be Sheela’s secretary.

She’s found it now? This bank account has been located?

Yes, she has informed by letter - she is dying of cancer in California - she has informed. When she heard about this whole thing, she wrote about that forty-three million dollars. She knows the bank, the bank account number, and she is going to come to give us the full information about everything. And we are watching each bank in Switzerland: near one bank, one of Sheela’s gang is continuously moving around.

Sheela, of course, denies this charge, as you are no doubt aware.

She will deny, of course. Unless she is found guilty, that’s natural. But from where is she getting fifty thousand dollars to waste per week?

I guess Stern must be paying her something for the interviews she’s giving now.

Fifty thousand dollars per week? Stern can pay that?

I don’t know. But back to the Swiss bank account.

No, just inquire. If they can pay, then I can make many of my people lie and they will just pay. My people can lie about whatever they want!

With respect to the Swiss bank account, are you aware that in The Oregonian of September 23rd, Maria Grazia Mori, formerly a sannyasin named Deeksha.

Yes, she is also coming back.

She said in an interview that she was present when Sheela discussed a Swiss bank account with you. And the conversation took place in Montclair, New Jersey. Mori said Sheela told you she’d deposited a million dollars for your benefit. To which you supposedly replied “One million?” giving the impression that the sum was too low. And Maria then said Sheela quickly reassured you that the one million was only a beginning balance. Can you comment on that?

No, I don’t know anything. Deeksha is coming back, because Deeksha was thrown out by Sheela. Everybody who has been thrown out by Sheela has been telling the INS people all kinds of things. Now let them come here.

So you were never involved in that conversation with Deeksha and Sheela?

No, but I knew this: later on Sheela herself said, “Any moment you can be deported, so we are putting some money into a Swiss Bank. It is for you, but it is in my name” - Sheela’s and Savita’s names.
I asked “How much is the money? What is the bank and what is the bank account number? If it is in my name, I should know at least this much.”
She said “I have forgotten, I will have to look and find it out.” And since then she has not seen me.

When did you ask her about that information, where the bank account was located? What date?

This was just the last time she saw me. It must have been before she went to Mexico to commit bigamy. She has an American husband here, and now because she was planning to escape from here.

This is the marriage to Dipo, is it?

Yes. She got married to Dipo somewhere in Mexico. Both have committed bigamy, because Dipo has an American wife here and she has an American husband here. And this is something absolutely ugly; she was sleeping with Dipo one night, sleeping with Jayananda another night. That way it was divided. I came to know only later on that this was the division. She never wanted Jayananda, and a sannyasin has come with the information that first they wanted to kill Jayananda.
So she went to Mexico somewhere - I’m not good at about dates and days.

It was toward the end of November and I think.

.some time she went there. That was the last time she saw me.

And spoke to you about it.

Yes, she spoke about it, but she never gave any information. And Savita, on the last day - she was not going, that’s the impression she gave to me, that she was not going with those people. In fact, she was thinking to take charge after Sheela, because she was the second person. I was perfectly happy: I said okay, you can take charge if Sheela is going, and she wants to go - we don’t prevent anybody. You can become my secretary and you can take charge. I asked her about the Swiss bank account, “Because that money belongs to the commune and I don’t need it, for the simple reason that I’m not going anywhere from America.”
So she said, “Tomorrow morning I will bring all the information.” She would not even say how much the money was - and I don’t think that you can forget that it is forty-three million dollars. It is impossible to forget that much money. And the next morning she also disappeared. She never came back because she was afraid that now she had to bring that information to me.

Would you respond to some of the quotes that Sheela has given? She says, “I told Osho often enough that we could not afford to buy all those expensive items, autos and such forever, or I would have to take bread away from the people.”

It is absolutely nonsense.

She said that her disenchantment began with you a year and a half ago, when you asked her to get you a $2.5 million watch. Is that true?

It is absolute nonsense, because I have so many watches and I don’t use those million-dollar watches. What I use are made by my own sannyasins. They are the cheapest watches you can find in the whole world, and the best! These are not diamonds, these are simple poor stones, and I’m not using any of her watches, which she has brought.

Sheela brought those for you?


She also said that you threatened to leave your body when she told you she would not buy you another Rolls Royce.

What anybody would think - I have never even gone once to look at the garage where there are ninety Rolls Royces. And what I’m supposed to do with ninety Rolls Royces? I use only one Rolls Royce each day, for one and a half hours.

I was going to ask you that.

And I had told. No, my people had wanted to bring those things to me, and Sheela is wrong that I had demanded anything from her.

So would Sheela have accepted those cars on your behalf? Or was it up to you to say yes or no?

No, people have been bringing things. They know I use only two things, either a car or a watch. Otherwise I don’t use anything; everything is made by my sannyasins. And now I have informed everybody that nobody should bring watches - because my people are now making watches, so that is finished. Soon we will be making Rolls Royces, then that is finished!
Whatever was being brought in my name - I don’t accept any gift, I don’t own anything. There are trusts for everything: cars go to the cars trust which belongs to the commune. It is a commune asset. Watches go to the jewelry trust, which is a commune trust. It belongs to the commune, and it is an asset to the commune.
And I’m not the only one that they offer a watch to - for me to use in the morning and the evening, because I don’t need one for the whole day - they have given hundreds of watches to sannyasins who need watches, costly watches. All the sannyasins have cars available, buses available, airplanes available. And I have told to the president of the car trust, “It would be good that you distribute all these cars to different corporations, so other sannyasins can use. You can save one car for me, that is enough, because I use one, and only of one type.”

Last night you renounced your Rajneeshism and the religion. By extension are there no longer sannyasins?

No, sannyas is a totally different thing; it has nothing to do with Rajneeshism. Sannyas simply means they have accepted a way of meditation, and a life of joy and rejoicing. It is an acceptance of creating your life into a blissfulness. So sannyas is a totally different thing, it will continue. I have dropped all the outer symbols of the sannyasins. If they want to keep them, it is up to them; from my side I have dropped them. They don’t need a mala. They don’t need red clothes. All that I would like - my advice to them - is that if you are a sannyasin, meditation is the only essential thing that you should carry.

But in our last interview you were saying that you had the only religion.

That is true.

Now you have no religion.

That is true, because the only religion has done its work. Its work was to destroy all the religions, to cut their roots. In my four hundred books I have managed to cut every root of every religion, destroyed all their arguments - and not a single religion has come up to encounter me. So the function of the new religion is finished.

So you are no longer a religious leader?


What sort of impact is that going to have on your application for a green card?

No implication.

One of the grounds that you’re applying, as I understand it, was on the grounds of being a religious leader.

I had told them also at that time that.

Who is they?

I mean the INS people - “I am not a religious leader in the sense you think of Christianity, Hinduism, Mohammedanism. My religion is totally new, a religionless religion. It has no dogma, no creed, no catechism. It gives freedom to the individual, not bondage, not conditioning. It is really a program of deprogramming. And I am simply teaching my people methods of meditation.” And I still am a teacher of meditations.

People are saying that things aren’t what they appear; there are three possibilities of what’s going on here.

Go one by one.

First one: you are trying to resuscitate a dying organization by making Sheela the scapegoat.

There had been no organization before Sheela. She made the organization, I am simply killing it. I am not resurrecting any organization. I am against all organizations.

The second is: this is all a smokescreen for your imminent departure from the U.S.

That is absurd, because I am never going to leave U.S. The U.S. can leave me, but I am not going to leave the U.S.

And the third was that you are naive about what has happened.

That is true.

Thank you very much. My hour is up and I appreciate the time.


It is good to see you.

Come again.

Mike Zielenzinger,
Knight Ridder Newspapers, United States

Good evening.

Good evening. It’s a pleasure to be here, speaking face-to-face with you.
If the mission of this new, “religiousness without the religion,” is to provoke an inward journey by your sannyasins, why the need for a community, and the organization that a community requires?

To go inward is the most difficult journey in the world. It needs a certain atmosphere, a certain milieu. The commune creates it.

But the commune is also a political entity in such that.


.people are brought together.

People are simply here as individuals, not as parts of an organization.

But you have a variety of organizations that take care of the various activities of the group here.

Those are functional, just like the post office. It does not become a religion, it does not become a communist party; it is just functional. A few people take care of the food, a few people take care of the roads. That does not mean that they can become fascist rulers.

Then how could this fascist rule grow up in your midst?

Because I was in silence and isolation. That became an opportunity.

You have often discussed the sense that doubt, and the absence of faith are very important. How could it be that so many of your friends could let this happen?

It is one of the paradoxes of human life. The more I tell them, “Don’t trust me, don’t believe in me. Just try to understand me, that’s enough, every decision has to be taken by you,” - but the more I say don’t believe in me, the more they love me and the more they trust me. Now, it is such a problem that there seems to be no way out of it.

So what do you do?

I go on saying, don’t believe me, and they go on trusting me.
It is something like, if you have heard about Bertrand Russell’s paradox:
A great mathematician was working on a thesis to prove that mathematics is a complete science - the only complete science. And Bertrand Russell sent him a small puzzle, “Before you publish your book, please answer this puzzle.” The puzzle was that every library of the nation was told to make a list, a catalog of all the books in the library: make two catalogs, one will remain in the library, and the other has to be sent to the central library of the country.
Now, the question arose in the mind of one of the librarians: “What are we to do about this one catalog that remains in the library, whether to include it in the catalog or not? - because it is a book in the library, and all the books have to be included in the catalog.” He was very much puzzled. He asked the central library what to do. The central library was itself in a great puzzle, because they were making two catalogs - one that was going to be in the central library and one that was going to the king.

But we’re not talking about books, we’re talking about.

Just wait a minute.
The same question was there again: what to do with the catalog in the library. You cannot put it in the other catalog, because it is only a catalog. But you have to put it in, because it is a book also, and it is in the library.
The mathematician who was working on the thesis was Godel, one of the greatest mathematicians of this century. Because he could not solve his problem, he did not publish his book.
And this is my problem also. There are only two ways: either I have to say, “Don’t believe in me,” but the more I say it, the more they trust me. The other is, I should start saying, “Believe in me,” which all the other religions are doing, and they will believe in me. So what I am supposed to do?

If the work here is ongoing, as it has been described to be in the past, and the conditions are continually in the flux of growth.

It will be continuously in flux, always.

How can you destroy something that has been created? Isn’t that the reverse - destroying this religion that you say grew up without your knowing?

I have destroyed it.

I don’t know how well understood that notion is, because you have said it. I see everybody is still wearing a mala today.

That is up to them.

And I understand you gave people an option about that.

Not even an option - because if I give an option, that too becomes my order. I have simply made them free. Now it is theirs, whatever they want to do. If they are wearing a mala, it is no longer symbolic, it is only an ornament.

Let me go back. If, as you said to the previous interviewer tonight, that it is important to have freedom for the individual and not a state of bondage, how could a state of bondage be created among your most devout followers? Does that not attack the very root of the belief?

No, because nobody can predict the future of anybody. The future is unpredictable, and the future is open. Somebody may be very loving to you today, and may turn out to be just the opposite tomorrow. You would never have thought that this man could be so full of hate toward you, but love turns into hate very easily.

Do you feel a sense of betrayal about those who’ve left you?

No, because I don’t expect any faith in me, so there is no question of betrayal. Jesus felt betrayed because he was asking for faith. I am not asking for faith, so nobody can betray me.

But even friends can feel betrayed.

No, there is no question of betrayal because friends don’t expect faith. A real friendship is unconditional. I don’t have any conditions, so if somebody turns into my enemy, it is his freedom. It was his freedom to be a friend; it is his freedom to be an enemy. It in no way betrays me or disappoints me. I respect the individual, whether he loves me or hates me makes no difference.

What was your motivation, if any, about breaking your silence, or was it just the right time existentially?

It was because the only three persons who were capable of approaching me, other than Sheela, were my physician, my dentist, my caretaker - my caretaker was poisoned in a cup of tea in Sheela’s house. Then my physician was poisoned in the same way, in Sheela’s house, in a cup of coffee. They both told me, but the doctors and the medical center could not find any detectable poison in their blood, so it was dropped. They just rested for two, three days and became okay. Then my physician was injected.

You were still silent at this point?

No, I started speaking. After these two poisons, I started speaking.

When the first two poisoning occurred you were still silent.

Yes, that was a certain sign to me, “Something is going wrong somewhere, and I have to be in the open, and I have to see my people, and I have to be available to them.”
And it was in a meeting where I was speaking - ten thousand sannyasins were there, and he was injected from the back. He immediately pulled up his robe and showed people the blood, the mark of the injection. And now, a sannyasin has testified before the FBI that he was a witness, that the person who did it was a woman sannyasin, Shanti Bhadra, who has also escaped with Sheela.
After this accident, we took my physician to Bend Hospital. Also there they said, “There is no disease, the sickness is unexplainable. The only thing that can be said is that some kind of poison, which is not detectable, has been given.”

When the first two incidents occurred did you believe what was said to you? Weren’t you surprised?

No, I simply was shocked that anybody in the commune would think of poisoning our own people. And when Sheela left, literature on poisons was found in her room, and a particular poison which is undetectable, underlined.

But there was quite a period of time between the initial report in your period of silence, about being poisoned, and Sheela’s departure.

Yes. There was a quite.

How come you didn’t either act sooner, or act more on your suspicion, your shock?

Only this much was not enough; and there were no solid grounds. Even the doctors could not solidly say that it was poison.

Did you assume at that point that Sheela was involved?

I suspected, because Shanti Bhadra was her right hand.

What would’ve been her motivation if you were still silent? You’ve said previously that as you broke your silence, Sheela could see her power ebbing away. Why do this even when you’re maintaining your silence, when she’s still the lead spokesman and awarded with all the television time?

No, she had booked those things already before, and she continued. But once I started speaking, she started moving more to Europe, to Australia, to India, Singapore. She started avoiding me. But people remained silent still, because Sheela’s whole group was still here. They were in all the top posts, and people were afraid because they knew these people had even killed.
They have burned the planning office in Wasco County. They have killed a Share-a-Home street person by giving him an overdose of poison. So they were simply afraid. But the moment she left, just within one day hundreds of sannyasins opened their mouths, and they started saying what they know about.

You’ve already said that Sheela was not a meditative sort, but certainly there were others who were, that you could on the one hand be a devout sannyasin and on the other hand carry out these activities. Does this not make you question some of your own teachings, or how your teachings have been interpreted?

No, because I had chosen Sheela, and she had done her work. This is only a small wrong side of her being that came into light. Otherwise, she had made the commune, which was not an easy job - to make a place for five thousand people. Houses - there was only one house when we purchased the place. There was no reservoir; now we have a reservoir, we have enough water. We have enough houses, all with modern equipment, all are centrally air-conditioned. She did much, and she did much good. For that, she should be credited.

And you yourself looking back, have no personal doubts about yourself, or your role, or the way your teachings have been interpreted by others?

No, it has nothing to do with my teachings, because she knew nothing of my teachings.

She knew nothing of your teaching.


She paraded around as if she did, and you never interfered.

She was working well, and for that my teachings were not needed. She was making good roads, she was making good arrangements for food, she was making arrangements for clothes for five thousand people - and at the festival time for fifteen to seventeen thousand people. She was able to manage perfect well everything she did. Ninety-nine percent credit of the commune goes to her. Just that one percent that has come into light.

But shouldn’t somebody have spoken up about that one percent? Shouldn’t someone have prevented this fascist gang - as you call it - from being created?

It was difficult. She threw out the people who could have spoken, before they could have spoken or even thought about it. In the very beginning of the commune, those people were thrown out. She had chosen a group of all new people, who were devoted to her.

But the hundreds who came to you after she left, why couldn’t they have come to you before she left?

People have been coming to me in thousands.

But only after the fact.

No, even before Sheela. But in these silent years nobody was allowed to come, it was my decision that nobody should interfere in my silence. It is my freedom to speak or not to speak.

Do you think that was, perhaps a mistake? - of being so silent and so removed for so long?

No, it certainly gave her an opportunity, but it is not my responsibility. If it is my responsibility, then Adolf Hitler and Second World War are also my responsibility - because why was I not born there?

You discussed before - and I don’t know if you were joking, but I suspect you were not - about sannyasins who are spaced out in their own meditation. Could it not be that this state of being spaced out would interfere with their ability to confront a wrong in their midst?

No, there is no problem. They are working perfectly well, they are working totally, but they are not concerned with politics, ambition. They worked, they loved, they danced, they went to sleep. Sheela had this opportunity to create a fascist group, and she managed it so that everything was done by those twenty people. She did not involve many people in the crimes, because then there would have been a possibility of leakage. Only those twenty people - and because they were all involved, nobody would open his mouth, because he was also involved.
So it became a situation in which you could not say anything, because you have also committed something. She managed for everybody to commit some sin, some crime, so that the group became solid and nobody was going to say anything about it. Only one woman, really courageous, has come out. She had also gone with them, but returned back from Seattle. She said that she could not live with all the crime and guilt her whole life, it was better that she went to the commune and said everything.

But this was supposed to be an idealistic place, an idyllic place. Does not all this evil energy.

It is nothing evil, or nothing special, particularly in a country like America where twenty percent presidents are assassinated. If Sheela killed a hobo, do you think it much of an evil in America? - where every day all kinds of crime are committed?

Are ethics relative?

What ethics exist in America? Do you have anything called ethics?

I don’t speak for the U.S. as a country, but some individuals I presume have ethics, yes.

So, I can present you thousands of individuals here who have ethics, but that does not mean - what Nixon did? Is not the whole America responsible for it? You had chosen him to be the president.

We also forced him out; Sheela left of her own volition.

So it seems to be she is more ethical!

I’m confused about something else too. Is Sheela part of a fascist gang, or did she make one small mistake? Ninety-nine percent of what she did, you said was quite good. Which is it?

Fascists also have done much good. I think we always try to think of somebody as completely white, and of somebody as completely black, and that is a wrong way of thinking. Everybody is a mixture. Even Adolf Hitler had done many things which were good. In fact, he had created a road in Germany for which he should be remembered in the whole history - just for that road, because no such road exists anywhere in the world.
So it is a question of relativity. Relatively, Sheela had done much good to the commune, but that does not mean that we are going to protect her illegal acts. Whatever good you have done, we will give you the credit for it, but whatever wrong you have done, you will have to suffer for it.

What prevents something like this from happening again? You’ve discussed the decentralization of power. Do you feel as if you need to be more involved in the running of this place?

No, I don’t feel more involved. I can do more without involvement, because then I am more impartial and everybody can listen and understand me, because I am not in favor of anybody. I am just explaining a situation, they can find a way, and I can simply watch that things go right. And they have started going right.

You will watch in a way that you weren’t watching before. Or will it be the same?

No, in isolation I was not even watching. I was not here at all.

Although parenthetically, we are told that you did have discussion from time to time with Sheela and perhaps one or two of your other aides, about activities and events.

Only if there was something very important and Sheela could not handle it, or she needed my advice, only then. But only in emergency cases, otherwise not.

But there’s no guarantee that this couldn’t happen again.

No, there can never be any guarantee for anything.

Do you fear that sannyasins - especially those who don’t live here and rely on media accounts - will become discouraged with what’s happened here, or abandon the religiousness?

No, because more and more sannyasins are coming. And now they are feeling more freedom, more joy, and nobody is sitting on their heads. And the people who had left because of Sheela are writing from all over the world that they want to come back because they miss the commune. It was only because of Sheela that they had to leave.

You said you wanted to root out all the evil that Sheela had created. Is that job completed, or is there still more evil that needs to be extirpated?

I don’t think there is anything more.

That job is done.

It is done.

And the formal abolition yesterday of the religion was part of that; or was a separate activity?

It is a separate thing.

Although Sheela was a part of that too, you’ve said.

Yes, she was a part of it. But I’ve always been against organized religion.

As a result of this crisis, a lot of foreign agents have come here: the FBI, and Oregon state police. Not only have they come here, you’ve welcomed them, you’ve essentially opened your records, your files, your books.

Because there is nothing wrong. If there is anything wrong, then Sheela will be responsible for it.

This community has had its disagreements with the authorities in the state. It doesn’t make your nervous that they’re here?

Nothing makes me nervous; all the authorities are nervous.

But haven’t you and your aides given them tremendous power to potentially destroy this community?

No, they cannot do anything. If they try to destroy this community, they will be destroying the whole image of America in the world - because I have my friends all around the world, and I have informed them that if any harm happens to the commune here, then they have voluntarily to go into imprisonment and demand to their government that the American embassy should be removed from the country.
And these people are also thinking of arresting me. If they arrest me, I will enjoy it. And with me, five thousand sannyasins will voluntarily ask to be arrested.

What if they say no, we’re not interested in arresting you?

Then they will sit around the prison and fast there unto death. So America will know something new!
[Laughter is heard]

I gather you haven’t asked them about that yet!
I suppose you’re always confident that your requests are always followed by your sannyasins, by your followers?

I hope.

You’re doing these interviews nightly. You did a national television interview yesterday. Do you like that?

Yes, I like it.

You enjoy not only the experience of being questioned, but the fact that your words are being transmitted to all these people?

I love it, because I am not going anywhere. And I am a contemporary man, why shouldn’t I use all the media which is possible, to spread the word?

It sounds to me as if you are hoping to offset any threat from the state, or from the federal government, or from the INS through the media.

There is no question: the media should be for the Constitution of America. And if the government goes in any way against the constitutional rights, then the media has to help us.

Do you ever watch your interviews after you’ve made them?


Do you watch television from the outside?

Once in a while, if something good.

How do you choose your reading these days?

No, my people choose. If a sannyasin sends me some film that he feels I would like - maybe a film based on Dostoyevsky’s novel, Brothers Karamazov, or Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, then I watch it; otherwise not.

What’s going on now will involve a lot of lawyers and consultants, and.

I’m not involved in it.

Will you consult with them at all?

No, this is the function of the corporations. We have almost a dozen corporations for different functions, and they should look after it. We have four hundred legal experts in the commune.

But your most recent experiences don’t suggest to you that you need to take more direct control of any.?

No. I have never been interested in any control - never.

Although occasionally you are consulted.

I am just a friend, available for any advice. To take it or not to take it is their freedom, but I don’t want to have any control in my hands.

How did you choose Hasya, as opposed to anybody else? How was that process done, and how.?

No, I have not chosen her.

As your secretary, for the moment?

I have chosen her as my secretary, because I have known her. She has been making a film on me and my philosophy, and the sannyasins and the commune. Because of that film she came in contact with me, and I saw in her a possibility of a very creative, loving woman. But as the president, she has been chosen by the corporation itself.

Not by you.

Not by me.

How can you be confident that all the evil members of the fascist gang have disappeared, that some are not still here? Because there are many people who had positions of power before who are still here.

The police are looking after it. They are searching everybody, they are talking to everybody. Now, this is their business to find out. Perhaps there are a few, but my feeling is the real criminals have disappeared. They can be caught easily - just if the government does not want to protect them, then it is another matter. Otherwise, we know their whereabouts daily.

Why would the government want to protect them?

Just to destroy the commune.

Is that even possible? Is the commune in danger of being destroyed?

From my side there is no problem. They can try, and we will accept their challenge.

But I hear talk on the streets among people here, who say, “You know, I don’t understand what’s going on around here anymore,” and “Things are changing so quickly it’s uncomfortable.”

It will be for a few days, because everything is changing. So, for a few days it will be difficult for everybody to figure out what is happening, because all the topmost people have disappeared, new people have come with whom they don’t have any acquaintance. It will take a little time. Then the police are there, continuously interrogating them.
Then there is the possibility that I may be arrested, and there is the possibility that they are going to arrest a hundred more people - all the important people in the commune, so that nobody remains here to take care of the commune. But whatever they do, we are going to rejoice in the challenge. We have nothing to lose; they have everything to lose.

But the community has spent millions to create a.

It does not matter; money does not matter at all.

Then you do feel threatened by all this activity.

No, I don’t feel threatened. I simply feel excited.

How do you mean?

Very ecstatic.

Do you feel as if it’s important to have an Armageddon-like confrontation with the powers of the state and the federal government?

Yes. I would love to have.

Is that inevitable, if not now, then someday soon?

No, I think it will be now - because if they cannot confront us in this state, when everything is in change and in chaos, they will never again be able to. After two months they will never again be able to confront us. We are ready to confront them even at this moment. And I have been a fighter my whole life: I have fought with the Indian government; I would love to have a taste of fighting with the American government too. And as my fight is finished here, I am moving to Germany.

I thought you were never leaving?

No, only after my fight is finished. When my commune is established and my fight is finished, I cannot die without having a taste of fighting with the Germans. That’s my last desire!

As a member of the media I have a problem maybe you can help me with: many people who know I have visited here - I’ve been here before - want a simple layman’s description of what you teach. So, for their benefit, how would you describe the process in oh, fifty words or less. [Laughter] I’m serious, because there is a certain point at which we need to talk about what average people understand. And part of this media process is to let the average people understand.

My teaching is meditation. Meditation means to me, witnessing. On three levels: action of the body, thoughts of the mind, feelings of the heart. Once a person becomes aware of these three things, the fourth step happens on its own accord; a quantum leap, suddenly he is at his very center, which is his life, deathless life. You can call it his soul, his being, and it is the greatest bliss in existence. There is nothing above it.

That’s close to fifty words. Thank you. I had to ask that because I’ve been asked that very often, so I wanted to ask the master.
You said before, the work of the Zorba is finished. What did you mean by that, and what is the future work?

Zorba represents the foundation, and Buddha represents the temple. Both can only exist together, and up to now there has been a dichotomy. The materialist, who is a Zorba, has denied the very possibility of any buddhahood, any awakening, any consciousness - anything more than eat, drink and be merry. And the people who have been spiritualists have been condemning the Zorba and all that is natural to man, his body. They have been creating a repressive human being, sick, schizophrenic.
My effort is to bring Zorba and Buddha together. So, here you will find Zorbas dancing in the disco, and the same Zorbas in the morning doing meditation. And I don’t see there is any conflict between the two. In fact, both are complementary, not contradictory.

I meant the question actually in more concrete terms. I understood it more to mean - maybe I misinterpreted it, so please explain - the logistical work, the building work, the physical labor of creating a community here, was over. Is that true?

No, it can never be over. This community is going to grow, it can never be over. We will need more houses, we will need more food, we will need more of everything. So the Zorba will be working - and the Zorba has every chance to become a buddha. We have every facility for him: meditation places, therapies, the university which teaches how to meditate - all the methods of meditation which have been ever used in the whole history of man.
But we are trying to make Buddha make the road, and Zorba meditate. And that is my conception of the new man, the new humanity - Zorba the Buddha.

Sheela essentially ran this community for quite a long time. Sheela’s word was law. Do you not feel as if there are long term credibility problems or psychic problems among sannyasins if suddenly the person who has been in charge is all of a sudden discredited?

No, because they are here for me; they were not here for Sheela. Nobody is missing Sheela.

Do you think, therefore, that you will never again take a vow of silence? Do you think it’s too dangerous to the rest of this community?

No. If Sheela wants to come back, I will welcome her. But she will have to confess all her crimes, and she will have to take responsibility for her crimes before the law. We will give her all the respect and credit for what she has done, but we cannot protect her crimes. For that, she has to face the law, and it will be really tremendously dignified of her, if she comes back and confesses everything. Even if she is punished, she will feel clean, and she will feel fresh, and she may start thinking of spiritual growth, which she has never thought about.

Could you not designate someone to pay a visit to Sheela and suggest that?

Right now is not the time. Right now she is giving interviews and telling absolute lies -I will just wait for the right time.

But you would do that?

I will do it.

Your love would conquer all the hostility that might exist.

No, my love does not change with anything.

Would it be right for people here to hate Sheela?

No, nobody should hate anybody; you can hate actions, but not persons. If she has done something wrong, that action has to be hated, but the person is far bigger than the action, and the person has also to be respected.

Given what’s taken place here, are you likely to again take another vow of silence, or would you be afraid that more abuse could happen?

No, I am not going to take a vow of silence again because there is no need. I needed it because for thirty years I had been touring in India, and it had destroyed my health immensely. I wanted complete rest for a few years. And right now I am feeling perfectly okay, so I don’t see there is any need.
And I am not going anywhere to tour; I don’t even go anywhere in the city. I don’t know even where the hospital is, and where is the restaurant. I know only this place for my evening interview, and in the morning the auditorium where I speak, and my own house. Those three places I know, otherwise I know nothing. And I do not want to know either. Everything is going perfectly well.

Thank you very much.


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