"Everyone was so crazy for enlightenment and so zealously anxious to be without ego and to be meditative that they could do anything for it. The sanyasins took part in sexual encounters, emptied their pockets and proved their devotion (through) expensive gifts. This exploitation was dirty, ugly and repulsive, especially coming from Bhagwan."
In the first part of her memoir, Sheela recounts the details of her voluntary separation from both, Osho and his commune in Oregon. This separation was precipitated by Osho Rajneesh's erratic, exploitative, whimsical and harsh behaviour, which, despite extreme devotion, became difficult for Sheela and her other colleagues to tolerate. Their leaving did not spare them the ire of their Bhagwan, because they were then accused of having eloped from the commune with stolen cash. A round of harassment at the hands of law followed, because of which Sheela had to also spend time behind bars. She was let out for good behaviour later. In the second part of her book, Sheela revisits her first rendezvous with Osho, how she was intoxicated by him, how she and her husband joined his commune in Pune and how she ascended up to the position of Osho's secretary, virtually responsible for running the whole commune. She also describes in great depth the shifting of Osho's commune from Pune to Oregon and the craziness which went into establishing Osho at the position of power he was.
Among the many things this book does, it reveals the most scandalous aspects of Osho's life. It depicts him as a shrewd, exploitative and manipulative Guru who had fetishes which made my eye balls pop out. How can I forget the legendary statistic - with 96 Rolls Royces in his backyard, one fine day, Osho wanted 30 more! His indulgences do not stop there. It has also been alleged in this book that Osho also had amorous relationships with sanyasins in his commune. Osho's apathetic attitude towards his Indian followers has also been elaborated upon. A deep contradiction lies in the narrator's own voice when she elucidates in with painful detailing the way she faced harassment at the hands of Osho, yet, he remains her object of devotion, love and divinity.
My favorite parts of the book were the italicized tales of sufi and zen adventures. I loved this book from the first page, when it introduced me to the concept of 'khidr' - a kind of inner voice. It is a tale told with sheer honesty - at least that is what comes across - because the author has not shied away from sharing the most personal details from her own life. This book claims to be the telling of the story of the relationship which existed between Sheela and Osho, but it goes way beyond being just that. It is an investigation of the psychology which runs and sustains such spiritual congregations. It dwells from a fresh dimension on the most curious of Indian mystic Gurus, if one may call Osho that. Entertaining and, as I said, eye opening - this book is a 3.5 star book for me.